Why you need a mentor for your entrepreneurial pursuit

A mentor is an experienced expert who can give support and guidance to an inexperienced or less experienced person.

Mentorship is present in almost all institutions, however what you might see is an unorganized mentor-mentee relationship. But this relationship does exist if you look up to a particular person for motivation and advice whenever you feel stuck.

At the corporate level, we have mentorship relations between the board and management. In academic settings, you will see mentorship between a professor and his/her student. This relationship is necessary to enhance better decision making, transfer of knowledge and professional support.

So why do you need a mentor as an entrepreneur?

First of all, going into entrepreneurship is not an easy task as it requires lots of work and perseverance for you to see good results. So you need a mentor who will guide and motivate you, while you find your way to a strong standing in entrepreneurship.

A mentor is usually someone who had threaded and succeeded in the same path you are about to take. Through his experience, you will learn how to navigate issues that may arise as he is always available to help you with networking and identifying the resources you need to grow faster. Having a mentor is like killing several birds with one stone.

To get the most out of a mentorship, you need to know what you want to gain. If you are unsure of how to clarify what you hope to gain, your mentor is available to help you attain clarity and set expectations.

Expectations also include the frequency at which you will be meeting with your mentor, and what the mentor expects from you during the relationship.

Setting expectations will help you appraise the relationship and make necessary adjustments if necessary. The items below are some of the things you should expect from your mentor:

  • He should be able to show you how to solve problems
  • He should inspire you
  • He should encourage you
  • He should understand that you have your own goals and not try to recreate himself in you
  • He should listen to you
  • He should provide guidance
  • He should challenge you to go outside your comfort zone
  • He should share professional knowledge
  • He should share life experiences
  • He should show real interest in your endeavor

How to appoint the right mentor

Be careful when appointing someone as your mentor, especially nowadays that almost everyone is either a mentor or a coach. One of the things you should do is get familiar with your industry. Get to know the basics and verify information before you agree with such information.

If the mentor you are looking to appoint has an online presence, do make sure to read his write-ups and verify them. Also read what others are writing about him and seek out his former or existing mentees​ for reviews.

Another way to select a mentor is to simply look for someone that has the same past experience with your future plans. This person may be your boss at work, your family member or even a senior friend. Reach out to them, tell them your needs and ask for the best way they could mentor you. Some may require that you do an internship with them, while others might ask you to join their mentorship classes if they run one.

Lastly appoint someone that you can feel free with such that you will be able to talk openly with them, to bare your worries and fears. You should also be open to accept criticism and be willing to learn.

You stand to gain the following benefits from a mentorship relationship:

  • Better understanding of your business
  • Improved productivity
  • Sharper focus on your goals
  • Ability to take strategic business initiatives
  • Professional growth

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