I recently had dinner with a group of friends who meet monthly. We each talk about an area of our professional lives we could use help with, and the group brainstorms offering advice and ideas. One friend said, “I don’t really have anything this month.” That’s the wrong thing to say to our group. We attacked.… I mean, we offered him areas of improvement to consider. He said, “I guess I need help just talking about my business to someone. It’s so easy to keep it all to myself.” Last year, he quit his day job and went out on his own. He’s a solopreneur and doing well. Except… it gets lonely. He longs for interaction, idea sharing, and human contact—more than the once a month at our dinners. There were several small business owners at the table who offered to mentor him.
My friend stopped by my home the following Sunday, and after the Colts game (we beat the 49ers in San Fran!), we discussed his progress. He’d met with another friend—a small business owner—over lunch and had a great meeting. They discussed potential problems, pitfalls, and visions for his business. He had found a mentor.
Why You Need a Mentor
• You’re not the first to face the problems you face—learn from others
• You don’t have all the best ideas—seek advice
• Discussion stimulates creativity—brainstorming alone isn’t as effective
• Sometimes you need to be told everything’s going to be okay—or not
• You occasionally need a friendly nudge to take the next step
• We’re not meant to face this world alone—join a tribe and learn from its elders
It’s easy to get caught up in the day to day battle of managing a small business. There aren’t enough hours in the day and there’s always another bill to pay—and you’re busy trying to find your next customer. There’s no time left for a mentor in your hectic, crazy, business life. Ah, but there’s the rub: an hour every so often with an experienced helpful mentor may save you five hours of inefficient activities, ten hours of dead-end initiatives, and twenty hours of sleep. Are you a small business owner? Do you have a mentor? Have you mentored others?