Business Mentor and Importance of Mentorship in Business for Kenyan Entrepreneurs

For many entrepreneurs and business founders, getting a mentor is a vital part of achieving business success. 

Having a mentor in business is part of the business planning model. 

When you venture into a particular business field, there are people who are already ahead of you in that game.

If you have that desire and drive to get to where these successful individuals are, then you have to seek some of the best guidance and assistance from these groups of people in order to get the best out of your business. 

Every person started out small. In business, just as you lead, you also have to be led.

To lead, you must know the path and what better way there is to discover that than with a business mentor.

While some see no importance in getting a business mentor, it is vital to note that the pros outweigh the cons.

Business mentors prepare startup entrepreneurs for growth, closure and success.

Finding a good business mentor is something that most people struggle with. It is not as difficult as it is cracked up to be.

Who is a Business Mentor?

A business mentor is someone who gives you guidance on how they can run and manage their business. 

This is someone who has more experience than you in that specific field and can give you an expert opinion to help you conduct business matters for profitability. 

A business mentor serves you as a confidante over a period of time. 

He or she will not tell you how to solve your business problems, but they will guide you on how you will come up with solutions to your challenge. 

The sole purpose of a business mentor is to propel your business towards success.

Why is a Business Mentor Important?

Having a business mentor is a necessary part of being a successful professional. 

There are different reasons for needing a business mentor, as listed below:

  • To obtain advice on business matters 
  • To develop problem solving skills
  • To acquire new knowledge 
  • To get support from professionals
  • To acquire new resources

What Does a Mentor Do in Business?

There are certain roles a mentor must play in their work. 

A business mentor addresses issues related to the business and offers improvement on them. 

The roles of a business mentor include:

  1. Coaching. A mentor helps the mentee to acquire and practice new behaviours and learn new skills that are necessary and beneficial to the business 
  1. Advising the business. This could be on matters relating to manpower recruitment, business planning,  leadership or productivity issues.
  1. Being a role model. A business mentor is someone the mentee looks up to. Give insight to your mentee on how you made it to where you are.
  1. Giving support. Listen to your mentee and let your correction come from a place of love. Share in the joy when you succeed in a venture and also in the disappointments. It is good to feel cared for.
  1. Acquiring resources. A business mentor brings new opportunities, skills and expertise to the attention of the mentee.
  1. Offering protection. A business mentor helps the mentee to take up risks and challenging opportunities while giving a security blanket to mitigate these risks.
  1. Enhancing business visibility. A business mentor can advocate and expose your business to potential investors and customers because of their overall network. 

Qualities of a Good Business Mentor

Business mentors have years of experience in multiple fields. 

Good business mentors are:

  1. Good communicators. A business mentor should be a good listener. In this way, they can understand what problems their mentees are facing and provide efficient solutions. They should also be able to give guidance in a way that is not too harsh.
  1. Nonjudgemental. A business mentor should correct the mistakes of their mentee, bearing in mind that they also went through out and it is not unusual or stupid. 
  1. Honest. A good mentor should en truthful when giving his opinion of advice to the mentee in order for them to move forward in the development process. Holding things back deters the mentee’s overall performance.
  1. Flexible. A good business mentor should adjust his thoughts and beliefs to suit the circumstances that surround a particular business and give their insight from this perspective. 
  1. Social. Networking is vital for any good business mentor. It is important to have a good social standing so that the business can be exposed to other potential clients.
  1. Analytical. A business mentor should be able to assess the situation critically, before giving their guidance on how to handle different solutions.

How to Have a Successful Mentor-Mentee Relationship

Having a business mentor is not enough. You have to maintain a sustainable relationship in order to get the best out of your experience. 

Here is how you can have a good mentor-mentee relationship. 

  1. Establish your goals. This gives the both of you the scope and framework of how to operate and what you want to achieve at the end of the process. Every effort you make will be geared towards attaining this goals and the mentorship process will be complete once this is done.
  1. Define your roles and responsibilities. Stating your roles and responsibilities will prevent either one of you stepping out of line or being in each other’s way. You can both take up your duties and do all you can to achieve the best.
  1. Keep communication open. Disclosing truthful facts and opinions to each other is important. This will keep you informed of the underlying problems that need to be addressed. Be honest about your overall mentoring experience. 
  1. Establish camaraderie. Get to know each other. Cultivate interest in finding out who your mentor or mentee is outside the business spectrum.
  1. Participate actively. Be an active learner. Apply what you learn in your daily activities. This will get your mentor motivated when they see a positive change in your overall performance 
  1. Give expectations. State what you want out of them and from the overall mentoring process. This will help you not get undue over expectations. When you both know what to expect from each other, unnecessary agreements are avoided.
  1. Establish honesty and trust. Mentoring is all about trust. It is important to know that the a mentor has your beat interest at heart. Mentors get to see you at your vulnerable and weak moments. Knowing that you can fully trust and rely on them is a good boost to your relationship. 

How to Find a Business Mentor

There are many ways to find business mentors online or onsite.

  1. Use your LinkedIn network.

LinkedIn has a special feature that allows you to connect with other people for various reasons. You can search for people’s online profiles and choose to connect with them as mentors if they are open to mentoring. Send a cold message and inform them that you read their profiles and you need them to mentor you. For guaranteed success, be very strategic about this approach. Be interesting. Sound smart. Flatter them of their achievements. Don’t sound too needy or desperate. If you master this, then you are likely to get yourself a mentor, for free!

  1. Use you existing social network of friends.

If you have trusted friends who have made it to the top of the ladder ahead of you, ask them what they did to reach there. Let them mentor you. If they are good people, they will not have a problem with that.

If you are in the same level of achievement with your friends, ask them if they know of any successful people from their circle who can mentor you. This is how you leverage your social network.

  1. Pay for a business mentor. 

Paying for a mentor means you set yourself up to get highly experienced professionals who will give you a high ROI. Paid business inventors will give you a package and outline some of the terms and conditions of their contract, as well as the time period. Be careful not to get conned.

The best sites to look up business mentors online include Micromentor and Score Mentor.

Benefits of Having a Business Mentor

Some of the advantages of having a business mentor include:

  1. Increasing knowledge and experience. When you learn from the creme de la creme, you expand your overall thinking and outlook on business matters.
  1. Developing leadership skills. A business mentor teaches you how to lead. Leadership skills are important when you are working with teams in your organisation. 
  1. Building confidence. A person is assured of success when they take up mentorship programmes. This makes you be confident that your business will perform better over time.
  1. Improve business performance. Overall work productivity improves and the business performs better.
  1. Developing problem solving skills. A business mentor guides you to home up with your own solutions to solve challenges that arise in the business. 

Disadvantages of Having a Business Mentor

  1. Costly. Paying for a business mentor can be expensive, especially when you are just starting out and you want to cut down on expenses. 
  1. Time consuming. Mentorship is a whole learning process which may take months, years or a life time. Some people prefer to just start and independently learn from their mistakes along their journeys. 
  1. Frustrations. Working under someone who pushes you to do better can become exhausting. There is too much pressure coming from both sidea and you may end up feeling drained or unhappy with the experience altogether. 
  1. Mismatched pairs. Getting a mentor who fits your needs is a daunting task. A person may fail to get someone whose goals and ambitions are in perfect sync with each other. This makes working together difficult. 

How Long Should Business Mentorship Last?

Business mentors are only meant to be a for a given period of time. 

Usually, a mentorship can extend to a year, depending on the need and overall performance of a mentee.

Learning is a continuous process and just because you are done with the mentoring programme does not mean you cannot reach out for further guidance. 

Can You Be a Successful Without a Mentor?

Can you be Successful Without a Mentor?

Startup entrepreneurs who do not have business mentors have a low success rate.

A low success rate does not mean no success.

However, it will take a lot of time and strain to learn and do things on your own. A mentor gives you a good lift off.

When you do not have a mentor, you can watch videos, listen to podcasts or read books and have all your questions answered on how your business can succeed independently. 

A business mentor gives you all the insight that you need to get your business going in retrospect. 

They have gone through the whole process and they can give you enough loopholes to avoid common risks and mistakes that startup entrepreneurs and business founders make.

Take time and utilise the resources of a good business mentor to help you achieve your goals.

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Online Businesses / Work in Kenya