Businessmen shaking hands

Starting or running a business can be a lonely place. Who do you turn to for advice? Who can you bounce ideas off? And, if you’re ever feeling dejected, bewildered or just want an energy fix who can give you that instant pick me up?

The answer is simple and is available in abundance to all if we just ask a mentor.

There are many people who have built a business. There are many more people who run a business, and the majority are passionate to share their experiences about what works and what doesn’t.

It takes a wise man to learn from his mistakes, but an even wiser man to learn from others. (Zen Proverb)

When it comes to doing anything new, you have two choices: the first is to put in the hard yards, learning through trial and error as you reinvent the wheel; the second is to learn from those who have already navigated a pathway to success. Mentors who have been there and done it.

I learned early in my career that observing and emulating the habits, processes, and attitudes of successful people was a reliable way to fast track my own success. On reflection, this was one of my most important life lessons and it has stayed with me ever since.

Upon leaving school at 16, I was keen to get into the ‘real world’ and my first opportunity was an apprenticeship at a construction company working a six-monthly rotation through each department of the business. It could have been a long process of trial and error. But instead, my very wise site manager advised me that as I moved between the various departments, I should ask the three best people in each area what they thought I needed to know in order to be successful from day 1. When I joined the planning department, I asked the three best planners, who shared tips and tricks I would otherwise have had to learn the hard way. When I joined the quantity surveying department, I did the same. Each person, probably without realizing, mentored me into being the best apprentice I could be.

This simple idea can easily be transferred to your world and if you are looking to ‘fast track’ your success: personally, professionally, and in your business, it’s this: success modelling! You can either develop yourself and your business the hard way or the easy way . . . which pathway are you currently on?

Having a mentor to guide you doesn’t mean there won’t be some trial and error involved. When a child learns to walk, they start by modelling the people around them, but they still fall over constantly to begin with. Why does a second sibling generally develop faster than the first? Because they have a role model to emulate and copy, they are ‘success modelling’ from an early age.

What if you could ‘fast track’ your success and reduce the timeline in delivering accelerated, sustained and profitable business growth in your business by tapping into a rich resource of Mentors.

# Top tip 1: Who you spend time with is who you become: There is an expression which says ‘If you want to fly with the eagles don’t hang round with the turkeys’. Who you spend time with is who you become. If you want to be a high achiever surround yourself with like-minded people with common values who will stretch and challenge you to grow. A mind once stretched never returns to its original dimension.

# Top tip 2: Just ask: You’ll be amazed how many people are open to sharing their experiences with you and feel humbled to be asked. The key is just asking and don’t be surprised how many people say yes.

#Top tip 3: You can have more than one mentor: If finance is an area of weakness for you find a finance mentor, or marketing find a marketing mentor. For life experiences who is the seasoned individual you know who has so many life experiences that you can tap in to. You have the point. You are not limited to only one mentor! When writing my new book, I found the most experienced proven Author who had travelled the pathway I was about to embark on. It has saved me a fortune in money and perhaps even more important…time.

#Top tip 4: Get connected: Social media groups, online forums, business communities are a great way to e-meet new people, share ideas, network with other business professionals and ask your business questions within a collaborative group. And you never know, whilst seeking out a Mentor for yourself, you in turn could become a mentor to others!

By Royston Guest, author of Built to Grow