Mentorship seems to be hitting the entrepreneurship airwaves lately, and a lot of entrepreneurs are embracing this ancient method of knowledge transfer. One of the most industrious Nigerian tribe from the eastern part of the largest black nation – the Igbos, are known to have used the Igbo apprenticeship program also known as mentorship to build business empires. The business philosophy of the Igbos requires that you have a mentor before starting out in business.
Nobody has complete monopoly of knowledge. You can’t know it all and have it all figured, hence, the need to learn from those who have been there and done that before you. You need a mentor to succeed as an entrepreneur. We have seen that business founders who are mentored by a top-performing entrepreneur are three times more likely to become top performers themselves.
I know you have heard the saying, ‘trust your guts and follow your instinct’, but, beyond trusting your feeling and following your instinct, you need the follow-who-sabi-road strategy to reach certain heights in entrepreneurship.
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Who Is A Mentor?
A business mentor is someone who uses their knowledge and experience in business and career to guide others. Also, they provide advice, counsel, network contacts, cultural know-how, personal support, and encouragement. Their major interest is to foster the business/career development of the mentee.
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Why Do You Need A Mentor?
In this 21st century where things and strategies are changing like the speed of light, you need guidance if not, you will be left behind. So, we will like to discuss why you need a mentor in your entrepreneurial journey.
1.) To Spend Less Time Looking For What Works
There is a popular Yoruba proverb that says, “you can have more clothes than an elderly person, but you can never have more rags”. That’s exactly the same concept with mentorship; an experienced entrepreneur knows ways and systems that work more than an ‘upcoming’ entrepreneur.
Obviously, it is in your best interest to be under the tutelage of a sage, in any of your endeavors, because you’d spend less time debugging a lot of issues because they would likely have gone through that same challenge. You have all the energy and agility, but one thing you don’t have enough of is time.
As an entrepreneur, we can’t over-flog the importance of having a business mentor, because they expand the budding entrepreneur’s viewpoints.
2.) Mentorship Can Be A Huge Leverage For Networking
As an entrepreneur, there are so many reasons why you need a mentor to succeed, one of them is leverage. You need recommendations, referrals, etc., from people who can stick their neck out for you.
A successful ideal mentor already has an unlimited network of people that can benefit your career. A mentor can give you access to their network when the need arises. If you were left alone to build those networks organically, you might burn out.
Business mentors have the capacity to put you in touch with contacts who can help make your business more successful. As you know, the more people you meet, the higher the odds of having someone on your contacts who can help you solve some of your business problems.
3.) Changes Your Belief And Gives You Reassurance.
Self believe and confidence is a prerequisite for success in any endeavor, especially in business. Research has it that, quality mentorship has a powerful positive effect on young entrepreneurs. Having someone who practically guides you and shares your worries will boost your confidence. Tell me any better way of reassuring your business success.
Sometimes, a healthy belief system garnished with the right mindset contributes more to your business success than talent and competence. And, that is exactly what the reassurance of a mentor can give you. A mentor sees farther and broader than the mentees and has the capacity to help the mentee tap into their self-confidence and see every challenge as an opportunity to greater heights.
4.) Mentors Are Highly Disciplined People With Rules & Boundaries For The Mentee
In the African context of upbringing, it takes a community to raise a child. When a child is raised literally by a community, the child grows up having conflicting ideas of what an ideal life is. However, with disciplined parents, set down rules and necessary boundaries, the child grows up to a civil, cultured, and responsible element of society.
Similarly, a mentee-mentor relationship. A mentor solidifies your work ethics, sharpens your focus, and clarifies your priorities in ways that you couldn’t do yourself.
They find ways to stimulate your personal and professional growth, with a delicate balance of thought-provoking ideas and your trusted guts.
5.) Mentors Provide Information And Knowledge.
Some information can’t be found in books, you get them on a deep level of human interaction. Benjamin Franklin said, “Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn.” This further solidifies the idea that a lot of information and knowledge transfer takes place in a mentee-mentor relationship. With a mentor at the start of your entrepreneurial journey, you’d be able to tap into a wealth of knowledge that will get you up to speed faster and shorten the learning curve.
There are some deep secrets about some industries, or sectors that you’d get at your fingertips from a mentor. These secrets may not be found in business books or business schools. This is one of the reasons you need a mentor.
6.) Mentors Offer Encouragement That Keep You Going
One major thing that keeps a lot of entrepreneurs in their comfort zone is the fear of failure. More so, enduring a business failure on your own can set you back and impact your productivity as an entrepreneur. You need a mentor to succeed as an entrepreneur because, in hard times, these guys give you heads up. They keep your head high and ensure you align it with your vision.
Beyond motivational speaking, a mentor who has experienced the highs and lows of the entrepreneurial life is in a perfect position to give positive and soothing words of advice to you when things are falling out of place. This is needed because you’ll always get to that high road of frustration, where it’ll seem like things are not working. A mentor puts you back on track when you get there.
Most business tycoons had mentors who showed them the way and led them to the success they are today. Aliko Dangote was mentored by his grandfather, who was a successful businessman in his time.
Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg was mentored by Steve Jobs. Jobs was mentored by Mike Markkula, an early investor and executive at Apple. And Eric Schmidt mentored Larry Page and Sergey Brin of Google. Aside from the fact that investors trust startups who are recommended by their friends, a successful mentor has an unlimited network of people who can benefit your career.
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