Anne Timpany, Director at On Tap Plumbers, explains how a mentor could help transform your business.
It can be lonely running your own business and difficult to find the support needed to help you make those tough decisions. Your business can stagnate when you don’t have anyone to bounce new ideas off and you end up doing the same thing day in, day out.
Going it alone is admirable, but can also be detrimental to the success and progress of your business. Prosperous businesses are not run just by individuals, but are the product of a team and business mentors help keep the business innovative with their knowledge and experience.
A number of the most famous billionaires in the world had mentors, for example Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg was mentored by Steve Jobs, the co-founder of Apple. Bill Gates of Microsoft credits part of his success to his mentor Warren Buffet, and Richard Branson sought out the advice and support of Sir Freddie Laker.
I didn’t have an official mentor when I started my business but luckily I had my husband and business partner. We had the advice and support of my father who was a successful businessman in his own right before he retired.
He taught us some valuable lessons when we started On Tap Plumbers nine years ago – ‘don’t take things personally, its just business’, and ‘always focus on profit and not turnover.’
It’s often hard not to take things personally, especially when you are dealing with a customer’s house which makes it a personal transaction for them. However, by not reacting in an emotional manner, you show a much more professional attitude.
I took the decision to acquire a mentor two years ago. She is our accountant and brings a different perspective to the business. This has helped me grow as an entrepreneur as she has worked with me to set long term goals and been able to look at it from a financial perspective.
She has also helped me with looking outside the box and seeing new opportunities that I wouldn’t have otherwise considered. Having an experienced mentor can be life changing and extremely valuable to personal and business development.
Here are five reasons why I believe mentors are important:
The largest missing element for business owners is holding themselves accountable. Without that, the structure and motivation to place goals become unactionable as the day-to-day running of the business takes up all of your time.
A mentor can act as that individual that holds you accountable and therefore drives you to set and achieve goals.
Mentors often have networks of people that you can tap into which would otherwise be unattainable. A mentor already has an invested interest in your success, therefore it makes sense for them to put you in touch with the right people to help you.
A mentor who has experienced the highs and lows of running a business can offer you the knowledge that you wouldn’t necessarily get through reading books. Through the sharing of this knowledge, you can grow your business with foresight and avoid the mistakes that your mentor has made on the path to prosperity.
Support and guidance
Self-confidence is essential to achievement. The reassurance a mentor offers will have a powerful positive effect. Business owners can often experience depression and reduced motivation in tough times, but having a mentor will help keep you motivated and give you an idea of how to navigate your way through.
Those business owners with mentors that encouraged goals and dreams are much more likely to be engaged and thriving with their work than those without.
Longevity and success
Research and surveys have proven that business owners and entrepreneurs with mentors stay in business longer and achieve greater success. Whether you have a mentor for a short time or ongoing, mentorship can drastically increase the chance of your business succeeding.