How many entrepreneurs and business owners actually “make it”? Sadly, about 20% of small businesses fail within their first year, and 30% fail within their second year. The good news is that there are steps entrepreneurs can take to make their businesses more likely to succeed.
One vital step that entrepreneurs should take when starting their business is to find a strong mentor. In fact, studies show that 92% of small business owners believe that mentors have a direct impact on the growth and survival of their business. The truth, however, is that 63% of business owners do not have professional guidance from a mentor at the onset of their business.
As a successful entrepreneur and public speaker, Pedro David Espinoza of San Mateo, California, sees mentorship as critical to his past entrepreneurial endeavors. Today, he gives back to his professional community by mentoring other new entrepreneurs.
What Is A Professional Mentor?
There are a lot of ways to define mentorship. Pedro David Espinoza focuses on three things. First, mentors help their mentees understand themselves. This leads to mentees finding their natural gifts, desires, and abilities to address specific problems around them. Mentees begin to create their own mission and vision in order to make a difference.
Second, mentors help their mentees break down the mission into actionable goals. Mentees can lean on their mentors to hold them accountable to those goals. Mentors remind mentees of the big goal and motivate the mentee to stick to the little goals that help them get there.
Lastly, when challenges arise, mentors keep the mentee focused on the positives. This includes developing a growth mindset and remaining persistent. Without a mentor, it is far too easy for the negativity to settle in on the entrepreneur, which can cause discouragement and inactivity.
Pedro David Espinoza’s 7 Reasons Why Mentoring Is Key To Success
Why does mentorship work? Here are seven reasons why entrepreneurs have found mentorship to revolutionize their professional development.
1. It Establishes A Baseline For Networking
For some, networking is an alternative sales tactic. They enter networking events with an agenda that steamrolls others. As a result, these individuals repel other professionals rather than attract them.
For successful networkers, however, the goal is building relationships and learning. They want to become acquainted with the vast amount of solutions surrounding them. Most importantly, they want to listen.
These networkers either have a mentor coaching them on relationship-building, or they seek one or more mentors. They realize that one or two key relationships can open up their world to new knowledge and professional success.
Mentors already have an established professional network and are easily able to make introductions between mentees and other professionals. These connections may become lifelong, professional friendships or may even become potential partnerships down the road.
2. It Saves Time And Money
Mentors can quickly determine when their mentees are about to head down an unprofitable path and suggest an alternative. The best mentors regularly challenge their mentees to think carefully and intentionally on every decision. This protects the young professional from having to learn too many things the hard way. This saves money (lowers costs) and precious time (more energy for the critical, high-value activities).
3. It Provides Motivation At Critical Moments
As noted above, doing business is hard. There will be some failure, as well as risks that do not pan out. As such, mentors are there to help their mentees keep moving forward. Every moment is a chance to learn; if the mentee follows their mentor’s guidance to remain present and optimistic, they will be able to see the critical moments for what they are. When this happens, the mentored professional becomes a consistent, clutch player in their industry.
4. It Helps Put Challenges And Successes In Perspective
Young professionals frequently think and feel in extremes until they gain more experience. Mistakes may seem like the end of the world. But with mentors, mentees can speed up their maturation. It’s all about perspective, says Pedro David Espinoza. No challenge is ever as dire as it feels in the moment.
Similarly, few successes indicate full mastery – there is always more to learn. Good mentors help their mentees find this middle ground more often than not. The result is that these nurtured professionals remain calm and confident in every possible scenario.
5. It Builds Relationships
Somewhat related to the networking discussion, strong relationships provide the kind of companionship that fights loneliness and depression. Being a leader and an entrepreneur can be grueling lonely work.
Great mentors become close friends with their mentees. Before long, these relationships go both ways, as each finds companionship in the other, having powered through many difficult challenges together.
6. It Cultivates Diversity
Done well, mentees work with mentors that are both similar and different than they are. According to Pedro David Espinoza, not only can mentors help their mentees accept alternative perspectives within the mentorship relationship, but they can also help their mentees listen carefully to the wide variety of their customers’ needs.
When more aspects are welcome in the present environment, more significant innovation, and creativity ensues. Diversity is a critical protection against tunnel vision. The tunnel vision shuts off critical thinking and creative problem-solving. Good mentors can nurture this diversity within the mentorship relationship to protect their mentees against ignorance.
7. It Creates More Mentors
Most good mentors had a great mentor themselves. That is not to say, however, that good mentors always had good mentors of their own. Many great mentors learned the hard way on their own. They hate to see other young professionals go through some of the misery that they endured, and as a result, they grow to become amazing mentors. When someone feels nurtured, they feel inspired to nurture others, too. Good mentors are always thinking of their mentee as a future mentor.
Particularly for entrepreneurs, says Pedro David Espinoza, the game is high risk and high reward. The best approach to lowering that risk and increasing one’s joy in professional development is to seek the help of a mentor. Good mentors have shown themselves to be a critical component of small business success.
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