Being an entrepreneur, you will constantly face new challenges, obstacles that threaten to derail your business and mood swings that will make you want to throw the towel in. How you cope with these will be an important part of lasting the pace and coming out wiser on the other side. This is where a mentor can be a big help. Somebody who has been through similar experiences and literally bought the t-shirt on how to be a successful entrepreneur can be worth their weight in gold when it comes to retaining motivation and reminding yourself why you’re doing this in the first place.
So, what makes a great mentor?
There’s no hard and fast answer to this and we all respond to things in a different way but there are some underlying traits in a mentor to look out for that will set them apart from the thousands of other ‘business coaches’ that are out there. Here are three of the key traits that I always look out for…
Do they focus on the big picture?
A mentor who can help you focus on the future and not just the here and now is an important skill. Recognising how technology, changing legislation, the political landscape and shifting customer behaviours impact on your business will be crucial for the future success of your business. If you can work with a mentor who can help you to get a handle on these factors, then that’s a big tick in the box.
Do they understand different management strategies?
If you intend to build a team around you then it’s important that you have the right management strategy in place and can respond to change quickly and effectively. Mentors that have experience of different management strategies, styles, philosophies and techniques can add tremendous value to what you’re trying to achieve in your business so don’t be worried about working with a mentor who seems to have held several job positions. The chances are that they can add more dimension to your management thought process.
Will they push you enough?
Mentors who challenge your thinking and are open about when they disagree with you are definitely worth persevering with. Sometimes working with a mentor can feel like more trouble than it’s worth, especially if it feels like your ideas are not being taken seriously or given the full weight of consideration. A great mentor isn’t a yes-man or woman. They’re somebody who will give you a new perspective, challenge but not diminish your ideas and will never let you settle for what you’ve got.
To be a successful entrepreneur, we all need that extra push and a great mentor won’t be afraid to do this.