Mentoring is widely recognised as a key part of entrepreneurial success. It is not uncommon for successful startup founders, entrepreneurs and business leaders to reference mentors as an integral part of their growth and development.
While more and more entrepreneurs are looking for mentoring, there needs to be a growing number of mentors willing to help, guide and support mentees. We live in an era focused so heavily on reaching our own goals, targets and ambitions, but it's still important to give back and support those rising through the ranks.
As such, here are five reasons why every business owner or entrepreneur should consider becoming a mentor, including the benefits they may reap for their own personal development.
1. It can provide valuable insight
Believe it or not, being mentored is not the only way to learn and grow. By mentoring others, you might just be amazed at how much insight it will give you about the many different paths to running and growing a successful business.
Speaking from my own experience as a mentor, working so closely with other growing businesses allowed me to gain a huge amount of insight into the challenges that younger entrepreneurs face daily. I quickly realised that the insights I was exposed to were valuable and that they could unlock otherwise invisible challenges.
As a result, I’ve managed to incorporate solutions to these challenges in my own business to pre-empt any similar issues arising. Mentoring therefore opened my eyes to different ways of running a business and gave me insight into different metrics by which to measure success, opening up my understanding of and appreciation for different ways of working.
In addition, the act of being able to look at a business as a whole with a bird's-eye view, and step away from the details, teaches you how to analyse business processes and recognise opportunities in a very holistic way. This may be worlds apart from how you approach your own business, and may bring fresh perspective on how to better manage your own company.
2. It's good to support upcoming talent
When we mentor, guide, support and help, it feels good, especially if you're helping up-and-coming businesses in your own community.
Being an entrepreneur can also be incredibly tough at times. For those of you who are working on a business or who have launched a business, you'll relate to how demotivating it can be. For every success, there is a massive struggle. Mentoring someone else it can be great for your own morale as it will remind you of your achievements and give you a sense of purpose when you support others through the struggles you've experienced yourself.
What's more, while mentoring, you'll be able to make excellent contacts and business opportunities by working closely with passionate and talented young entrepreneurs.
3. It hones your management skills
Mentoring is a brilliant first-step to leading and managing a team. As an entrepreneur, you are likely to be either leading a team already or you will be doing so pretty soon. By supporting your mentee and arming them with the tools to tackle challenges, you'll also be able to support your team more effectively and empathically.
Just like my first point about business insights, mentoring can help to give you everyday insights that you might otherwise not consider about your team and those individuals you manage. Being a mentor can teach you how to manage, lead and guide in a fantastic way – in a way that is necessary for anyone who wants to succeed in running a business.
4. It brings purpose
Closely linked with my second point about feeling good – mentoring can give you a real sense of purpose above and beyond managing your own business. When you mentor, you are valued as a leader and while that feels good and can help you with confidence, it also gives you a sense of purpose.
Having purpose as an entrepreneur is especially important because the chances are that you became an entrepreneur to make a difference in the first place. Helping another business owner to succeed will thus bring a genuine and authentic sense of purpose and remind you of the reasons why you became an entrepreneur yourself.
5. You'll learn lots
Believe it or not, you are likely to learn an amazing amount from your mentee. Imagine how much time, money and energy we could save if we, as entrepreneurs, all clubbed together to share the learnings from our failures and mistakes? Even if you are an entrepreneur who has already made several mistakes from past businesses, it could be very beneficial to mentor others who have not yet faced the same challenges.
From my own experience, my mentees have learnt from my failures but have also taught me so much about their own failures, such as how marketing budgets have been wasted, resources have been unnecessarily spent, approaches to market and product have not gone to plan, and so forth.
In mentoring and being mentored we can learn a lot, as mentees will ask questions we would otherwise not consider. We are taught by the people we teach. If you are looking to grow as an individual and succeed in business, a mentor is important but so is giving back and mentoring others too – you never know what you might gain from it.
About the Author
Ed Johnson is CEO & Co-Founder of PushFar, a platform making mentoring more accessible and effective for individuals and organisations. With a decade of digital marketing and online business experience, Ed setup PushFar when he was looking for a mentor himself. Now he works closely with HR directors and individuals across the world to encourage mentoring.