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Most entrepreneurs don’t know how to benefit from business mentorship, some simply because they don’t know how to choose a good mentor (internal link) while others don’t understand why entrepreneurs need mentors so they think it’s a waste of time or too expensive to afford when virtually a business plan (internal link) seems to be all they need to navigate their way.
Choosing the right mentor is one thing and knowing how to benefit from business mentorship is another. The following should guide you get the best.
How to benefit from business mentorship
1. Know what you want.
When you don’t know why you need a mentor, you might never value one when the opportunity comes you way. Know what you want a mentor to help you achieve, make a list of these necessities. You might not be able to capture all in a list because some needs arise along the business journey but the whole purpose of this is for you to have a measurable expectation.
If the value isn’t measurable, you likely won’t ascertain the value of what you’re getting. Make it purposeful. Just like you’ve a purpose for starting your business, you should have a purpose for bringing along whoever you decide to and a mentor isn’t an exception. At several stages of the business, you might need different new mentors or coaches or consultants, always make it purposeful, know what you want, and pen the expectations down.
2. Keep the communication line open:
A mentor isn’t supposed to run after you, or always be at the calling end and initiating all the communication. You must understand that you and your business need the mentor more than he needs you except for the satisfaction he gets or the pay you give.
So always initiate the communication. Mentorship is an agreement, you don’t assume it so, both parties should communicate their expectations and schedules till an agreement is established. Mentors who are passionate about might come all out seeking your attention in the process, it’s not a norm, it’s an exception to the rule. If you must get the value you’ll have to go for it.
3. Ask questions:
Questions are the shovels with which you dig out the deepest of knowledge or secrets as the case may be. Never feel inferior to ask the stupidest question, that’s why he’s there to help you understand more. If you really had more knowledge, you likely might have no need to have him. Engage in quality conversation, create a remarkable event, sponsor an outing together.
The goal is to bring his heart naked before you. Get engaged in his lifestyle and ask questions as you get along as this will expose you to the practicality of the business. When you appear before a man who has more than you have, talking won’t help you more than listening would. So focus on asking questions and listening to pick the best of answers.
4. Make it a win-win:
What are you bringing to the table beyond a listening ear and the monetary value? No man wants to harbor a parasite. Make it interesting for the mentor. Offer something, not necessarily all the money or gifts but some help too. Spy into his busy schedule and offer to help out with some tasks with or without pay. This is a win-win, you learn to walk the talk and he is relieved of some task.
If all you wanted was some tips and info on how to succeed in the business many business books would offer you that with less cost but talk is not walk. A mentor will give you both so, offer to help out with his task as this will expose you to stuff ordinarily your conversation might not cover.
This is one of the ways to benefit from business mentorship.
5. Keep up with task and deadline:
It’s not enough to offer to help if eventually, you won’t meet up with the deadline. This can paint you as unserious and close the door against the experiential side of the mentorship exercise. Deliver the task. Don’t just do as you’re told but exceed expectations and prove that you can take up higher responsibility.
If anything should delay your delivery, communicate far ahead of time and sincerely apologize for it but never make it a regular occurrence.
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Ask for a guide on the task you need a guide, a good mentor will be happy to guide you through. When given advice, pick it up and implement, nothing frustrates a mentor than a mentee who listens but doesn’t follow through on the advice.
If it doesn’t make sense to you, discuss your stand with the mentor. This deeper discussion might help your mentor understand your position, or it might expose a misunderstanding that was preventing you from embracing the idea. Who knows? It might even reveal a better idea.
6. Bring your strengths along:
You definitely have strengths your mentor doesn’t have. He’s human too. Bring in your strength to compliment not to reveal his weaknesses. As long as you make him feel secured about it, he would always employ your strength when needed.
Don’t feel bad to bring your strength along. Your mentor knows that you have expertise outside of her wheelhouse. Don’t shy away from this fact in an effort to protect her feelings. Playing dumb will only make you a bad mentee. It’s this give and take (especially the give) that makes the relationship worthwhile.
This is how to benefit from business mentorship.
7. Give credit and show appreciation.
Every mentor has a secret desire. They want to see you grow so discuss your growth process and give credit always. Show appreciation as this will gear them to do more. It gives this notion that their time investment on you and your business yield growth. Nothing is more satisfying to a mentor than to see that the agreement was reached and at least expectations achieved even if not exceeded.
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