Picture yourself leaving on a journey to a far away place you’ve never been to before.
You’re not quite sure how to find this place, but you think you can ask questions of the locals along the way so you’ll be able to zero in on your final destination.
Let me ask you: “What’s the single best resource you could take with you on the journey if you had your choice?”
Would it be lots of money to buy your way in to the directions you need?
Would it be a detailed map that showed you the exact way to your destination?
What would you want to take on your journey?
I’ve thought about this question a lot in conjunction with trying to figure out how to create a successful business from scratch.
Money could help.
A good road map could help . . . although you really don’t know where to find the best map for your own circumstances.
My thinking is . . . I’d really want to take someone with me who knew the way exactly because he had already been there.
He would know when to turn, when to stay the course, what pitfalls and detours to watch out for, and he’d know when we had arrived.
That person would be of invaluable assistance.
He would give me the confidence to move forward and would be there when I had an important question like “Where do we head next?”
He would be a guide, a teacher, and a mentor.
There is no better resource to tap into when you’re heading out on the journey of creating a small business, in my opinion.
Mentors can be found in many places: online, at the local university, in the business community, at the Small Business Development Center (SBDC), or a place like SCORE (Service Corps of Retired Executives.)
Why are mentors so valuable?
It’s their experience and the fact that they’ve been down this same road before and know what to expect in advance.
Mentors that have personal knowledge and history (experience) in the field or industry that you choose for your business will be especially helpful, but that is not always absolutely necessary.
Solo business owners often prefer to do things themselves, to find their own way and blaze the trail as they go.
Sometimes engaging a mentor means paying that person a fee and not all entrepreneurs have the funds to do that.
But if you want to be successful and put the odds of staying in business in your favor, you would do well to find a mentor and listen carefully to his advice.
It goes without saying that you need to pick your mentors well. There are many folks that profess to be able to guide you. But do they really know what they’re talking about?
Some would try to sell you their mentoring in the form of a book, a “how to start a business” course, a set of audio or video tapes, or a “business in a box” type product.
The challenge I see with this approach is the fact that the course author is in business to make money. He wants to sell you his product.
Will he always give you the right objective help?
Or is he most concerned about making the initial sale to you?
Due diligence and research are very important when you are seeking a paid mentor. Checking his references and seeing what kind of success he has had with other clients would be a good idea. It’s not that you don’t trust a particular person – you just want to satisfy yourself that he has the appropriate experience and the success of helping others create a profitable business.
Having a mentor may be a luxury for some. Yes, certain entrepreneurs will be able to find their own way. But wouldn’t you prefer to take an experienced guide with you to show you the way to a destination that was totally new to you?
To your online business success,