The Importance of Mentoring for New Entrepreneurs

Becoming a successful entrepreneur takes hard work and perseverance. But you also need a little help along the way. That’s why it’s important to consider a mentor.

Mentors have critical knowledge about how the business world works. In a mentoring relationship, a seasoned business owner meets regularly with a new or potential entrepreneur one-on-one to give advice and boost morale.

One of the biggest benefits of having a business mentor is having a sounding board to ask questions and seek out knowledgeable advice. New entrepreneurs are more likely to seek advice from friends and family. While some of that advice can be sound, a mentor can help you sort out more complicated business matters that your friends or family would not know how to resolve.

Mentors can also help you look at problems and situations from perspectives that you would not have thought of on your own. For example, as a new business owner, you may have trouble looking at your business through the perspective of a customer, or a potential investor. Your mentor, who has dealt with these situations before, can help you understand different viewpoints.

Unlike advisors and consultants, who care only about a business’s outlook, mentors will help you develop skills related to your specific venture. For instance, my mentor, the late George Fontanills, was one of the best options traders in the world and I met him at a live seminar. He taught me a lot about trading and what it takes to be successful. He helped me understand that success is more than having good strategies and formulas. He guided me to truly understand the importance to find a trading style that suits your personality.

George observed my trading style, including the mistakes I was making, and decided that swing trading was the best fit for me. He understood that I don’t have the patience for trading longer term, so a short- or medium-term time frame works best. He also understood that I loved to travel and needed some flexibility, so day-trading would not work either.

Many years later, I’ve mastered swing trading. I am in my trades for a few days to a couple of months, giving me enough time for the stock, commodity, or currency to move some distance so that I can capture meaningful profits. And that’s all thanks to George, who also taught me valuable risk management skills and how to protect my trading capital.

Having the right mentor, in particular someone who plays to your strengths, can help you achieve success at a much faster and sustainable pace. It’s why I recommend that you seek out your own mentor. Find someone who is approachable and willing to answer questions. If your would-be mentor is also inspirational, that’s a great bonus. When you’ve found someone to fit the bill, be candid about your past experience, including mistakes you’ve made. Mentoring is a two-way relationship and you must be open and honest for it to work.