A business mentor is an invaluable resource to tap into on your franchising journey. A mentoring relationship provides you with constant encouragement, guidance, and strategic direction so that you can be more confident that you’re moving in the right direction.
Mentors are usually older and have taken the time to find out what works and what doesn’t and pass on that information. There’s a strong emotional connection there and mentors are really bought into your success.
A great mentor will be providing constant oversight and encouragement. At the same time, your mentor’s effectiveness and your own business success will depend on your internalizing the advice, setting clear business objectives, and committing to lifelong learning.
Mentors Provide Vision, Encouragement, Contacts, Strategic Advice and Much More
Another important thing to keep in mind is that while a mentor can definitely turn into a close friend, there are some differences between mentors, friends, and business coaches.
The chief one being that a mentor will tell you what you need to hear whereas friends more often tell you what you want to hear.
· Mentoring is relationship-oriented
Business mentors and business coaches differ in a few ways. While a business coach is more at home providing task-oriented advice in a niche area like marketing effectiveness, a business mentor is more relationship-oriented and focused on addressing a broad range of the issues you might be tackling as a first-time franchisee.
· Mentorship is about your development
Mentors go beyond prepping you for the next project or giving you a crash course on a particular business skill. A great mentor is always thinking about your long-term development, which means seeing beyond the horizon of your current project with an eye towards how your overall business development is coming into form.
· Mentors bring knowledge and industry contacts
Two huge advantages of picking a business mentor that’s personally and professionally compatible with you at this point in your life are industry-specific knowledge and business contacts.
Mentors have spent years studying the industry, so they have a lucid idea of the layout and where you should be headed. A mentor will also have accumulated dozens if not hundreds of contacts to bring your shared vision and business strategy to fruition.
· Mentors give you instant perspective
Having someone to run your ideas by and put them in the context of an overarching vision is a huge reason to develop a mentor relationship. In other words, you’ll get instant perspective on whether to pursue an idea further, leave it for another time, or recalibrate.
There’s sometimes a benefit to just talking out your ideas, but chances are your mentor has considered that very same idea before or has had another client give it a go in the past. Mentors can remove the barriers of doubt and tell you which ideas to chase down full steam.
· Mentorships provide constant encouragement
Getting a business off the ground, even with the training and support that a franchise offers you, can sometimes be stressful. Before you find your groove, you might be thinking that the struggles you’re currently batting will last forever.
Mentors are there to offer you a sounding board, maybe a place to safely vent, and the kind of encouragement that comes with strategic advice to keep you moving in the right direction.
· Mentors promote a work-life balance
Part of a mentor coming at the relationship with experience, contacts, and an overarching vision means that mentors know what works and what doesn’t for someone in your situation. They can see the big picture and show you how to get stability in your life.
In the context of starting a business, a big part of finding stability is striking the right balance between business success and ambition, on the one hand, and family, leisure, health, and hobbies on the other. Both are essential to making you more effective and enjoying the journey that you’re on.