Ideas

30 Entrepreneurs Explain the Role of a Mentor in Their Business

Entrepreneurship and mentorships are often seen as going hand-in-hand. Business mentors are as old as the concept of entrepreneurs themselves. From Oprah and Maya Angelou to Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerberg, famous mentorships have a powerful impact on the lives of entrepreneurs. Having a strong figure in your life to help steady you through the currents of growing your business can be a lifesaver. While a mentor doesn’t have to be someone in the limelight, it’s important to find someone who’ll help you bring a change and the impact you desire.

We asked entrepreneurs and business owners about the role of a mentor in their business and here are the responses.

#1- Offers counsel

Photo Credit: Allan Borch

During the early days of my digital marketing business, my mentor offered counsel and functioned as my sounding board. This former boss of mine listened and challenged my thinking. He let me develop my own ideas and arrive at my own solutions to my business problems at a much faster rate than if I did so alone with no one to guide me. 

Thanks to Allan Borch, Dotcom Dollar!


#2- Provides guidance

Photo Credit: Harriet Chan

A mentor is essential in a business for guidance. More often than not, the leaders of companies lack guidance since everyone in the company looks up to them. Having a mentor ensures the guide can also be guided. 

Thanks to Harriet Chan, CocoFinder!


#3- Helps employees develop skills

Photo Credit: Ravi Parikh

We practice career pathing in our company and mentorship helps ensure that our employees are on the right track to the next step in their path. Our career path is also not solidified as one path, rather it is more individual and varied. So, mentorship helps each individual employee develop their personal skills and examine how to advance in the direction they want to go. 

Thanks to Ravi Parikh, RoverPass!


#4- Identifies blind spots

Photo Credit: James Green

One simple but crucial role that a mentor fills is to identify blind spots. We all have them. We all generally want to ignore them. Mentors point out the blind spots and force us to correct what needs to be corrected. After all, a mentor's job is to share insights they've learned on their journey through the business world and to help entrepreneurs grow and develop in their business. Part of growing and developing your business is growing and developing yourself. Fixing your blind spots is a big step toward developing yourself. 

Thanks to James Green, Build a Head! 


#5- Provides insight

Photo Credit: Greg Findley

hired a hypnotherapist to help me apply mindfulness practices to my creative business. It's a left-field choice but the results have been fantastic. She has helped me to overcome growth limiting stories that had been running on auto play in the back of mind, unchallenged. With so many decisions being led by our emotions, I think finding someone with the skillset to challenge that side of your thinking can be a revelation. She has provided unique insight–a change to my perspective and behaviours in how I run the business for the long-term. 

Thanks to Greg Findley, Mantra Design!


#6- Helps to achieve vision

Photo Credit: Devon Fata

I'm someone who has always had my own vision for my business. I started my career working for a large design company before going freelance and eventually expanding that into my own business. I'm not saying I got here all by myself. I had plenty of help from plenty of people and I'm grateful. But I always knew what I wanted to be doing and took the initiative to learn the skills I needed to get there. 

Thanks to Devon Fata, Pixoul!


#7- Provides motivation

Photo Credit: Daivat Dholakia

I have a mentor that has been working with me for many years now. And while he doesn’t technically work for the rest of my business, I feel like he does through me. All of the advice and education he has provided me over the years has allowed me to grow as a professional and really hone into my unique skills. He also is constantly pushing me and making sure that I don’t become complacent, which keeps my motivation for working for my business really high. 

Thanks to Daivat Dholakia, Essenvia!


#8- Provides encouragement

Photo Credit: Jessica Hutton

A wise man once told me, that when it comes to making key decisions, there are two paths one can take: the path of a mentor who has gone before you and achieved the level of success you seek or the path ridden with mistakes, which could lead to success, but it’s very hard-won and you can’t always bank on it. After bumping my head a lot by taking the wrong path, I’ve learned the immeasurable value of mentorship and embracing mentors from every walk of life. That’s why when it comes to my business, I’ve adopted two kinds of mentors: passive and active. The passives don’t know they mentor me. Instead, I participate in their programs, buy their products, and consume their content to absorb their genius and become a better person and CEO. The active are people I work with directly. These are my coaches and consultants who encourage, educate, and equip me to thrive in life and business. Both are invaluable, and I encourage all people, not just CEOs, to find both kinds, and never stop learning. 

Thanks to Jessica Hutton, Visionary Blueprints!


#9- Builds leadership skills

Photo Credit: Alex Wan

Over the years, I have worked with different mentors to help me grow as a leader as well as help my business grow. For that, mentors have played different roles in my business. For instance, when I was starting my business, I wasn’t well-informed about the prevailing market atmosphere and the nature of the product I wanted to launch. Therefore, I worked with a mentor who helped me better understand the do’s and don’ts all round. Years later, when my business was upscaling, I started hiring talent to work for my brand. I realized that I needed to have some leadership skills to effectively lead my team. Therefore, I worked with another mentor who shaped me into the leader I am today. As my business evolves, I look forward to working with more mentors.

Thanks to Alex Wan, Vinpit!


#10- Gives confidence

Photo Credit: Volodymyr Barabakh

One of the hardest parts of starting out as an entrepreneur is that you do not have the confidence to take action with true conviction. This leads to procrastination and, at worst, paralysis. Having guidance from a mentor who has achieved what you want to achieve can free you from self-doubt and allow you to turn off and just do. Just a small removal of self-doubt can completely transform your ability to grind through work, and a mentor can give you that edge. 

Thanks to Volodymyr Barabakh, Fortress Home


#11- Transfers knowledge

Photo Credit: Yurii Brown

Turning to a mentor can have various clear benefits for entrepreneurs, the main one being the transfer of knowledge in an effective way. My business mentor answered specific questions I had by sharing their knowledge and contacts harvested through their years of experience. A restaurateur, she also helped me grow and expand my business by providing much-needed guidance in understanding the process one must go through as a business owner in the food industry. 

Thanks to Yurii Brown, Coffee Geek Lab!


#12- Offers advice and constructive criticism

Photo Credit: Leigh McAlpin

A mentor is someone you can rely on for guidance who knows the industry and can provide perspective. This person can see beyond what you see and spot your blind spots, believing their focus lies more on removing obstacles than training. The mentor in our company is more of a senior member with many years of experience. He can see the big picture and help us when we get stuck on something. We can talk to him about any concerns we may have, and he is always happy to give advice and share his knowledge and experiences and isn't afraid to provide constructive criticism either. 

Thanks to Leigh McAlpin, Classic Architectural Group


#13- Nurtures talents

Photo Credit: Jeremy Yamaguchi

As the owner and CEO of my own small business, I have taken up the role of mentor for a lot of my employees. When we bring a new member in our team, I like to see what I can do to help them achieve their professional goals. I have a mentor of my own who has been helping me for years now. So, being on the other side of that fence is really unique and life-giving. I find that, even as the mentor, I learn a lot from those I am mentoring, turning me into a better professional. 

Thanks to Jeremy Yamaguchi, Lawn Love


#14- Prevents costly mistakes

Photo Credit: Ryne Lambert

Mentors have played a vital role in our business in the last three and a half years. We have a handful of trusted mentors we utilize sort of like an advisory board. Each of them provides subject-matter expertise in a specific area of our business. Our first mentors, who we still use, were critical in helping our business get off the ground. Currently, we utilize our group of mentors to discuss ideas or difficult scenarios, to help us think outside the box or for accountability. Our mentors have accelerated our business and prevented us from making costly mistakes. 

Thanks to Ryne Lambert, Sell My House In Wisconsin


#15- Hones skills 

Photo Credit: Amit Raj

My mentor introduced me to this curious thing called link building. Our relationship has benefited me in infinite ways, but the prominent area is teaching me how to really speak up and be heard and how to receive feedback in vital areas, such as communications, technical abilities, and leadership skills. My mentor has shared his passion, knowledge, advice, and ultimately helped my business grow.  

Thanks to Amit Raj, The Links Guy


#16- Helps clarify and set SMART goals

Photo Credit: Stewart McGrenary

My mentor has been key when it comes to helping me clarify and set SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-sensitive) goals. Without this direction, my plans would not have kept me on track to achieving my ultimate end purpose. He has also given me the extra motivation needed when things get tough because he has walked in my shoes and we have built trust together.  

Thanks to Stewart McGrenary, Freedom Mobiles


#17- Provides valuable insights and advice

Photo Credit: Erin Nesci

My mentor has been incredibly valuable with insights and advice. She is further along on her entrepreneurial journey than I am. So, being able to learn from her experiences, including her successes and her stumbles, has been invaluable. I am extremely grateful to her because, without her guidance, my business would not be where it is today. 

Thanks to Erin Nesci, Erin Nesci Coaching


#18- Fast-tracks success

Photo Credit: Saskia Ketz

My mentor is not just a kick-ass woman but she has given me advice that has fast-tracked my business. Things that could have taken me decades to learn myself have been revealed to me in such a way that I could go from zero to hero in just months! I can never thank her enough for making such an impact on my entrepreneurship. She has been the one holding the torch when I was stumbling around wondering if I had taken the right path, not leading the way but allowing me to see the different choices ahead. 

Thanks to Saskia Ketz, Mojomox


#19- Gives insight

Photo Credit: Melanie Peterson

Our mentor plays a huge role in our business. He gives us insight on what we are doing well and encourages us to improve in every aspect of the business. Whenever we hit a slump within the business and start to feel down about it, our mentor always comes to our aid. He plays a very big and impactful role in our business. We do not know where we would be without his knowledge and wisdom. Having a good mentor is important for any business because all businesses need that push that a mentor can give them. 

Thanks to Melanie Peterson, Consumer Gravity


#20- Vets ideas

Photo Credit: Alina Clark

In business, as in life, one needs a person who is away from the business to tell you whether you're going down the right path. Trying to wrestle the business world on your own is daunting. Also, the chances of going wrong are quite high. You need not only a sounding board but also a person who has been through it all to guide you. Having a mentor is the same thing as having a sounding board for new ideas, and business processes. A business mentor pretty much vets my ideas and gives me the way forward.

Thanks to Alina Clark, CocoDoc


#21- Helps to focus

Photo Credit: Chris Campbell

Mentors help you focus on the bigger picture at stake. They take you out of the specific problem you're experiencing and broaden your vision. Through their experience in business, they've probably traveled the same road you have and lived through it. The best advice I have been given by a mentor is that things are as never bad as you think they are. This was particularly useful this past year during the pandemic. It calmed me when everything was uncertain and helped me focus on the future, next year and beyond. It challenged me to come up with innovative ideas that could be implemented now and that would improve my business in the future. 

Thanks to Chris Campbell, Review Trackers!


#22- Establishes required limits

Photo Credit: Brian Paonessa

Mentors are disciplinarians who establish required limits that we cannot set for ourselves. This is one of the roles that mentors perform in your company. My mentor provided me with a lot of fierce love. He did this because he recognized that becoming an entrepreneur may be difficult regarding self-discipline and drive. He assumed the father's role to instill excellent work habits in me and set limits for me to work within. This reinforced my work ethic, sharpened my concentration (as I had been missing some crucial details), and highlighted my goals in a manner that I couldn't have done on my own. 

Thanks to Brian Paonessa, Fit Functional Nurses


#23- Boosts personal and professional development

Photo Credit: Mike Chappell

Mentors discover methods to boost our personal and professional development, which is one function they play in your company. Mentoring someone requires striking a careful balance between developing them in your image and allowing them to create themselves. My mentor would often ask me to consider things and then return with replies later. He'd also set other objectives for me and then turn me to see if I could achieve them on my own, all the while keeping an eye on how these initiatives aided my development from afar. He then took the time to sit down and tell me what he'd seen about me throughout the project, what he believed was worth preserving and what he'd chuck out right away. He also emphasized character and morals, which aided in my personal development and leadership ability.

Thanks to Mike Chappell, FormsPal!


#24- Provides support

Photo Credit: Bryan Carter

Mentors play an essential part in your company since they provide support and help us stay motivated. A mentor is someone who enables you to realize the hope that exists inside you. They are always there for you, offering emotional support and a healthy dose of encouragement. There were moments when I might have quickly caved in emotionally or given up on the company if I hadn't had a mentor. But I had a mentor and each one didn't let me give up; instead, they encouraged and guided me, giving me hope and confidence that I could do whatever was expected of me. 

Thanks to Bryan Carter, ResumeBuilderPro!


#25- Introduces new business opportunities

Photo Credit: Sally Stevens

Your mentors introduce you to new business opportunities which you never thought of! Mentors have a gifted ability to spot an opportunity that normal people would never even bother to think about. Our security-based business was running smoothly but, with the recent rise in fraudulent emails, my mentor suggested to me an idea of developing email detection software and selling it to businesses. In over six months, my mentor helped me develop a passive way of earning revenue by detecting the opportunity in the market.

Thanks to Sally Stevens, Fast People Search!


#26- Offers a fresh, unbiased pair of eyes

Photo Credit: Craig Hewitt

My mentor understands all the business challenges and opportunities I might be facing at any given moment. I can count on the fact that whatever a situation I’m currently in, my mentor has been there and done it. My mentor offers a fresh, unbiased pair of eyes on my business growth and the wisdom to guide me to accomplish my objectives. 

Thanks to Craig Hewitt, Castos


#27- Gives advice

Photo Credit: Logan Mallory

My mentor is there when I need a person to run ideas by, brainstorm and workshop through a problem, and to impart wisdom from their years of experience. They make me feel I can accomplish anything, and their advice is both practical and encouraging. I credit a lot of my success to working with some fantastic mentors over the years, and I can confidently say that I’m a better businessperson because my mentor takes the time to coach and challenge me. 

Thanks to Logan Mallory, Motivosity


#28- Helps in networking

Photo Credit: Michelle Ebbin

More than an adviser, I was fortunate enough to find a wise and influential mentor who could vouch for my business and help in network building. We attend socials, seminars and conferences together with our mentor. Through him, we get to expand our connections with different organizations to promote the business casually. Likewise, our mentor introduced us to key individuals who served as senior decision makers, such as partners, directors and managers. A mentor typically possesses a wealth of industry experience or a high-level career and his connections can be vital for business development. 

Thanks to Michelle Ebbin, JettProof


#29- Builds confidence

Photo Credit: Joel Phillips

Starting your venture from scratch is quite a challenge. It takes a lot of commitment, self-encouragement and confidence to do so. However, there are times and challenges when you lose hope and see no way out. This is where a mentor comes in for me. A mentor can help revive self-belief and bring that confidence back that got me started in the first place. Confidence is the foremost thing to succeed as a businessman and my mentor will always be the strongest pillar holding up that aspect for me. 

Thanks to Joel Phillips, Home Guide Corner


#30- Provides guidance and direction 

Photo Credit: Greg Rozdeba

My business mentor's primary responsibility is to listen, engage and question my thinking. This assists me in developing my ideas and arriving at my answers to company problems far more quickly than I could have on my own. My mentor helps me establish realistic and achievable SMART goals, which help me not just for my professional but also for personal development. These goals give me a sense of direction and motivate me to do better every day. He breaks down activities into smaller chunks to achieve a bigger purpose, such as developing certain skills or meeting specific deadlines. Moreover, my mentor is an excellent source of inspiration and encouragement for me. He recognizes and displays my strengths in such a way that no one else can. His self-assurance makes me less likely to abandon my goals and ambitions. 

Thanks to Greg Rozdeba, Dundas Life!


What’s the role of a mentor in your business? Tell us in the comments below. Don’t forget to join our #IamCEO Community.

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