Who's in Your Village?
The old saying “it takes a village to raise a child” can equally apply to a new start-up owner and their “infant” company. This proverb implies that it takes more than just the parents (business owner) to raise a healthy, well-adjusted child. It takes the interactions with a safe community, and relationships with shared values to see the child grow.
New business owners often find themselves tending to their new start up on their own. For the health, and longevity of your business, it’s vital to have a support network. A key player in your “village” is the business mentor. Over the next few blogs, I will discuss why it’s critical to have a mentor on your team.
Here’s my first three reasons why:
Mentors can help you look at challenges from perspectives you might not have considered. As a new business owner you may have little experience dealing with lawyers, accountants, the tax department, difficult employees or investors. Let's say your company requires early-stage capital investment. An experienced mentor can provide valuable insight on how to communicate with potential investors. They can offer pointers on how to pitch your business to investors, how to build a strong management team, and how an investor views your company.
Operating a business can be stressful and frustrating. As an owner, you'll often need to blow off steam with someone you trust. A mentor is that safe, listening ear you can share your frustrations with. They can help you start the process of identifying and dealing with the roots of your aggravations. I’ve witnessed business owners deal with major conflict within their management team. In these times of tension and struggle it is imperative they can talk to someone outside of the situation. As a mentor, I’ve been able to be that listening ear during management disagreements. As I’m emotionally detached from the situation, I can offer insight, perspective, and help owner’s craft workable solutions to bring resolution.
A mentor’s greatest gift to you as a new business owner is their past mistakes and successes. If your mentor started new businesses, managed people, raised capital, experienced cash flow problems etc., they can give you invaluable insight. I understand as a mentor that a major part of my role is to share my hard won life lessons. Hopefully, these experiences will assist my client to raise a healthy and successful business.