Noozhawk’s note: First in a series addressing challenges affecting small businesses written by experienced volunteers with the Santa Barbara Chapter of SCORE, the national resource arm of the SBA that offers free confidential business mentoring. This article is written by Bob Vitamante, the chapter’s chairman.
As a business owner, I know that I definitely do not need a mentor because:
» My business is running perfectly and I am achieving my vision, mission and objectives.
» My business can run and grow smoothly without me since my staff is completely aligned on our goals.
» I have a totally balanced, stress-free life, and I have the right amount of time to spend with my family and develop myself personally, professionally and financially.
» I have complete trust in my advisers, coaches and mastermind groups, and they enable me to cut through business problems easily at a reasonable cost.?
» We love problems since they provide exciting opportunities for growth and development.?
?Now, if the above describes you, Bravo! If it doesn’t (since few achieve such nirvana), don’t give up — there is hope! Read on!
?Businesses, for most owners and managers, can be a very lonely place, a scary place even. You don’t know who to trust, changes happen daily, and most are not viewed as “good.” There are only challenges, challenges and more challenges. If it’s not a customer, it is a vendor, or a staff member, or whatever. ... Actually, change is all there is, and anytime there is change, we typically call it a “problem.” And past solutions seldom seem to fully address the “new issue.”
?Business owners, by and large, are a hardy lot. They’re tough, entrepreneurial and tend to “go it alone.” They may not be egoic per se, but they believe in themselves — strongly. In fact, being so self-sufficient, they rarely share their true fears and concerns with others — not their staff, their professional advisers, their families or anyone. Much of this resistance is due to fear that there is no one to trust, that it’s “not leader-like” to acknowledge’ that you don’t have all the answers, that everyone else has a self interest affecting their advice, etc. That’s a tough place to be.
What’s an owner to do?? ?Well, there is a solution, and it’s one that simply acknowledges that no one can know everything. Find a mentor. What is a mentor? Simply stated ,a mentor is someone who has experience well beyond your own, is objective and neutral, has no financial interest in your decision, and whose interest is only to help. They may not personally fix the problem, but they will help direct you in approaches to resolving it.
?Where do you find such godsends? Easy: Ask for one. Look for accomplished senior business leaders in your industry, or those who have the skills you most need, and then simply ask them. Highly successful business people are often extremely willing — and even flattered — to be asked to help another business owner. They know the benefits of just “giving back” to help another human being.
Another way to find a mentor is to contact SCORE, a volunteer association of highly experienced local entrepreneurs and businesspeople with a broad range of skills sets. SCORE mentors provide free confidential mentoring to its clients. It’s that simple. Click here to learn more about SCORE.
??Of course, it’s my hope that most readers fall into the category of “not needing a mentor” since everything is running perfectly. ?