Previously we posted a little fluff piece about not being afraid to take that leap if you want to start your own business, and that we’re here to help. Well, we thought on it a little and decided there’s another key factor in starting up and running your business. It’s called having a mentor.

We all know that good things don’t just come from a single person, but usually from a team of people and starting your own business certainly takes a team of people. Even if you are you’re only employee, the people who believed in you, helped you get set up, stayed up late with you over pizza to plan out ideas, are vital to your success. As they say, the key to success is surrounding yourself by good people, the ones who will support you, believe in you, and the ones who will steer you in the right direction.

Family and friends are great in terms of support, in fact, they’re invaluable. In terms of having a mentor, though, you might want to look for someone you can keep in the professional realm. You certainly want to be able to have a good working relationship where you can speak freely and feel comfortable to ask questions, but you want to be able to have a sort of distance.

What do we mean by this? Basically we mean don’t make your best friend since you were in diapers your mentor. Why, you may ask? The reason is similar to doctors not having their family members as patients. You’ll want to be able to speak objectively with your mentor, have a certain level of professionalism, and be able to have this person tell you something straight without your emotions getting involved. After all, it’s easier to hear news you might not agree with from someone who, in a way, comes from a position of authority whom you respect, as opposed to your bestie, right?

So what do you look for in a mentor? First look for someone within your field who is passionate, has experience and has been successful; after all, if they can do it, you can do it! Then look at the finer things, such as, do you admire them? Does their way of thinking line up with yours? For instance, maybe you’re all hard evidence and need a visionary. Or contrarily, you’re a visionary and need someone all about hard evidence and figures. Further, look for someone who’s going to challenge you in a good way. Your mentor should be someone who pushes you to go outside your comfort zone in order to help you succeed and grow as a business owner.

Sounds like a tall order, right? In black and white, it just might be, but once you find someone within the industry as passionate as you are about the business, you’ll click like peanut butter and jelly.  Don’t be afraid to ask around your family and friends for potential candidates or go to a conference to network with people and don’t be afraid to chat people up.

A good mentorship can be very effective in not only getting your business off the ground, but also for helping an established business grow. They can be an invaluable asset to have in your corner for everything under the sun including advice, ideas, strategies, trust and even use as a sounding board if necessary. So if you’re feeling stuck, overwhelmed or just plain need help, try giving a mentor a go!

May the odds ever be in your favor!