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A support network is invaluable for all
A support network is invaluable for all

The power of a mentor

In this digital age, never before could the old maxim ‘cant see the forest for the trees’ be true however, solving some challenges of business can be as simple as hiring a mentor. DAVID BROWN reports.

Sometimes being in business can feel as though you’re the only one who understands the trials and tribulations you are going through. Such loneliness means a support network is invaluable for any business owner, regardless of the size of their operation.

Peers and fellow business owners can be invaluable resources, however working with a business mentor can help you deal with specific issues and decisions you may have to make.

Here are some of the most valuable reasons why adding a mentor to your team can be one of the best steps you can take to preserve and increase sales.

Mentors provide knowledge

A mentor will have a strong level of experience in business. They may not necessarily be involved in the jewellery industry, but they will be able to bring a level of business expertise to the table that you may not have. A mentor can therefore often see what you can’t.

Sometimes in business you can’t see the forest for the trees. A mentor will often approach problems from an impersonal, detached and unemotional perspective that will allow them to provide insights you may not have discovered otherwise.

They are in the unique position of being able to appreciate the strengths you may take for granted while acknowledging the weaknesses you fail to see.

Mentors offer encouragement
"Knowing you have someone to support you, and with whom you can discuss confidential matters, can help you work through issues more surely"

US President Harry Truman famously had a sign on his desk in the Oval Office that said, ‘The buck stops here’. There’s no escaping the responsibility of business ownership, but there’s also no one around to congratulate you when things go well, or encourage you when things get tough. A good mentor can provide that much-needed pat on the back or just some words of support when challenges are mounting.

Mentors bring accountability

One of the toughest tasks as a business owner is staying disciplined and focused. Without accountability, there is no strong incentive to stay on track and drive your business forward. A mentor can provide this function by making sure you follow through on your commitments to yourself.

Mentors can be a sounding board

Sometimes you just need someone who will listen. A good mentor can help you work through issues without saying a word!

Knowing you have someone to support you, and with whom you can discuss confidential matters, can help you work through issues more surely.

Mentors have contacts

An experienced mentor will have developed a network of contacts during their years in business. They may be able to introduce you to people who can help you take your business to the next level.

Mentors have experience

Mentors have no doubt made mistakes along the way, which means they can help you avoid making similar errors. Everyone makes mistakes and those who have been the most successful have probably made more mistakes than most.

Why make the same mistakes twice when there are others who have been there a nd who can prevent you from erring as they did?

Knowing you need a mentor is one thing, but where do you find a good mentor? Well, you can start by asking other jewellers or business colleagues.

Some may have their own support network or advisors they can introduce to you. Recommendations are always one of the most effective ways to seek the services you require.

Once you find a prospective mentor, make sure they’ve walked the walk. There are plenty of so-called ‘experts’ who set themselves up as advisors or consultants, but the important question is, ‘What are their credentials?’ Have they had business success at a level you want to achieve? If not, then are they the right person to advise you?

Choosing a mentor is not a decision to take lightly. You may find a retired business owner who is happy to give back because they were once supported themselves.

This person may want nothing in return but just enjoys staying involved in business. You may hire a professional consultant instead. Some prefer to pay for help, as they don’t value advice if they’re obtaining if for free.

Either way is fine, as long as you are gaining the support and assistance you require.

Business doesn’t have to be done alone. Seek the support you need to achieve the results you deserve.

David Brown

Contributor • Retail Edge Consultants

David Brown is co-founder and business mentor with Retail Edge Consultants. Learn more:

Ellendale Diamonds Australia

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