Mentorship? What exactly is that?
We hear the term all the time – but people are often left confused or unsure about what a Mentor actually does. If you’ve ever found yourself thinking – “Who is a Business Mentor and what do they do?” Our blog entry for Mentorship Month can help to demystify that.
There are different shapes and sizes, as well as formats for Mentorship programs – but at the end of it all, the real question becomes; “Is Mentorship right for me?” Let’s take a closer look and at the end we’ll provide you with some options to connect with BIPOC Foundation about our upcoming Mentorship Program and how it could benefit you! Hopefully you’ll find the answer to that question through this article.
After all, that’s what Mentorship and Mentorship Month are all about – recognizing community efforts by seasoned professionals who enjoy giving back in a variety of ways, most often through their time and guidance and passing it along by making impacts in the Mentee’s life and business(es).
Who is a Business Mentor and what do they do?
A business mentor is an experienced professional who provides guidance, advice, and support to help you build a successful business. A good mentor will have been through the ups and downs of running a business and can offer sage advice based on their real-world experience.
Every entrepreneur needs a business mentor, whether they are just starting out in business or are accomplished CEOs. Business mentorship helps entrepreneurs avoid pitfalls and achieve success earlier than they would have done on their own.
Mentoring can be done informally or through formal mentoring programs. The idea of mentoring is to have a direct relationship with someone you can go to for business advice and constructive feedback on business decisions.
A business mentor will not just tell you what you need to do, they will show you how and connect you to resources and people that can help you get the job done quicker and better.
Why is a Business Mentor Important?
There is an abundance of information in our world today and if you want to move beyond merely managing the day-to-day running of your business to strategically growing your business, a business mentor is a must-have. You will benefit immensely from business mentorship in the following ways:
1. Business advice from relevant experience
When you’re running a business, it can be easy to get caught up in your own head and you may not always have a qualified and reliable person to run your ideas by. But a mentor can provide that sounding board, and provide guidance and advice through challenges that they may have already faced.
Their years of relevant knowledge and experience in their industry can help them to pass on information that they are quite familiar with, as well as what works and what doesn’t. Relevant experience may be industry-specific or role-specific. Regardless, there is always something to learn from someone who has been there before.
An experienced mentor will save you time, energy and money you would have spent figuring things out on your own. Additionally, when you work with them, you tend to get a cheat sheet of their failures and successes which can help you navigate your own business challenges.
2. Networking connections
Mentors bring more than just advice to the table. They are often equipped with a network of valuable connections that can open all sorts of new opportunities for your business, like access to new markets and potential partnerships. From suppliers to customers, investors and more, mentors almost always seem to have the right links and are often willing to share or make an introduction.
Mentors have often cultivated a circle of talented professionals – so If you want to grow your business faster, you might leverage a mentor’s contacts to build your own network of connections that will strengthen your business and lay a solid foundation for its success.
3. Constructive feedback
It can be easy to get caught up in the day-to-day of running a business and lose sight of the bigger picture, but a mentor can help provide clarity and offer valuable insights.
A mentorship relationship builds trust that creates an enabling environment for honest feedback. Mentors provide an objective perspective on your business. When you’re too close to something it can be hard to see it clearly, especially when you are deeply invested, but a mentor can help you step back and see the bigger picture. They can also help you identify any blind spots that you might have and help you avoid costly mistakes.
A business mentor will help you identify areas of improvement and offer suggestions on how to make changes. Once you understand that feedback is there for improvement, it is easier to welcome constructive criticism from a mentor especially around topics that family and friends may not readily offer.
4. Improved Business Skills
Many young entrepreneurs have a hard time succeeding in business. They have a great idea, but lack the skills and knowledge to make it work. This is where a mentor can be incredibly helpful. Business mentors provide advice, feedback and support that help you become more skillful in growing your business.
Business mentorship can help you develop essential business skills, such as financial management, marketing, and negotiations and more. These takeaways will be extremely beneficial for your business. Once developed, the skills can support you with making important decisions, setting and achieving goals, and navigating the ever-changing landscape of the business world, ultimately transforming your business.
It is possible to learn some business skills faster with a mentor than on your own.
5. Encouragement and Support
Entrepreneurship can be a tough lonely road but mentors make that road easier to walk. No matter how experienced you are, you will face good and bad business days through your journey. A mentor provides you with encouragement and support when you’re feeling overwhelmed or uncertain and they’ll often help you stay motivated. They could also offer helpful advice and perspective when you’re facing a critical decision.
Having someone in your corner when things are tough can make all the difference. When you feel like giving up, a mentor is there to push you in the right direction and help you see the potential in your business. With an experienced professional holding you by the hand, you’ll continue building the confidence you need to succeed in business.
6. Long-term relationship
Mentorship relationships are often long-lasting. As your relationship with a business mentor deepens, they continue as a trusted ally you can turn to. A thriving mentorship relationship will be mutually beneficial for both parties and will feature sound business advice, access to resources, recommendations and referrals, business partnerships, visibility, etc.
Business mentorship is a marathon, not a sprint, and the end result is increased opportunities for you and your business!
Get started with Business Mentorship
If you want to succeed in business with the help of an experienced business mentor, you can join our BIPOC Foundation Info Session happening on January 24th. Connect with others and get inspired to start your journey as a mentor or mentee through the BIPOC Foundation Mentorship Program.
We also encourage you to get started on additional actions like asking within your network for recommendations to connections and also using social media platforms to reach out to potential mentors.
BIPOC Foundation’s Mentorship Program and additional supports can help you with:
- Building Relationships with your Mentors
- Setting Effective Goals with your Mentors
- Overcoming Challenges and Gaps in Knowledge
- Improving Time Management Practices
- Prioritizing Key Tasks and Delegating Well
- Networking & Connectivity with Key Contacts
The entire month of January is Mentorship Month – so we’re celebrating Black Entrepreneurship and Mentors out there making impacts in their business communities! Don’t miss our recognition and info event to get you excited for what’s available and next from BIPOC Foundation through our Mentorship Program!