How to Grow Your Business – Top Tip # 11 – Find yourself a Mentor

Posted by Bennie Groenewald on 29 May 2018.

Bennie Groenewald

LLM Tax Law, B.Proc, HDip Tax

The Tax Shop Head Office

More about Bennie Groenewald

After having qualified and practiced as a Commercial lawyer Bennie worked in the Banking and Financial services industry for 25 years across multiple market segments in South Africa, Sub-Saharan Africa and the UK, the last 14 years of which in senior and executive leadership positions. During this time, he dealt extensively with cross-border banking and finance including project finance, asset finance, debt capital markets and derivatives, including the legal aspects thereof. In recent years, Bennie has played an active leading role in investment, credit and risk management as well as sound corporate governance.
Did you know that 75% of business owners admit that they should have consulted an expert at an earlier stage of their business journey? Many have admitted that they either use advisory groups or have demonstrated the nerve to bring people into their business who are wiser.
Never before in the history of mankind has life been so complex, so multifaceted and so full of competition and anxiety. One of the smartest things you can do when starting out or growing your business is to reach out to other people. Running and growing a business can often be a lonely experience, so make an effort to reach out to your peers and find a mentor you can trust. A mentor is someone with a depth of experience and wisdom who is willing to share their knowledge and support others in their development and growth.
Get someone who you can use as a sounding board, someone who asks smart questions and leads you to the right answers. Lately, it’s becoming common for business people to form a ‘mastermind group’ that can put you in touch with like-minded business people.
It is often well worth the cost to buy some advice and allow that valuable insight to help you achieve what you would never have had time to, whether through a business systems consultant, marketing firm or mentor.
Research supports anecdotal evidence, reporting that traditional one-on-one mentoring has been an integral component of mentor-protégé relationships, advancement and the success of many business leaders. This not only helps you to navigate complex business challenges but also assist in developing needed skills. Reaching out to a mentor is the starting point to effective leadership and building intelligent career networks.
I think that there is a human tendency that to ask for help, is a sign of weakness. While many may admit that we need help, we’re often too afraid to ask for it. It is either typically rooted in human pride, some believe it may be a waste of time, a fear of losing control, or a combination of factors.
But, how do you find mentors? There are many ways, but the following are my highest recommendations:
1. Dedicated mentorship programs
Search for public and/or private sector initiatives offering relevant support and information services.
2. Networking events 
These, also referred to as entrepreneur “hot spots”, are designed to put people in contact with one another, offering perfect opportunities to expand your professional network.
3. LinkedIn and Twitter
Social media has created several powerful platforms for connecting with professionals. Find potential candidates based on your industry and/or demographic area and be sure to introduce yourself informally and modestly before asking for a more significant engagement.
4. Small Business Development organisations 
These, often independent, institutions provide resources, expertise and advice to emerging entrepreneurs. A search on the Internet will provide you with numerous options to choose from.
5. Open workspace centres
These offer communities of entrepreneurial, creative and inspiring people where ideas and learnings are exchanged.
6. Industry events and Expo’s 
Trade association events provide resources, expertise and advice to emerging entrepreneurs.
Remember, asking for help and to share in someone else’s wisdom isn’t a weakness, but rather a strength.