5 Signs You Need a Mentor

Many famous and rich entrepreneurs have boosted their success with mentors. Take billionaire entrepreneur Richard Branson who dropped out of school at the age of 16 and started his first business with a £300 loan from his mother. He is now sending aircrafts hurtling into space with his most recent project Virgin Galaxy. So how did this British born entrepreneur reach space-billionaire status? With the help of a mentor. He explains in the British newspaper The Sun: “It's always good to have a helping hand at the start. I wouldn't have got anywhere in the airline industry without the mentorship of (British airline entrepreneur) Sir Freddie Laker.”

Have you been thinking about getting a mentor? Here are five signs that you may need one:

1. You Feel Confused

Like life, a small business can throw a lot of unexpected variables at you. And sometimes you may be stumped to find a solution. There are two types of uncertainties that can occur. One is an uncertainty that you can plan for such as employees quitting. The other is what Nassim Nicholas Taleb, Professor of Risk Engineering at New York University's Polytechnic Institute, calls a “black swan” uncertainty. This is an unpredictable uncertainty that seems to fly at you from out of nowhere, such as your office being struck by a tornado. A mentor can help guide you through these storms, showing you a new perspective to problems and help you reach effective solutions.   

2. You Feel Alone

If you have quit a nine-to-five job to start your small business, you may find it difficult to talk about your entrepreneurial journey with others who are not in the same boat as you. Either you feel others aren’t able to relate with you, or perhaps you don’t feel comfortable talking about your ideas as you would like to keep them private. With a mentor you can talk to a person you trust who has been through the ups and downs of starting a small business.

3. You Want to Take an Easier Road

According to Bloomberg, eight out of ten entrepreneurs who start businesses fail within the first 18 months. Motivational speaker and life coach Anthony Robbins recommends modeling yourself on people you want to be like: “You can learn by experience, by trial and error – or you can speed up the process immeasurably by learning how to model.” So if you want to prosper in business and take the easier road, model yourself on the 20 percent of people who have succeeded. 

4. You Find it Difficult to Set Goals and Achieve Them

Do you procrastinate? According to Gretchen Rubin, author of The Happiness Project, people adopt habits in different ways. If you are more likely to be motivated by ‘outer’ rules set by other people, rather than ‘inner’ rules set by yourself, having a mentor will help you keep your projects on track as you will likely complete your goals to show your mentor you are true to your word.

5. Your Network Isn’t Benefiting You 

American entrepreneur and motivational speaker Jim Rohn coined the famous quote: “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with”. If your current network consists of people who aren’t business owners or entrepreneurs, you may find it difficult to share knowledge or build contacts in your field. A mentor may offer to introduce you to his or her contacts which will help you build a solid foundation for creating business opportunities, increasing your profile and helping other people similar to yourself.