Ah, so you are finally on your own and have your business ready to launch or already launched. In your mind, you believe you have everything set, but then reality strikes you down--now what?
According to Wasp Barcode's "State of Small Business" it's likely that 30 percent of all new businesses won't survive past 24 months--and that number rises to 50 percent after five years. (Inc.com). The reason why? Most people are afraid to ask for help and give in to their fears.
Luckily, there is someone out there other than friends or family who knows the business, knows what to do and knows how to stay in business and they are called a mentor.
Now, a mentor can be an old professor, past boss, old friend, or simply anyone who has already been in your shoes and succeeded--or even failed, but can offer you the insight of what they did wrong and how you can do it correct.
The first step in finding a mentor is to put your pride aside. No one wants to ask for help or guidance and that may be the downfall of your business. It truly does benefit to have another set of eyes on what you are doing and also offer constructive criticism when needed to formulate a great small business--and maybe even turn that small business into something much bigger.
Besides simply having a mentor, you also have to listen to a mentor. It's great that you found someone to offer you help, but you also must accept it without taking it as an insult. Allowing yourself to receive constructive criticism is not only mature, but also liberating once you allow yourself to take advice without it feeling like a personal attack.
Allowing more than one voice to come into your business plan may be key to its success. Just like news sources, you can't take only one's opinion into account and need a fuller scope of all information out there, so the more people you have offering advice, the more you may be expanding your business to more demographics. Now, it is YOUR business and while mentors are there to offer help, never let them take you completely off-track from your original intent--as that no longer makes the business your own and instead someone else's vision.
Now, a little backtracking, but someone out there may not have any resources or available mentors they can just reach out to, so where can you find one? For starters, you can find your local community colleges directory and reach out to professors in your field or even find the business directory in your town and reach out to owners. Ask other friends if they know anyone and begin your journey with a little networking for yourself. Indirectly, you also are getting the word out about your business idea while simply finding a mentor--so a little self promotion doesn't hurt every so often.
Remember, a mentor there to help you, so always be gracious of their help. You can do so by being respectful, returning the favor by helping them in their own lives, listening and simply allowing them to help you without rebuttal.
If you are in need of a mentor prior to starting your business or even after having started, it is never too late to reach out. If you are on the other end and have the experience to help others, then be the mentor! It is fulfilling on both ends--in learning how to run a business and also passing on knowledge you already have on running one and allowing someone else to have their time to shine.
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Socially Dedicated, a Philadelphia-based firm, provides marketing, content creation, public relations, business management consulting and social media management to small businesses. Check out our website or locate us on social media using the icons below.