There’s no shortage of organizations in a variety of sectors offering mentoring services, but is everyone getting a mentor because it’s the trendy thing to do? Or are there tangible benefits for your small business? Here are five things to consider if you’ve been thinking about getting a mentor.
1. Shorten your learning curve
Startups and growth companies have very different approaches to common business hurdles, mostly based on the experience they have (or don’t) under their belt. While the learning curve is a natural part of any new endeavor, you can shorten the arc of that curve significantly by drawing on the ‘been there, done that’ experience of a mentor.
Your mentor can help with big picture questions like market assessment or smaller issues such as how to balance work with family time. They can get you to the answer quicker by asking outside-looking-in questions based on their own fails and success.
2. Find your kryptonite
While a mentor will never give you the answer, they will ask plenty of questions to make you look deeply into the pros and cons behind a decision you’re pondering. This introspection will bring to light new perspectives to help you identify weak spots in your business model or processes.
3. Not everything you need to know is in a book (or online)
If you want the ‘live’ show as opposed to the abridged black-and-white print version of business life, chat with your mentor. Book smarts are certainly key to learning the ins and outs of business, but street smarts (including soft skills) are just as important. The unvarnished truth of their personal struggles and how they overcame them will provide you with invaluable insight for your decision-making process.
4. Hone your EQ
It might be the hard (technical) skills that got your business up and running, but it will be the soft skills that make it sustainable. Soft skills include things like critical and creative thinking, problem solving, negotiation and organization skills, communication, and resilience – all crucial components of business relationships and success.
5. Think of it as having two brains
If you want to get a jump on the competition in terms of planning, performance and productivity, a mentor is a good place to start. A mentor can help startups avoid costly first-timer mistakes, while growth businesses can benefit from objective and experienced advice as they pivot or expand. If you feel like you’re searching for a solution, but can’t distance yourself enough from the everyday to find an answer, take the reserve brain of your mentor off the shelf and put it to good use. You and your mentor will find the answer together.
How can you find your mentor?
CEDEC Small Business Support is proud to be a provincial partner in the Réseau M network. Through Réseau M, you will be carefully matched with one of over 1,500 mentors throughout the province of Quebec and enjoy the most efficient way to experience our vibrant mentor ecosystem as you grow your business.