Whether you already run a business or you want to diversify your income by starting a side project, investing in real estate, or another venture, having an experienced mentor who’s been through the same challenges can be extremely valuable.
The expert information you receive from a mentor could mean the difference between success or failure. However, there are many different types of mentors you can find who will be more (or less) helpful depending on the stage your business is in and the obstacle you’re facing.
For example, sometimes you’ll find yourself in a creative rut and in need of inspiration from someone who can weigh-in with a new perspective. In this situation, you probably wouldn’t turn to a mentor who is a financial advisor to help generate new campaign ideas to pitch your client.
"No matter how much experience you have at your craft, there’s always someone who’s been around the block more times, worked with bigger clients or made a niche for themselves within your industry."
These are the five types of mentors you should surround yourself with today, enlisting each of them based upon the specific knowledge you seek.
1. The creative
Regardless of your line of work, it’s natural for your creativity to wax and wane. On days you feel uninspired, it helps to get an outside opinion from another creative individual who acts as your mentor.
Find the right creative mentor for your business by examining the work of others in your industry whom you respect. Even if the candidates could be viewed as competitors, these relationships are almost always mutually beneficial. The mentor stands to benefit from building relationships with up-and-coming professionals in their fields, too.
2. The coach
This mentor can help you set goals, manage deadlines and keep you accountable for hitting your benchmarks. Whether you need help focusing on the big picture or connecting the dots on the day-to-day, having a more hands-on mentor with whom you meet weekly can make a huge difference to your bottom line. Find a coach who understands your type of work and can help you set realistic goals, manage expectations and keep your progress moving each week by joining a professional society for people in your industry.
3. The finance guru
This is your numbers person. They’re experienced at managing finances, know how to maintain healthy books and can help you take advantage of the right funding channels for your business. Of all five mentors, the finance guru is most likely to come in the form of a paid relationship —she or he can be your investor, accountant, financial advisor, bookkeeper or anyone else who is invested in helping you keep your business financially sound.
4. The specialist
No matter how much experience you have at your craft, there’s always someone who’s been around the block more times, worked with bigger clients or made a niche for themselves within your industry. Beyond just being able to provide you with good advice, a specialist mentor can also help you through complicated business challenges that are unique to your line of work. If you’re experiencing a new business dry spell, a specialist in your field can offer feedback on your pitches or make introductions to potential clients.
5. The generalist
This mentor isn’t necessarily in the same line of work as you but they’ve had a lot of experience running a successful business. They’re been through the ups and downs of growing a company, and they’ll be most impactful once you’re spending more time hiring employees, managing them and focusing on the larger picture of where your business is going. This is your strategic advisor who can offer an outside opinion on the more complex business decisions that will come your way as you grow.
No matter what business challenge you encounter, having these five mentors on-hand can give you the tools and confidence to solve almost any problem and propel you to success.
This communication is for informational purposes only; it is not legal, tax or accounting advice; and is not an offer to sell, buy or procure insurance.
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