Life is an ongoing learning experience, with plenty of adventure along the way, and more than a little bit of trial and error, too.
It’s impossible to ever completely predict the road ahead with perfect accuracy or to account for every variable you’re likely to encounter in life. But, in many cases – and in the case of new entrepreneurs in particular – you can illuminate the path to a surprising degree by seeking out mentorship on the way.
The importance of mentors is often spoken about by successful figures in business, as well as by successful commentators on productivity and self-improvement. And many of them also make the point that, especially today, “mentors” don’t even have to be people we meet up with face-to-face. You could just as easily get some “mentorship” by reading good books on your industry, by keeping up with professional blogs such as Kris Duggan’s blog, and by following e-courses.
Here are a few reasons why you really should seek out mentors when starting out as an entrepreneur.
Because it’s really difficult (and futile) to try and reinvent the wheel
As human beings, we naturally build on the foundations that we inherit, and that’s how all technology and culture works and has worked since time immemorial.
As the old quote goes “if we are great, it is because we stand on the shoulders of giants.”
The reality is, it’s really difficult and stressful to try and reinvent the wheel. And it’s completely futile, too, because it’s already been done.
In business, an almost inconceivable number of people have spent an almost inconceivable amount of money, and an almost inconceivable amount of time, refining and testing out different strategies, approaches, and systems.
Of course, you should certainly be open-minded to innovation, and shouldn’t assume that everything is “set in stone.” But you should take advantage of the foundations that already exist, and build on them instead of trying to restart from the ground up.
Because your time and money are precious, and you’ll waste both if you don’t have a clear sense of direction
One of the primary reasons to seek out mentors on your entrepreneurial journey is because they can save you from the potentially fatal error of wasting your time and your money.
In business, the finances that you have available to invest are a major factor in your success, and that’s just the way it is. However, it’s important to realize that your time is no less an essential resource – in fact, it may be more essential since you can’t hoard it, or regain it when it’s lost.
As the popular book, “The One Thing” argues, our ability to be successful in any complex endeavor is largely down to our ability to use our time effectively, and focus in any given moment on the most important tasks and goals.
But if you don’t have any mentors to guide you, there is no clear path of progression or an obvious direction to head in. Instead, all possibilities – even the vaguest – seem viable, and you can easily spend years spinning your wheels without making any tangible progress.
Because success leaves clues
The fundamental reason why mentors exist, and why people seek them out, is because “success leaves clues.”
When other people have achieved the things you want to achieve in your professional life, their particular strategies and paths may have been quite different from yours. But look carefully, and you’re bound to see that there are certain striking similarities in certain areas.
Mentors can help to point out those clues to you, so that you’re able to take the right lessons from them, and move forward effectively.
A mentor can help you to succeed either by showing you how they succeeded themselves or by recording and pointing out how others have succeeded before.
Because anything that can give you the edge over the competition is precious
Let’s say, hypothetically, that you don’t strictly “need” a mentor in order to get started with your entrepreneurial business venture.
Okay. But would seeking out the services of a mentor, or mentors, give you any kind of an edge over the competition?
In the majority of cases, the answer is going to be “yes,” and that’s a big deal. Because, in business, people will often go to extraordinary lengths to get even the smallest competitive advantage. So, why would you turn a competitive advantage down at the very onset of your career?