Mentorship is more important today than ever. People have information at hand, and knowledge is gained much faster, which outpaces experience. Yet, to get work done as a student, an employee, or an entrepreneur, everyone needs experience.
If people can’t gain experience at the fast rate they get information and knowledge, mentors can bridge the gap. A mentor would come in handy in nurturing talent in young entrepreneurs. Below, we examine what makes a mentor, and why young entrepreneurs should strive to find one.
What Is an Entrepreneurship Mentor?
A mentor is a more experienced, skilled, knowledgeable person with connections and better perspectives in life and career. The mentor passes along what they’ve learned in life, career, or business to the mentee, who then uses these experiences and lessons as guidance in their life or business endeavors.
Mentorship is a close and protected relationship between a mentor and a mentee, where the person with more experience and knowledge helps the junior person navigate life. Rather than learn about career and life through trial and error, a mentee can look to a mentor for direction and guidance. For example, rather than try to find internships or jobs or recruit employees from job boards like jobs by Lensa, a mentee can look to their mentor for guidance on the best approaches.
Mentors with effective mentoring skills offer guidance, share their experiences, and help their mentees develop insight through reflection to help them take action towards achieving their goals. The mentor will support and is willing to help the mentee in order to succeed in their business.
The mentor will most likely be in contact with the entrepreneur regularly through emails, phone calls, and meetings. The relationship may be structured and formal. For example, you may have to set business objectives or the meeting agenda.
Key Reasons Why Young Entrepreneurs Need Mentorship
The following are some of the key knowledge, experiences, and overall lessons a young entrepreneur can learn from mentorship:
Understanding Entrepreneurship Soft skills
Technical skills are the benchmarks for success in life, career, and business. However, soft skills are fundamental emotional capabilities that enable people to understand themselves and their environments to achieve certain goals.
Soft skills aren’t learned instantly like technical skills but developed over time through experiences. This is why older adults have more soft skills than younger entrepreneurs who have fewer life experiences. For example, while older adults can remain calm and composed under pressure, younger people tend to make decisions in haste. Such decisions can be detrimental to businesses.
Younger entrepreneurs need mentors to guide them through developing their soft skills. Examples of entrepreneurships soft skills that younger entrepreneurs may need to develop are:
- Team membership
Navigating Through Entrepreneurship
Like sailors, mentors act as navigators through the murky world of entrepreneurship. There’s nothing better budding entrepreneurs need than someone who can guide them with the right understanding. Mentors give them guidance and training on industry trends, expert moves, and success-driven activities based on their industry knowledge and experience.
Typically, success in entrepreneurship combines many factors, key among them being learning the challenges and inroads of the industry. Mentors are successful entrepreneurs who already have this experience.
Providing Unbiased Views
Of the soft skills that entrepreneurs need is the ability to stay calm in decision-making and apply conceptual thinking. As an entrepreneur, it’s important to understand your situation or problem before you take any action because any misstep can result in dire consequences and business losses. Yet, this is an experience that’s less developed in young entrepreneurs.
A mentor will give his mentee unbiased views and guide them toward rational decision-making. Entrepreneurship mentoring is about meeting goals and learning focused decision-making and strategic thinking. When an entrepreneur negotiates or makes decisions based on biased views, such as overconfidence, the illusion of control, or trust, the business might experience losses or collapse.
A mentor should never fail to point out these deficiencies in an entrepreneur and even offer further guidance toward the individual’s point of view. This will allow the entrepreneur to understand the different aspects of business and solve the problems through guidance.
Marking Achievements and Milestones
Entrepreneurship involves a great deal of work, and with such a busy schedule, it can be easy to overlook achievements or milestones. Mentors can help a mentee initiate goal-setting and celebrate important achievements realized.
A mentee needs these celebrations to improve their commitment and enthusiasm, which gives them the motivation to continue going. Celebrating milestones can remind entrepreneurs why they started the business in the first place and how far they’ve come.
Networking and Support in Finding Investments
While many organizations support or fund promising startups, getting to them or getting the information can be a challenge to young entrepreneurs. Why?
Young entrepreneurs don’t know where to look and don’t have the right network or connections to find these organizations. They may be too basic or too general in finding investments or venture capitalists.
A mentor with knowledge and experience in an industry can use their networks, with other entrepreneurs and other people, to help the young entrepreneur find funding. Often, mentors have industry relations and know how to reach the right people and the right connections. If things don’t go right, some meteors can even invest in a startup using their personal or business resources to help the entrepreneur to grow and expand their business.
Applying Experience and Proven Strategies
The business world is dynamic, and organizations must maintain and implement strategic changes to survive. Experienced entrepreneurs understand that they have to renew models and be flexible toward market impulses. This means making strategic orientations based on their experiences and beliefs about the business environment and the state of the organization. They can use this skill to help budding entrepreneurs remodel their businesses using strategies that have worked before to attain success.
Every young entrepreneur needs a mentor to guide and support them through their business journey. Mentorship is an opportunity for young entrepreneurs to sit with and engage an experienced industry voice who understands trends and uses unbiased views for better decision-making.