“No man is an island.” This adage rings true in the business world. If you want to run a business from the ground up, entrepreneurship mentoring is the best solution.
- What is Entrepreneurship Mentoring?
- Types of Business Mentoring Programs
- Why is Business Mentoring Important?
- 4 Different Business Mentoring Communication Styles
- Tips for a Better Entrepreneurship Mentoring
What is Entrepreneurship Mentoring?
Entrepreneurship mentoring is a system where an experienced business owner guides a new entrepreneur. The purpose of business mentorship is to help new entrepreneurs run successful businesses. This may also help current business owners make better decisions to improve business operations and revenue. Although it’s not necessary, it’s better to find a business mentor within a relevant niche.
Entrepreneur mentoring helps both mentor and mentee in various ways. For instance, the mentee can work with the mentor for advice and support if necessary. In addition, the mentee will have someone to turn to whenever crucial business decisions are needed.
On the other hand, mentors can also benefit from mentoring because this may enhance their leadership skills. Mentors can choose a different path from business, and this could be a stepping stone for them to achieve great heights. Moreover, if you’re running a business and take in employees as mentees, this will help develop employee satisfaction and improve overall employee engagement.
Entrepreneurship mentoring can be free and informal. You can ask the help of experienced business owners within your family, friends, or personal network. On the flip side, you may also join formal business mentorship programs to ensure regular sessions are scheduled.
Types of Business Mentoring Programs
Mentoring entrepreneurs can be achieved through different styles. Depending on the mentee’s personal and business’s needs, these are the most common business mentoring programs to choose from:
One-on-One Entrepreneurship Mentoring
One-on-one mentoring means one mentor is assigned to one mentee. A senior mentor may oversee a junior mentee to help them choose the best career path. This type can either be formal or informal.
Panel or Committee Entrepreneurship Mentoring
In this type of entrepreneurship mentoring, the mentee is lucky to have around two to five mentors. They schedule a meeting once every four to 12 months. In this circumstance, the mentee can be overloaded with various perspectives and tips from different experienced entrepreneurs.
Functional Entrepreneurship Mentoring
A functional business mentorship program is a unique type of mentoring where mentors are hired for their specific skills. For instance, if mentees need guidance on a particular project, they would find mentors with know-how on the project.
Peer Entrepreneurship Mentoring
This business mentoring setup involves a group of mentees and one mentor. The mentees can be in the same department or level to share as many relevant experiences. Also, this type of entrepreneurship mentoring may be in the form of support groups or informal lunches.
Group Entrepreneurship Mentoring
This type of mentorship system is similar to the peer entrepreneurship mentoring program, with nuances. Instead of one mentor, this type can involve a group of mentors handling a group of mentees. Moreover, the mentees can be in different departments with various ranks and experiences.
Mosaic Entrepreneurship Mentoring
The mosaic entrepreneurship mentoring type is also similar to the group business mentorship setup. The only difference is that the mentees can be of any age, rank, gender, skills, race, and experience. And there is absolutely no hierarchical structure, which makes it an open avenue to collaborate and share experiences.
Why is Business Mentorship Important?
Entrepreneurship mentoring can help leverage tried-and-tested, been-there-done-that methods and help businesses scale. Mentees new to the business landscape will sometimes be caught in a dead-end, with no one to turn to for help. The role of mentors comes in and rescues new entrepreneurs by letting them make informed decisions with confidence.
Here’s why business mentorship is essential for mentees:
- You can seek advice early on in the business. Anyone who’s established a business from the ground up before knows how challenging it is to deal with issues on your own. Having a business mentor means you’ll steer the company in the right direction from the start by using industry-tested methods and business styles.
- You’ll have emotional and mental support throughout your business journey. Your mentors are there to support you, not financially but mentally and emotionally. They are people who understand your frustrations, anxiety, and emotions when running a business. That’s because they’ve been on that road before. This ensures you’re levelheaded when you’re making crucial business decisions.
- Mentors can give you unbiased and objective perspectives. Mentors and mentees may not always have the same advocacies or perspectives both in life and business. However, mentors who have different views let you see things from another angle. Keep an open mind when working with a mentor and experiment on some given tips and methods.
- They help navigate the business to success. Hiring mentors means you’re confident that those people have years of experience. They have navigated a company and tackled every heartache, failure, as well as celebrated every achievement and milestone. Having a business mentor by your side means they’ll help you cruise through the business journey seamlessly.
- Mentors help expand your network. When you’re a new entrepreneur, it can be challenging to connect with like-minded individuals. But every seasoned entrepreneur knows that having an extensive network helps your business one way or another. Mentors can have the power to expand your network once they introduce you to their peers or former colleagues.
4 Different Business Mentoring Communication Styles
Communication holds an integral part in an entrepreneurship mentoring program. Mentors and mentees must find a way to communicate without having to stifle one another’s opinions and feedback. These are the most common business mentorship communication styles prevalent from the start until the end of the mentorship program.
1. Directed Style
This communication style is prevalent during the first stages of the business mentorship program. When new business owners don’t have that much experience in their niche, they’d have to rely on mentors for advice. The directed style makes mentors more dominant in the relationship as they mainly “direct” mentees by sharing their experience, providing methods and resources, and offering solutions to approach situations. Overall, the mentor mostly speaks up, while the mentee listens and takes in information.
2. Co-Directed Style
The co-directed style is what comes after gaining a few insights from the mentor during the initial phase. This is where the mentees gain more confidence and are encouraged to ask more questions to the mentors. In this style, the mentee takes on a more active role by exchanging information.
3. Consulting Style
Once the mentee and mentor develop a more stable relationship, the communication style becomes more of a dialogue. The consulting style means the mentor and mentee encourage a more substantial collaboration. The mentor now acts as the supporting foundation as the mentee becomes more independent.
4. Self-Directed Style
The self-directed style means the mentor’s work is almost done. The mentor will show support whenever the mentee needs them. But as the mentee masters the business methods and operations, mentees make better decisions on their own. Most of the initiatives may come from the mentee at this point, with minimal guidance from the mentor.
Tips for a Better Entrepreneurship Mentoring
Mentors shouldn’t have to do all the work in an entrepreneurship mentoring setup. Without proper communication, mentors won’t know how to help. That said, it’s critical that mentees also participate in a two-way relationship. Here’s how.
From the start of the mentorship program, make sure you tell mentors that you’re open to feedback. Don’t be offended if their styles are different from yours. Or if they give you a piece of advice that deviates from what you believe in. Encourage feedback by:
- Telling mentors you want feedback
- Identifying what areas you want them to comment on
- Use verbal and non-verbal cues to encourage feedback
Don’t hesitate to ask
Running a new business might entail a lot of questions, and that’s normal. Don’t be afraid to ask these questions, no matter how silly you think they might be. Asking questions means you’re open to more learnings. Here’s what you should do:
- Ask appropriate questions
- Ask questions when you’re confused
- Identify issues by asking questions
- Clarify confusing messages
- Don’t interrogate. Ask genuine questions instead.
Always listen to what your mentors have to say. No matter how crazy their idea is, remember they are the ones with experience. Take every piece of advice with a grain of salt. Here’s how to listen to mentors:
- Jot down what your mentors have to say
- Give your undivided attention
- Show verbal or non-verbal cues that you’re listening
- Consider what your mentors say by reflecting on it
One way to reduce misunderstandings is to be more open-minded to what your mentors have to say. Both of you have to agree on a consensus by doing these tips:
- Be open to different views
- Work as a team
Prevent conflicts as much as possible
The last thing you want is for conflicts to arise when you’re still setting up shop. You want to minimize conflicts as much as possible. When conflicts do arise, resolve them by communicating with your mentor honestly. Here’s how to reduce conflicts:
- Think before speaking
- Voice out your concerns
- Be clear with your messages
- Be honest
- Never assume anything. Ask for clarification.
Entrepreneurship mentoring is the best navigator a new entrepreneur could have. Mentors with ample experience will undeniably help you soar your business, provided that you keep an open mind. Whether you’re looking for informal or formal business mentorship programs, never take the whole experience lightly. Instead, take it as an opportunity to lead your business on the same path of success as your mentors.