Most business owners are entrepreneurs. Free spirited, passionate about their business and ideas for it and full of optimism for its success. Otherwise they wouldn’t do what they do, they just wouldn’t have the drive to work long days, often 7 days a week without coming up for air.
But, the problem is that most are doomed to fail! Not because their idea is not good or that they lack the skills to implement it – because they often don’t have the basic business knowledge to nurture a company through to success. Passionate entrepreneurs tend to focus on their passion, not on keeping the business running properly or finding buyers for our incredible product or service.
So they can either take the hard road - enduring years of pain culminating in heartbreaking failure – then pick themselves up and try again, learning from their mistakes, OR, they can take the easy road – a shortcut, where they tap into somebody else’s knowledge and save themselves the learning experience.
That somebody is a business coach or mentor – and if you get a good one, it can be as powerful as having a set of night vision googles on a pitch-black obstacle course, instead of stumbling around in the dark.
A coach or mentor can save you not making certain business decisions that would end in disaster, or ca help you foster beneficial partnerships, guiding you through your entrepreneurial journey. You’re basically tapping into the knowledge and experience of someone who has already built a successful business or achieved what you’re trying to achieve.
When you’re in the trenches building a business, it’s very hard to get constructive feedback on what you’re doing or on the way that you’re doing it. A coach or mentor fills that necessary role, being brutally honest and drawing your attention to any weaknesses they see in you. This allows you to make necessary improvements and correct things, rather than just blindly continuing down a path that will end in disaster.
At the same time, the role of a coach or mentor is to see more in you than you can see in yourself and help you to bring it out – to help you find your personal success, rather than to try and clone their own achievements in you. They find ways to stimulate your own personal and professional growth.
When you’re building a business, your office can be the loneliest place in the World. You work back long hours, missing quality time with family or your partner and nobody seems to understand what you’re going through, much less offer you any support. This is where a Mentor fills the gaps.
Your Mentor understands what you’re going through because they’ve been there and pushed through that pain to achieve success. Your Mentor is somebody you can call on for words of encouragement and support. They’re not going to let you give up – when things seem at their darkest, your Mentor will push you to keep going and hold you accountable for your success.
Success is built on the repetition of many small tasks on a daily basis. This is where most entrepreneurs fall down – they’re great at the big picture and their passion drives them, but they tend to neglect the mundane, repetitive daily tasks, like follow-up calls to prospects or clients, answering inquiries, monitoring their sales team and this ultimately leads to their downfall.
Getting up every day and doing the necessary tasks takes discipline and there are times when you’ll want to cut yourself a bit of slack for any number of reasons. Your coach or mentor will instil in you that discipline and good work habits, simply by holding you accountable for what you’ve done every day. You know somebody’s going to be following you up on those daily tasks and you’re going to have to explain why they weren’t done – It makes you far less likely to skip them.
Business coaching and mentoring is a crowded market – There are multiple people offering these services, many without any real-world experience. Your relationship with a coach or mentor could be one of the most important relationships you have and the success or failure of your business could depend on it.
So choose your coach or mentor carefully – make sure you’re comfortable with them and they’re giving you good advice. Question them about their experience in business – real world experience as opposed to textbook experience. A coach or mentor who has been in the trenches will pick up things that a textbook coach will completely miss – and those things could make all the difference.
The cost of a business coach or mentor pales beside the cost of learning by mistakes and perhaps losing your business completely. You’ll probably get a bigger return on investment from hiring a business coach or mentor than any other investment you make in business.