In the previous article, I explained how the word “mentoring” came about as a character that played the role of an adviser in Homer’s epic poem. We also discussed a few of the benefits of having a committed mentor who can help you during starting and growing your business and making you become what you want to be in life.
Considering my personal experience while mentoring young entrepreneurs in the last few years, I have come to understand that mentoring has far-reaching benefits to any aspiring and growing entrepreneur who is passionate about making it big in business. There are cases where an entrepreneur will find it difficult to succeed in business without being mentored and led through the right course. For instance, as a would-be entrepreneur, it would be wrong for you to wake up one day and start a business you know little or nothing about without discussing it with an experienced and successful entrepreneur who has passed through all the odds and difficulties involved in running such a business successfully in Nigeria.
Working and helping people to start the business in recent times has equally revealed to me that a lot of the so-called entrepreneurs today are “condition turned” businessmen who suddenly found themselves in business shortly after they are out of a job due to restructuring, layoff or job cut without much preparation. From the way these people go about their businesses, it is apparent that they lack small business management skills, the experience as well as the typical traits which most successful entrepreneurs possess. This is because some of them do not plan to be one before. Since these people have no proper transition from paid employment to become businessmen, they certainly need to engage an experienced mentor in supporting them in the process of deciding the kind of business to do and how to go about starting it on a good note. Not having a mentor has led many into serious financial problems and debts in the first few years of their operation as entrepreneurs. As an aspiring entrepreneur just venturing into business for the first time, it is crucial to build a solid foundation for expected success in business by seeking the assistance of a mentor to assess your skills and ability, evaluate the chances of the proposed trade to succeed and come up with the most suitable ways of going about it.
On the other hand, the fact that you have been in business for some time does not mean that you do not need a mentor to guide you and support you while growing your business big. You need someone you can regularly discuss your business problems and challenges with and who will be willing to share his skills and experience with you and consequently offer you suggestions and recommendations on the way forward. As an experienced person, he would be able to give you the necessary information that will enable you to explore all growth opportunities existing inside and outside your business. In today’s market, being experienced is very important, because where an inexperienced person cannot stand, and an experienced person can make it exceedingly well. Since experience cannot be bought, you, therefore, need to walk with those that have it, and the easiest way to do that is through mentoring.
Mentoring can improve your business performance as the mentor will be able to act as your board member who will be on regular measure your financial performance with the target. In some cases, it is better than engaging a consultant since mentoring would not only solve your business problems but would also address other personal issues that may directly affect the success of your business. A good example, which proves that mentoring enhances entrepreneurial success is the Prince’s Trust in Ireland which for many years has been offering loans to young entrepreneurs without providing them with the mentoring opportunity. According to the report made available by the Trust Fund, the success rate of the businesses granted loan was initially 40%. But after about three years, the Management of the Trust introduced a mentoring program for the entrepreneurs. It was confirmed that the success rate of the entrepreneurs soared to 75%. The experience I have as an instructor in Fate Foundation also buttresses the fact that those entrepreneurs who are committed to their mentoring programs can manage their businesses more successfully than their contemporaries who for one reason or the other could not cope with the mentoring programs.
Apart from the fact that mentoring enhances the chances of entrepreneurs to succeed in businesses, it also helps the would-be mentees to improve their mental, attitudinal and critical reasoning ability to make good business decisions. Having a mentor will strengthen you to build self-confidence and high esteem to face the challenges facing you as you grow in your business and personal life. Mentoring often facilitates the discovery of mentees talents and potentials. An obvious example of this is the case with many of the prominent and successful artist that we have in the country today.
Mentoring also helps entrepreneurs to network with other entrepreneurs, high net worth individuals and customers. Some mentors even go as far as assisting their mentees to source capital for their business deal through referrals although this does not happen in a day since mentoring is a long-term relationship. Some of these benefits are enjoyed as a relationship develops further. However, before a mentee can enjoy this, he must demonstrate a high level of discipline and honesty because the relationship is built on trust.