As an entrepreneur, you need a mentor. A mentor can help you establish and grow your business in ways you never thought of. They serve as sounding boards and experienced guides who can assist you in navigating the ins and outs of owning a business. Bill Rader, co-founder and CEO of Efferent Labs, wrote with DevelopIntelligence and detailed how he found his mentor, and here are some of the tips he shared.
His first mentor was the mother of a friend. She was an MBA graduate and just getting started as a certified public accountant. She helped Rader understand business concepts and to refine his business plan. This was when he was just a student in high school who was trying to start a business. This person was also an honest and objective voice on a number of business-related issues that Rader faced as a new entrepreneur. She also helped him to take another look at problems and solve them in ways he may not have considered carefully had he worked through the problems alone.
Another one of Rader’s mentor was his own father. They held weekly discussions about his business. They talked about his gains and unraveled problems that cropped up. That Rader’s father was a mentor for him demonstrates that you often do not have to look very far to find a mentor who can help you grow your startup. You likely have someone in your circle of close contacts, friends, and family who would be happy to share advice and to help you look at problems that may arise from a different angle.
Rader points out, however, that networking and being open to new contacts can also result in your finding a mentor. His most recent mentor was someone he just happened to meet at a business event. This person walked up and started talking to Rader. Rader was a bit unnerved about why this person was interested in him, and when he found out the man began as a lawyer he balked, stating he didn’t need a lawyer. The man responded that he wanted to be his friend, not his lawyer. Their friendship began from there and resulted in him being a legal advisor for Rader’s latest business venture.
Rader advises entrepreneurs to network, to find ways to come into contact with others with experience and perspective that you lack. When you do form relationships with these individuals, listen to what they have to say. You don’t always have to follow their advice, but, many times, you’ll find that what they say makes sense in ways you hadn’t previously considered.
Mentors’ advice can be just the right ingredient that will help you take your business to the right level. There is wisdom in asking for help, and there is even more in accepting and acting on that assistance. That advice can help your business succeed, and their friendship can be a lifelong support for you.