Why having a mentor could be essential for a new business.

What makes a business successful? There are many variables for this, but at its core a business’s success is predominantly dependent on the quality of the leader behind the steering wheel. While degrees, books, real life experiences, challenges, family, friends, failures and accomplishments all contribute to the making of a great "boss”, there is one essential facet that is often overlooked: A mentor.

In light of Youth Month, we would like to unpack the role a mentor can play for start-ups.

What is a mentor?

A mentor is someone with more business experience than yourself. It is someone with whom you get along, can build a long-term relationship with and someone you respect and admire. A mentor is not a coach, a consultant, an investor or a business partner. A mentor won’t be offering you any physical training or teach you how to run your business.

So, what does a mentor do?

A mentor:

  1. Gives advice - A mentor has been through the ropes and now they can help you learn from their mistakes. A mentor's advice won’t be anything you’ll find in a textbook because it will be hands-on advice that they will dish out at a time when you need it the most.
  2. Acts as a sounding board - Having an impartial person with exceptional business acumen to vent to, is the key to finding solutions to problems. Being able to voice a fear, or concern, and getting valuable and practical advice is the makings of an unstoppable force.
  3. Offers a different perspective - As an outside party your mentor could be the devil’s advocate you need when making decisions related to your SME. Bear in mind that they know how most employees, investors and customers think. In obtaining other perspectives, and thinking decisions through from every possible angle, you’ll improve your emotional intelligence (EQ).
  4. Builds confidence – With the emotional backing of your mentor, whom they respect and trust, mentees can be more confident about their decisions and actions, which is of course great for morale.
  5. Provides networking opportunities - Finally, your mentor could potentially open up doors for you.


Is mentorship a one-way street?

Not at all. Mentorship is very much a two-way street where both the mentor and mentee can benefit from the relationship. Through mentoring, a mentor is honing their own communication skills and reinforcing what they know.
Mentoring is a charitable act and can leave many mentors feeling good about passing it on to future generations. And in many scenarios, mentors gain a lot of inspiration from mentees as well.

Why is mentorship important?

It is no secret that few start-ups make it. In fact, 10% fail within the first year, while 80% of rarely celebrate their 5th birthdays. Mentorship has been proven to increase the success rate of start-ups and small businesses by up to 70%.

In South Africa, we need less people looking for jobs and more people creating them. Successful business owners and entrepreneurs owe it to the next generation to impart wisdom and give start-ups a better chance at success.

If you own a start-up or small business, then look to finding yourself a mentor that will inspire you and help you grow not only your business, but as a business owner as well.

At Domains.co.za, we are passionate about entrepreneurs, start-ups and small businesses. Many of our products and solutions are therefore ideally aligned to make it easier and more cost-effective for these types of businesses to flourish online.

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Good luck!