Mentoring is becoming more common in traditional businesses large and small, as well as for founders of startups and social enterprises.
At The Social Deck, we’ve been lucky enough to benefit from the Business Noosa Mentoring organisation based on the Sunshine Coast and we appreciate the devotion of our mentors’ time and knowledge to help us achieve business success. We also know how important mentors have been to our Ideas Hoist interviewees, friends and clients.
What is a mentor? We think the best mentor is someone who can guide you through the tough times, give constructive feedback and support, help you make decisions or steer you in the right direction. Mentors can help us work through the nitty gritty problems and professional concerns we need to deal with but don’t yet have the experience to tackle alone.
Many of those interviewed for Ideas Hoist have discussed the importance of mentors in their businesses and lives. Below are six of our interviewees on the importance of mentors to them.
Joel Young – Founder of Power Parcel
Joel developed the idea of Power Parcel, a social good subscription box, which supports developing social enterprises. Having recently graduated from The School for Social Entrepreneurs, he realises the importance in having a mentor by his side. As Joel says:
“Being the crazy dreamer that I am, it can often be easy for me to lose sight of important factors such as feasibility, time commitment and financial restraints.
“Mentors will keep you grounded and having dreams and goals is a part of the journey, but a mentor will keep you in check and focused on the ultimate goal.”
Anna Donaldson – Founder of Life Experience
Anna is the founder of Life Experience, which establishes connections between generations. Since learning through developing her own business how important mentoring is, she decided to encourage older generations to offer advice and knowledge to younger generations.
Anna recently completed an incubator program at The School for Social Entrepreneurs and says she is fortunate to have Michelle, her mentor.
“It can get hard to see the forest for the trees sometimes when it’s an idea that you’re so invested in, and that’s so close to your heart, and having those outside voices has made such a difference in getting aspects of the model straight.”
Matt Tomlins – Founder of CoverCard
Matt has developed CoverCard, a platform that allows people to digitise their legal documents and hard-copy tickets onto a database that’s sharable with other people.
Matt says he has a wide range of mentors in his network who help in different areas of the business.
“I have a broad network of mentors who can challenge and assist in different areas. I’m not a believer that one mentor should be followed above all others. I think it’s all about picking up and synthesising a wide variety of ideas from different sources and then making the best decisions for your business.”
Logan Merrick – Co-Founder of Buzinga App Development
Logan is the co-founder of Buzigna App Development, a company that helps developing tech businesses and innovative enterprises build meaningful game-changing apps.
Mentors have helped Logan with direction, confidence and helpful sales advice.
“The most valuable thing that all these mentors have told me is to make time for learning. I spend an hour a day reading or learning in some way, so I’m constantly upskilling.”
Jarrod and Marcus – Founders of Forbidden Foods
Jarrod and Marcus of Forbidden Foods want to “feed the world with the world’s best”. They sell a variety of organic rice ranging from wild rice to red, green, brown and white rice.
The two founders rely on their mentors to help them define their business because when exciting things happen they still need to focus on their goals.
“We know there are those who have more experience than us, so we regularly seek them out for advice. They’ve been critical in our overall direction and we always lean on them when we’re at a crossroads.”
Sean and Eunice – Founders of Lawfunder.org
Lawfunder.org is a crowd-funding platform designed to help with litigation and legal causes. Sean and Eunice both know how important mentors are in the success of their business, while also valuing their strong support from family and friends.
Sean likes to bounce ideas off his family because they have different levels of experience in the business world. Eunice recently even wrote letters of gratitude to key people and influences in her life, thanking them for helping her to be where she is now. She says:
“Recognising the role that my elders and superiors have played in my career is really important to me.”
And Sean says: “Learning about others’ successes and failures has helped me learn the importance of strategy, planning, goals and luck”.
This article was first published on Ideas Hoist.