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7 Benefits of Having a Small Business Mentor

Small Business Mentor

Ever since Socrates mentored Plato in the academy at Athens, and likely for centuries long before that famed relationship, intellectual and business leaders have been mentoring each other. Although these relationships have their roots in ancient times and beyond, their relevance continues through today and, as a fledgling entrepreneur, you can gain a lot from a mentoring relationship.

Benefits of Having a Business Mentor:

  1. Expert Advice

The traditional mentor-mentee relationship consists of someone who has already made a splash in business helping someone who is just getting started. Mentors are experts in their fields, leaders in their communities or, in some cases, just general business gurus. Regardless of the category into which your mentor falls, he or she is poised to give you expert advice.

Better than the advice you’re likely to get from friends or family, their advice is objective, well-seasoned and based on tried-and-tested business methodologies and practices. A mentor is someone you can consult anytime you have a question on anything from funding to marketing to hiring your first employee.

  1. Multiple Perspectives

When you look at a business problem, it’s easy to get bogged down in the personal, distracted by emotions or clouded with fear. However, when you take the same problem apart with a mentor by your side, you’re likely to come up with new ideas and innovative solutions. Mentors expand your viewpoint, helping you to see multiple perspectives on problems, and that can help guide you toward a long standing solution that ultimately encourages your business to grow and succeed.

  1. Networking Potential

Part of the success of your business depends on strong, productive relationships with other businesses and consumers in your community, and in that regard, mentors help by introducing you to their network of contacts and associates. To facilitate that, the majority of mentorship programs are run through local organizations.

For example, SCORE is a non-profit association devoted to helping small businesses emerge, survive and thrive. The organization has over 11,000 volunteer mentors spread throughout 320 local chapters and across 62 different industries. Fintech lenders like Kabbage partner with SCORE to provide their clients the educational tools and connections they need to thrive, as well as the capital they need to move forward.

Because of that, many people pursue mentorship relationships almost exclusively for the networking opportunities. If you’re looking for a vendor, an investor or a supplier, your mentor may know exactly who to call, and because of their importance in the business world, their call is likely to get returned. On your own, you may not be able to get as far.

  1. Bottom Line

Whether you are developing a network of professionals, leveraging the unique perspective of your mentor or using your mentor’s advice to find success, you are likely to find that all of those elements have a direct impact on your bottom line. Unfortunately, it’s impossible to quantify the long term profits created by mentor-mentee relationships, as these relationships are older than trade and commerce, but in 2012, one survey of business owners who used a mentoring service revealed that mentoring had a direct effect on the bottom line.

In particular, those who received mentoring reported their business revenue increased by 106% or $47,000. In contrast, those who did not receive mentoring only reported a 14% or $6,6000 average revenue increase over the same time period. In other words, the mentored business owners saw a seven to eight-fold increase in revenue compared to those who were not mentored.

  1. Honing Skills

While a boost in revenue is always amazing, it is surprisingly not the biggest benefit of having a mentor. In fact, an increase in revenue brings a bevy of questions and concerns along with it. For example, you may wonder if the revenue has increased enough to warrant hiring more people, whether or not you need to refine your supply chain, or if you should tweak your marketing, rent more warehouse space or address other concerns. Answering questions like these relies on a certain level of business experience and acumen, and a mentor can help you hone those skills until you’re ready to deal with questions like those on your own.

  1. Encouragement

When you are starting or in the midst of running a business, you have to deal with countless questions, and you often have to just dig in and trust your gut. A mentor can encourage this process. They can act as the champion you need in your corner, and that can be an invaluable contribution on your journey to success.

  1. No Risk

Finally, one of the biggest benefits of a mentor relationship is that it’s completely free and risk-free. You’re not paying for a class, buying a book, signing up for a seminar or spending money on a consultant. Rather, you are identifying yourself as a business beginner who is curious and interested in learning from those who have gone before you

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Kabbage Team

Kabbage is here not only to provide access to the small business funding you need, but to also help you grow your business through free marketing tips, webinars, tools and more. Is there something you'd like us to cover or want to get your small business featured on our blog? Send us a note at content@kabbage.com.