Opinions

Why Your Business Partner Shouldn’t Be Your Mentor

Finding a mentor with a new perspective will pay dividends for your business.

Share this article

Share this article

Finding a mentor with a new perspective will pay dividends for your business.

Opinions

Why Your Business Partner Shouldn’t Be Your Mentor

Finding a mentor with a new perspective will pay dividends for your business.

Share this article

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?

If you are one of the growing numbers of couples (couplepreneurs) who are setting up and running a business together – it is possible that you may not find life in a new business quite so lonely and perhaps you will turn to each other nine times out of ten.

But should you?

I spoke to husband and wife team Jonathan and Ashley Shine who set up their animation party invitation business Mini Epic a few years ago. Jonathan explained how having a mentor really helped them.

As couplepreneurs you work closely with each other day to day – but do you think there is greater value to the business in having a mentor who isn’t your partner and can bring a bit of distance?

Certainly. But it's not just about distance. It's about having an objective perspective, which can be so important when you and your other half are so heavily invested in your business, and your field of view is narrowed by your commitment to your own vision.

Having a mentor can help you face serious questions about your business without any emotions involved. Having that emotional distance can be tricky when you are running a business as a couple.

Do you think having a mentor helped you avoid common mistakes?

I think it helped us avoid a few. We were certainly more switched on to vetting our suppliers and keeping our start-up costs as low as possible. However, I do think some mistakes are unavoidable, and somewhat part of the start-up journey.

Our mentor has really been there to help guide our thoughts on the bigger picture of our brand and see our business from different angles.

Did a mentor help you achieve certain business milestones more quickly?

Not in our case no, but that's not why we wanted a mentor. Running a business day to day means you are constantly absorbed in admin, product development, marketing and a host of other daily activities, which can make it very difficult to see your business through a wider lens.

Our mentor listens to where we are now, and helps us develop a clear idea of where we are going in the big picture, how we might pivot if such and such happens etc. Essentially, our mentor is helping us to form a long-term strategy while we focus on short-term goals.

It’s clear that having a mentor was a great help to Jonathan and Ashley as they built Mini-Epic.

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.

Following in the footsteps of a mentor who has already been there and done it makes it that little bit easier to navigate the potential pitfalls of the business world.

Having a mentor to guide you doesn’t mean there won’t be some trial and error involved. But it may very well help you ‘fast track’ your success. Gaining another person’s knowledge is a quick and easy way to have some help and guidance when navigating the business world.

# Top tip 1: Just ask: You’ll be amazed how many people are open to sharing their experiences with you and feel humbled to be asked.

It’s amazing to think how much advice must have been wasted on people who were too afraid to ask others how they made it. Through asking a successful person their advice, you are giving yourself a clear and simple shortcut to success.

The key is just asking - and don’t be surprised how many people say yes.

#Top tip 2: 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!

#Top tip 3: 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.

You never know, whilst seeking out a Mentor for yourself, you in turn could become a Mentor to others!

Lastly, remember to pass on your own advice! By acting as a mentor yourself, you are helping the next generation of entrepreneurs and business owners grow.

Patricia Bacon is an expert business growth consultant and founder of Couplepreneurs a new global network for couples running businesses together.

Related Articles
Get news to your inbox

Why Your Business Partner Shouldn’t Be Your Mentor

Share this article