5 Reasons Young Entrepreneurs Must Seek Mentorship

Entrepreneurship, while an exciting journey is terrifying. It can be lonely, it can be depressing, but it can also be satisfying. When young entrepreneurs are stuck in their ways or need expert advice on how to overcome challenges, it is expected that they will reach out to more experienced entrepreneurs, often within the same field.
Here are a few examples of famous mentor-mentee relationships across the globe. 

Benjamin Graham and Warren Buffett

Benjamin Graham, said to be the “father of value investing,” is known to be Warren Buffett’s mentor. Graham’s book “The Intelligent Investor” became Buffett’s go-to written text for investing. The knowledge lodged between the covers of the book helped Buffet build a rather successful investment portfolio, as has been stated by Buffet himself.

Maya Angelou and Oprah Winfrey:

Maya Angelou, a famous poet and author, was Oprah Winfrey’s mentor. Oprah Winfrey is a media mogul and she has talked about how invaluable advice from Maya Angelou was to her in defining her career. 

Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerberg:

Steve Jobs, co-founder of Apple Inc., was of immense support to Mark
Zuckerberg, in starting and developing Facebook. Jobs gave Zuckerberg good tips and ideas
in the early days of Facebook. Zuckerberg has not shied away from how helpful Jobs has been to him in his career.
As a new business owner, have you considered getting mentorship in your entrepreneurial journey? Have you thought about this because you realise a mentor can provide valuable experience, knowledge, guidance, and support for the growth of your business?
It must, however, be stated that mentors have to be identified with tact. Not every successful entrepreneur can be your mentor. And this is true for a great number of reasons. 

Thoughts of Ghanaian Entrepreneurs and Community Leaders on Mentorship

Michael Ekow Dawson is a travel photographer and a filmmaker. When he spoke to techpreneurinsider, he said, “I think it’s very important for entrepreneurs to actively seek mentorship, as mentors can help mentees avoid years of redundant mistakes, which will or can significantly accelerate their growth and success.”

Ato Ulzen Appiah, Director of the GhanaThink Foundation, also said, “We all know there is a lack of funding for entrepreneurs in Africa. I think the bigger problem is a lack of mentorship. Mentorship would train, teach, and coach entrepreneurs on how to make money, and position themselves to find money or be funded. Mentorship would ensure entrepreneurs do not repeat mistakes, use best practices, and scale well. It would also help them unlearn and relearn. How to even fail fast and securely to learn faster can also be down to mentorship.”

Ato’s organisation, the GhanaThink Foundation, runs BarCamp. BarCamps are free networking and mentorship programmes run across the country. BarCamps promote active participation, inclusivity, and the spirit of learning and sharing among participants. [See more here].
Urbanus W. Azupogo, Director, Facio Innovations Technology Limited, who spoke to techpreneurinsider, also stated, “Throughout my own entrepreneurial journey, navigating both storms and calms, it became evident that entrepreneurship is a voyage through uncharted waters. A mentor serves as the guiding star, illuminating pitfalls and potential and turning challenges into lessons. Their wisdom ensured that every step, even the missteps, forged the path to today’s success.”

Urbanus is an experienced business consultant who specialises in guiding and empowering individuals to achieve their entrepreneurial aspirations.

Benefits of having a mentor in entrepreneurship

Mentorship serves as a direct link for a mentee to gain valuable insights and knowledge from someone who has already been through the ups and downs of starting and growing a business. Here are a few more benefits:
  • An advisory board: Mentors can offer objective perspectives and offer advice on tough business decisions for which a new entrepreneur may be at a loss. 
  • Opportunities for Networking: Mentors, who are well-established entrepreneurs themselves, have all the connections and contacts to get things done with very little hustle. As such, mentors can introduce their mentees to the right people and get things done rather easily. 
  • Growth: Mentors can help the mentees develop important skills such as leadership, communication, and problem-solving that are vital to the growth of businesses. 
  • Shying away from common mistakes: Mentors share their experiences, lessons, and challenges. This knowledge can help mentees avoid repeating the mistakes and lead to a smooth takeoff in their new enterprises. 
  • Resources: Mentors can provide access to resources such as funding, market research, and business planning tools.

Finding the right mentor

If you are convinced by the above that you need a mentor, the next thing to consider is finding the best mentor for you and your business. Finding the right mentor is a game changer, again, for your business and your life as an entrepreneur. Here’s how to go about it. 
  • Define your goals: What exactly do you want to achieve through a mentorship relationship? What business are you running and which specific areas do you need mentorship in? Once you are able to clearly define what you need, ergo, the problem, it is easier to tilt towards specific mentors who are helpful to your cause. 
  • Seek experience: When considering mentors, seek those who have experienced, have faced similar challenges to your and preferably, are in the same field as you are. It is easier for them to relate to your challenges and provide very good insights.
  • Network: Attend industry events, join professional organisations, and connect with other entrepreneurs. These connections can lead to potential mentorship opportunities.
  • Online resources: In the new digital world, there are many resources that have become available online. There are some mentorship programmes, paid-for and free, that are available online. 
  • Referrals: Once you have a network, it is important to tap into this network, ask valid questions, seek recommendations on who can mentor you and guide you toward achieving success through your entrepreneurship journey.
Finding the right mentor can be a bit difficult, but once it is done right, the value of a proper mentor cannot be quantified.

Responsibilities of mentor and mentee 

If a mentorship relationship is to be considered successful, there needs to be serious effort and commitment from both the mentor and the mentee. If a relationship is lopsided, it most likely will not work and definitely cannot be considered successful. 
What, then, are the responsibilities of mentors and mentees? Well, here are a few.
Mentors are to provide guidance and support, share their expertise, listen to the concerns of mentees, offer appropriate feedback, be a role model, and remain committed to the success of their mentees.
On the other hand, mentees are expected to be open and receptive to the counsel of mentors, take initiative and not always wait for mentors, be honest, and most importantly, show appreciation.
By working together and committing to the relationship, mentors and mentees can achieve mutually beneficial outcomes and help each other grow and succeed.

Conclusion

J Lorren Norris’ famous quote totally encapsulates the need for mentorship. “If you cannot see where you are going, ask someone who has been there before.” Properly structured mentor-mentee relationships, for many young entrepreneurs could be the difference between succeeding and failing. 

It does not matter whether you are an entrepreneur seeking a mentor or a successful entrepreneur looking to give back, mentorship can be a valuable experience for all involved.

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