I wrote an article in October 2014 on the subject of “True Mentorship is non-negotiable for young aspiring entrepreneurs” and I was overwhelmed by the viewership.
So before I proceed let me take this opportunity to thank everyone for your support, also the many messages and questions received. The outcome for me was fulfilling because many young entrepreneurs noticed this article and asked the right questions.But the disturbing factor is that of those that were about to embark on their new business venture, just simply took the plunge after admitting to me that they had no business experience, most of whom were transitioning from the corporate world into entrepreneurship.
It sincerely baffles me that young entrepreneurs don’t have a clue that their role models have actually invested in sound mentorship for many years, some after making huge mistakes and failing abysmally, then realized they need that mentorship to ensure their future success.
My questions to young entrepreneurs are:
1. If you have never been in business, why is mentorship offered to you perceived to be a plague that you refrain from reviewing and rather opt to venture into your new business without equipping yourself with the knowledge, experience, tools and techniques that would save you years of grief?
2. Why would you opt to take advice from inexperienced friends, colleagues, associates and others who have never walked this path? What invaluable advice could they give you?
3. Why are you not invaluable to yourself that you don’t deserve to invest in yourself first and then embark on your journey?
a). Where did you find a medical Doctor just open a practice and start consulting with patients without being medically trained?
b). Where can you find an A-Grade athlete out-perform everyone else without a mentor?
c). Where can you find one of the most successful entrepreneurs in the world who has never invested in a mentor?
So why are you prepared to reinvent the entrepreneur wheel that would take years off your life, including possible failure, when you could have opted for the shortcut by securing a mentor?
If you are currently employed within a corporate environment and have sacrificed to build a capital for your new venture, then why would you risk taking the plunge without professional planning and lose it all?
Hypothesis you take the plunge with no training and struggle to generate an income and if this is the case, here is what you face:
a. No fixed salary that is credited to your account on a specific date.
b. No way of securing bank finance as you are now self-employed, you are no longer employed by a ‘listed company’.
c. No money to pay your staff and operational costs.
d. No money to pay your bills – Rent, telephone, mobile and other sustenance bills.
e. No money to support your family.
f. Recurring business liabilities that will get out of control if you cannot curb it.
So, there are many facets to consider when you just jump right in boots and all without proper professional planning of:
1. What is your 12month up to 3 year budget?
2. How long before you break-even in your business?
3. When does profitability kick in?
4. Do you have sufficient funding to sustain your business up to this point and for how long?
5. Do you have a back-up plan if you run out of funds?
6. Have you completed your marketing and strategic planning?
7. Are your plans realistic and doable?
Oh, there are so many questions and I continue to write articles on this subject because I get responses like:
a) I already started one venture, but I have your mentorship ‘in the loop!’ – What does he mean ‘in the loop?’ I say, it’s probably too late by the time the loop comes around!
b) My father gave me advice to start as he thinks it’s a good business, however the business funds is my savings my father has no extra money to give me.
* I say: ‘Oh what kind of business does your father do?’
* He replies: ‘Oh he’s working for xyz company for 45years!’
* I say: ‘Bravo! Taking advice from someone who has no business experience with respect to your father?’ – Because it is a real fact, it could be his brother or uncle, the fact remains he has no substance to tender business advice as we are not only talking about a business here, but someone’s life is at risk and everything he worked for to date and there is the significance.
There are so many tools, techniques, tips, tricks, loopholes and invaluable experience mentors can transpose to protege’s if they would only heed to the call and realise how important it is to their future success.
When you as a young entrepreneur opt to invest in yourself, then that investment can never be equated to money if your mentor is very experienced in most facets of business and important is that they are globally aligned with trends.
So, to verify your mentor’s credibility and to give you the level of comfort that you need you must:
a) Ask questions.
b) Google their name and review their credentials.
c) See if you feel comfortable with the person and you can only do that if you start building a relationship, i.e. Book a free Discovery Session, discuss your needs and concerns and take note of the responses and if they satisfy you.
d) Book one session if you must just to get the feel of the mentor and you will know in your heart if it is the right mentor for you, trust me.
e) If the mentor is recommended by a friend, colleague, associate or other, ask them questions about the mentor, why they are recommending the mentor etc…
Mentorship is a 2-way street and this means that you as the entrepreneur seeking mentorship must have a level of comfort with your mentor before you even take the journey. So feel free to probe, ask more and more questions and then make your decision, but don’t just make the decision to shoot off and start your business when you are in the dark, still confused, have no real plan and especially if you know in your heart you are unprepared, but being pressured by friends, peers etc to start because it is important that you are comfortable, that you feel it is the right time.
Remember, during or after mentorship you will know if the time is right for you now or later to activate your venture and I am sure you will be grateful that you did not just start if at this time, you know you were not ready.
Investing in a mentor means you invest a fair amount on mentorship but you retain the balance for your venture when you are ready, not when someone else is pushing you.