By Amanda Ronan
People often imagine entrepreneurs as individuals toiling away at their desks, creating new products by themselves, but the people who are most successful in business don’t go at it alone. Even if you’re just starting out in the industry, business professionals spend a lot of time bouncing ideas off of colleagues, teammates, friends and family members.
Sustainable businesses are created by motivated and educated people that, more times than not, gain these traits through experience, which recent graduates usually lack. This is where mentors come in. The lessons you can learn from a mentor will help improve your business practices, ethics and, hopefully, over-all success.
Let’s look at some ways that a business mentor can impact your career.
The Value Add of Mentors
They know more than you.
Find a mentor that has been in the industry for a while or runs their business the way you hope to. They can help by teaching you to write business plans, budgeting tactics and even the day-to-day operations of a successful business. Mentors may share tips and tricks that they’ve gathered throughout the years and support you through the ups and downs of entrepreneurship.
They are objective.
It can be difficult to observe yourself and determine your own success through an objective perspective. Mentors can give you an honest review of areas in business that need improvement, as well as point out the areas that are doing well. You’ll want to find a mentor that is very honest with you and who knows how to offer constructive criticism, in order to make you a better business person.
They offer discipline.
In this case, discipline doesn’t mean punishment. Instead, it refers to work ethic and drive. Having a mentor allows there to be someone that keeps you accountable in achieving your career goals and consistently checks in to see how you’re doing through the process. This can motivate you to make progress, as well as be disciplined to continue to improve and grow.
They know people.
The saying goes, “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know.” And although education does play a significant factor in the success of a business, networking is also huge. Mentors that have worked in business for a long enough time can be valuable connectors. They may introduce to you to future investors and contributors to your business, as well as help specify your target audience. They can make connections that lead to opportunities for growth and development for your own career and your business.
So now that you understand how significant and valuable a business mentor is, where can you find one?
Where to Find a Business Mentor
Close to home.
You may already know someone that has the skills and traits you’re looking for in a mentor! Make a list of the people that you know well and then expand that list to people you are acquainted with. If you’re drawing a blank, consider going through your social media accounts and see if anyone sticks out or meets your criteria. Take the next step and reach out to those people about potential mentorship opportunities!
This might seem like an obvious way to find a mentor, but many people hesitate to ask a coworker or manager for business advice. Remember that we all have to start somewhere, and asking for assistance is not at all weak or failure. Approach your manager or someone in HR and ask if there are established mentorship programs or opportunities for employees. Finding a mentor at work is a great way to see how your new skills can benefit the industry that you’re already a part of. Learning about somebody else’s work and career trajectory can inspire you to think beyond your current position.
There are many online mentoring services that connect small business owners with mentors. You might meet with the person over video conferencing or even by email. Just because the person isn’t in the same town or city is you doesn’t mean they aren’t a valuable resource. By learning about different local markets, you might open yourself up to new opportunities.
In the classroom.
Going back to school for a new degree in business, such as your MBA, or even just taking classes in marketing or entrepreneurship can also help you. The professors in the Colangelo School of Business at Grand Canyon University are experts in their fields and are always willing to discuss new opportunities with eager and motivated students. By connecting with the business community at GCU, you’ll be able to find a mentor while also staying on top of the latest research and information in your field.
Finding a mentor is all about using the resources already available to you.
To learn more about how Grand Canyon University’s Colangelo College of Business provides students with the right environment to expand their network and find a mentor, visit our website or click the Request More Information Button on this page.
The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Grand Canyon University.