When you start a small business, you’re going to make some mistakes along the way. 

Some of these mistakes can be avoided with the guidance of a mentor. 

But how do you find a good mentor and what’s the best way to work with them?

How a mentor can benefit your small business

A survey by Kabbage revealed that 92% of small business owners who worked with a mentor said their mentor had a direct impact on the growth and survival of their business. 

Most entrepreneurs are focused on their business goals, which isn’t a bad thing. However, in some cases, it can lead to tunnel vision. A mentor brings an outside perspective and can offer insights and alternative solutions that can take the company in a direction that’s more likely to be successful.

How to recruit a mentor

Finding a mentor isn’t as hard as you think. There are plenty of mentoring services in Australia, such as the Small Business Mentoring Service and HerBusiness. However, nothing stops you from simply approaching a business leader you admire. 

Your mentor doesn’t have to be in the same industry or be a senior executive. Reverse mentoring is a concept in which an older person pairs up with a younger mentor who can help them with technology, trends or provide insights into how to connect with the younger generation. 

Working with a mentor

At the start of your relationship with your mentor, be clear about what you want guidance on. Is it finance, expanding operations, marketing, redefining the company’s vision or something else? You can have different mentors guide you on different facets of your business. 

When you work with a mentor, be transparent. They can’t help you if they don’t have all the facts. Some advice may be hard to hear, especially if it relates to your personal characteristics or leadership. Trust your mentor and be open to their advice; they may see something you don’t. 

In Australia, 60% of small businesses don’t last longer than three years. Those with mentors, however, survive more than five years. If you want to be one of those that succeed, find a mentor.