Behind every successful entrepreneur or business person, you can usually find a mentor who has helped guide them along the way. While your own ideas are necessary to get your new business off the ground, an experienced mentor by your side can be a powerful asset to any entrepreneur. This person is someone who is invested in you and your success.
Research conducted by nonprofit organization Endeavor showed companies whose founders have been mentored by top-performing entrepreneurs are three times more likely to go on to become top performers themselves.
Amy Zimmerman, Head of People Operations at Kabbage, explains, “A great mentor is someone who offers objective advice, provides counsel from a fresh perspective, is willing to collaborate, listen and learn, as well as helping you stay focused on your goals, your purpose and what you’re working so hard to achieve.”
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Zimmerman goes on to say: “Businesses have a great opportunity to provide everyone in their company the benefit of mentorship — from the founders to the interns. The data shows such mentorship can be critical for success. We offer this perk at Kabbage and have seen great success with it. It’s also an affordable benefit that businesses can easily leverage.”
Matt Choi, a Toronto-based entrepreneur who runs Certus Trading, a trading education company, was mentored early on in his career.
“When I was starting out, I had the privilege of a mentor’s guidance helping me along my journey. George Fontanills taught me everything there is to know about trading strategies, but much more importantly, he helped me discover who I am as a trader.”
Entrepreneur Aarti Gill, Co-founder, and CEO of OZiva have learned some valuable lessons from her mentor including patience and perseverance.
Gill explains further: “His guidance came to use in different aspects of the business at different times. So, it was a process of observation and learning rather than one aha moment which reflects in our business and me as an entrepreneur.”
Connecting with a mentor takes a bit of legwork. A good starting point is to find a local start-up networking group as well as the leadership of community non-profit organizations. Offer to work an event promoted by one of these groups, which can allow you to network with a range of industry leaders. Find a few people who are available to have brief meetings with you and see if you click with any of them as mentors. It can also be a good idea to ask for an introduction to a mentor through mutual contacts. You might try your local Chamber of Commerce, a social media community, local business roundtables or an industry conference.
Enlisting the guidance of a knowledgeable mentor is one of the most important things an entrepreneur can do to enhance their career and professional life. It can mean the difference between success and failure. When it comes to great accomplishments, a mentor can give new startups the confidence and encouragement they need to reach new heights.
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