Choosing the right growth mentor for your business is an investment. It is not time or money but it pays off dividends in the long term.
The value of a great business mentorship translates into fewer mistakes, viewing the big picture, inspiration, and being a people leader.
Taking the time to develop a good sense of whom to choose is crucial. The following steps can help you narrow down the choice.
Business Growth Mentor: Definition
A business growth mentor is someone who has experience and expertise in your industry, both in terms of success and failure.
Growth mentors are usually associated with startups because startup owners need someone to lead the way and grow the business without making capital mistakes.
However, having a teacher is useful at any growth stage.
Ideally, the growth mentor for your startup or SME is someone who went through the struggle you are dealing with and came across the other side successfully.
This person is several steps ahead of you.
Developing a productive growth mentorship with a person who knows the position you are coming from can be one of the best steps you have taken to grow your business.
It doesn’t mean that you have to choose a mentor once and for all. When the moment is right, you can develop a new growth partnership.
Many mentors turn out to be life-long friends with their mentees. If you are lucky enough to find a great mentor (or more of them), you will enjoy many benefits.
Benefits of Having a Growth Mentor
The rule of thumb is that a growth mentor is someone who can act as a sounding board for you to open up and share ideas. A mentor is a confidant who can help you:
- Reinforce knowledge. Beginners miss important trends and insights many times. The mentor is there to let you know where you got it right or wrong. Be careful — a mentor is not a teacher that provides readymade information. Instead, you will get help about how to search for and find knowledge yourself. Staying humble before the beginner’s enthusiasm is key to maximizing the knowledge provided by your mentor. Keep an open mind and be willing to be wrong.
- Expand your network. As someone who has some experience in your area, the growth mentor knows people who can help you grow, introduce you to experts, or point out where to look for making new connections. The mentor acts as a reference for new contacts. The most treasured networking skills you can pick up from your mentor are developing empathy and emotional self-regulation. These skills take time to develop, and the mentor can speed up this long path.
- Grow as a leader. The mentor can help you transform from entrepreneur to leader. Ditching obsolete management tactics in favor of the new leader’s skills, such as coaching and motivation, are mentorship perks that accrue value in time. The ultimate recognition of the effort for a good sage is when the mentee gains the capacity to become a mentor themselves.
- Gain acknowledgment. Having someone spread a good word or two for your company, praise your ideas, or simply empower you to recognize your strong suits is invaluable when problems hit hard. Company CEOs take the hit for everyone on the team. It is easy to shift internally and take the blame for everything. When you look for how to choose a growth mentor, look for someone who can provide that external perspective.
- Discover loopholes. Everyone has blind spots, preventing them to see a 360-degree view of the situation. Your growth mentor can act as a convex traffic mirror for your business model and help you spot those loopholes faster. Having support from the mentor pushes through procrastination, perfectionism, and a fall in confidence. You can make decisions faster and better.
- Improve problem-solving abilities. When you are in full productivity mode and when a crisis crops up, you can get stuck in panic mode. Instead of making mountains out of molehills, with the help of a mentor, you get tried and tested solutions to problems you can implement instantly. One of the best things a mentor can do for you is to help you correctly identify the problem. A well-identified problem is a problem half-solved.
- Challenge, motivate and inspire. The relational element of business growth mentorship should not be underestimated. Having someone to turn to when the going gets tough will help you build business resilience, grit, and stamina.
The right business mentor can provide assurance and confidence, but also help you maximize business performance and solve actual problems by offering inventive solutions.
Do You Need a Business Growth Mentorship?
Even if you are not in the startup phase, you will benefit from a business growth mentor if:
- You are overworked, overstressed, and in poor health
- People keep quitting your team and you spend days rehiring and training new people
- Facing a problem you have no clue how to address with the skills and resources you have
- Costs keep growing along with profits and you are spinning the perpetual hamster wheel
- Lack of creative new ideas is keeping your business in a rut
- Struggle with identifying long-term goals for an idea you once felt so passionate about
- A problematic scenario keeps repeating without learning the lesson because you cannot identify the problem
Once you have decided you can benefit from a growth mentor, it is time to think about developing a business growth mentorship.
How to Choose a Growth Mentor
Choosing a mentor can come down to something as simple as following a hunch or a referral. But you can broaden your choice if you keep in mind these ideas:
1. Narrow down the selection to your industry.
You can get the most value in terms of experience and expertise from someone who knows your industry historically and can make predictions about future trends. The growth mentor in this case has the specific know-how to address industry-related problems. Also, keep an eye to have a good vibe and rapport with this person.
2. Pick a mentor that is just a few steps ahead of you.
Someone too advanced will get tired or be less inspired to provide guidance. Instead of working up with crumbs of patience thrown at you from busy corporate giants, pair up with a growth mentor who still keeps overcoming struggles fresh in the memory and can develop more compassion for your current stage of growth. There are many examples of famous business growth mentors who have helped entrepreneurs conquer self-undermining habits and keep up going.
3. See how you can reciprocate.
The general rule is that the mentor-mentee relationship is not based on a monetary value. Still, you need to provide value in return to your business mentor. The best reciprocity is your business success and increased performance. However, enthusiasm, energy, and motivation for goal accomplishment will inspire the mentor to invest in the relationship even more. In a nutshell, you cannot expect growth from a business mentorship if you are a slacker.
4. Examine their mentorship framework.
A great rapport is an important element of mentorship. However, practical implementation is essential. Inquire about your mentor’s work style and how will the mentorship look like — how often you will meet, how to communicate, and how to define and measure success. Clarify expectations on both sides. Availability and commitment are two important elements whose absence makes it impossible to form a solid mentoring relationship.
5. Avoid strict definitions of the growth mentor role.
Setting up some rules is key. But you don’t need to look for people with the title “growth mentor” exclusively. If a person offers mentorship, take the chance. There is a good chance the experience will provide a worthwhile lesson.
Being a growth mentor to too many people can be draining. So make sure you check how busy your mentor is. Often the best business growth mentors are first-time mentors because they have the most passion for guiding you to overcome obstacles.
More confident about all ways you can use to choose a business mentor? Ready to take the next step to grow your business?
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