“Mentoring is a brain to pick, an ear to listen, and a push in the right direction.” John Crosby’s quote really illuminates the value of mentors to me. When I started Technology Therapy Group from my college dorm room, I knew I had a lot to learn! That’s why I’ve always looked for people who were just a little further ahead of me for advice and guidance. Mentors have been critical to my growth and success. I’ve benefitted from their wisdom, which often came from the experience of going through the exact same challenge I was currently facing.
As an entrepreneur and business owner, you have to make a lot of tough decisions that have real world consequences. When you have employees, there’s a tremendous sense of responsibility involved – you know they’re counting on you to keep them gainfully employed. I’ve worked with mentors to gain clarity in my decision making process and mitigate the risk for me and my team. If you want to maximize success, minimize mistakes – that’s what my mentors have helped me to understand.
Working with a mentor has also proven to be a very efficient way to improve my professional knowledge and skillset. Even if my mentor didn’t directly educate me on a topic, having someone tell me I needed to know about a particular area motivated me to take action and learn more. This was often key in moving my company to the next level. Having direction provided by an experienced, objective individual streamlines the learning process.
I learned that not all mentors are alike. I have had some mentors who helped me focus and grow during a particular phase of my development, and others who have provided me with guidance and support for the entirety of my career. Another thing that I learned is that while great mentor relationships can just happen, you don’t want to rely on luck: be proactive about finding a mentor that can help you grow your business.
How To Find a Mentor to Help You Grow Your Business
If you want the fastest route to finding a mentor to help you launch and grow your business, check out SCORE.org. This nationwide network of dedicated, volunteer small-business mentors specializes in helping aspiring and established business owners with things like structuring your business properly, writing a business plan, getting funding, growth planning and more. There are local branches of SCORE across the country, and you can meet with mentors in person or online. Best of all, their services are free.
It may be that you want to improve your business in a way that’s outside of SCORE’s particular area of expertise. For example, a yoga teacher who wanted to build her practice by focusing on the needs of older people knew she needed mentorship specific to better understanding that population’s health concerns. Her search for a mentor began with the local senior center, who connected her with a geriatric care manager who provided not only the health knowledge she’d been seeking but a good overview of the local senior care options and how to connect with them as a service provider.
There are mentors who provide support, encouragement, and guidance on a volunteer basis (either through an organization like SCORE or through your own personal arrangement) and those who do so as a paid service. I’ve been in both types of mentorship arrangements and there are pros and cons to each way. The pro side of the volunteer arrangement is it tends to be more all-encompassing and concerned with the overall business – which is great for strategic planning and getting the right systems in place – whereas the paid mentorship arrangements tend to be more focused in a particular area of expertise. I know for myself that when I pay for training I’m more likely to implement the suggestions and action items because I want to be sure to get my money’s worth.
If it’s digital marketing mentorship you’re looking for, Technology Therapy Group has you covered too; we offer mentorship by the session, allowing you to focus on the areas that matter most to your business at any given time.
Everybody’s going through business challenges right now; you don’t have to go it alone. Give yourself the gift of encouragement, support and guidance by finding a mentor who can help you grow.