23 Mar

Why do we need Mentorship?

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Much talk has revolved about the role of mentors. If you want to start a business you get told that a key feature of your success is to choose a good mentor. But why is this?


Mentors are individuals that have started business and probably failed a few times. They are individuals that understand the pitfalls, the hardships and key areas of success. It is only through failures that true knowledge is obtained. Having a mentor that has gone through this process reduces your risk of failure. Unfortunately it is the inherent stubbornness of entrepreneurs that sometimes leads us not to listen to mentors. Obviously mentors are not always right but if you decide to have one (and I highly recommend you do) you would do well to listen to the mentor's advice. 


Besides assisting with normal business issues, mentorship is more about learning " tricks" that don't get taught in MBA or business development programmes such as:


  • How do you get motivated to carry on when you want to give up;
  • What to do when you don't have cash flow;
  • Negotiating better terms with suppliers to the extent that they could fund your business;
  • How to actually get cash from banks;
  • What angel investors are seeking, what are their requirements;
  • How to deal with a business down cycle (and it always happens);
  • How to seek new markets;
  • What to do when your business plan goes completely wrong;
  • How to deal with business partners and other stakeholders;


One has to realise that business in the main is about relationships. Get that right and you will have a better chance of success. 


Choosing a mentor is a difficult one. Some entrepreneurs choose people they know that have been in business for a while. Some use academics. Whoever you choose, it must be someone you're prepared to listen for advice and counsel for important strategic decisions. 


When choosing a mentor, obviously ask about their success. More importantly, ask about their failures and how they overcame them. That will give you an indication of their true character because it's through overcoming obstacle that you will make a success of your business. They will increase your willingness to carry on regardless of obstacles. 


That's where a mentor comes to their own. They assist you to navigate through the entrepreneurship path, pitfalls and all. They will encourage you and motivate you. They have no agenda but to see you succeed. The greatest reward for any mentor is to see their prodigy succeed. Because through that success, mentors themselves get rejuvenated. 


Even if you're in business already, get yourself a mentor. It can only help. And if you're planning to start a business, get a mentor now!  


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Read 4013 times Last modified on Monday, 23 March 2015 12:39
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