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The Small Business Mentors Every Business Owner Should Have

Running a small business can be very rewarding. It can also be one of the biggest challenges that you face in life. You don’t always have the same resources available to you when you had your cushy job in corporate America. But now you’re doing things on your own. It can be very lonely sometimes, as it seems as if there is nobody to turn to for advice. And that’s where mentors come in handy.
Every small business owner should have a small business mentor around to call on every now and again. They’re great for bouncing ideas off of and asking for advice, and are essential to the success of a small business.

I’ve been lucky to have a couple of small business mentors over the years. They’ve come from many different backgrounds, which is good because they offer a wide spectrum of viewpoints. Despite all of the challenges of running a business, the advice received from my mentors has been the biggest constant in my career.

Don’t have any small business mentors? Actually, they’re all around you. Here are some ideas of places to look for your mentors.

A friend from way back

A friend who knew you before you even knew what a startup was is a great way to stay grounded. They can speak to your roots and help you when you get lost in the haze of your small business. They’re great for reminding you to slow down and enjoy life. They remind you to live the life that you want while doing what you love. And no entrepreneur should ever lose sight of that.

A colleague

Having regular get togethers with people who are in a similar stage of development is a great thing to have. They can give you the sense that you’re not alone and can be willing to lend an ear when the going gets rough. The relationship is mutual, because you would do the same for them.

A colleague that is difficult to work with

Part of being an entrepreneur is crafting your business idea and selling it to the world, whether its customers or investors. You need to have that ability to sell. And who better to fine tune that selling ability than someone that you don’t naturally get along with.

A colleague with a contrasting skill set to yours

It’s important to attack a situation from every angle. So why on earth would you only want to surround yourself with only one type of person? Get those opposing viewpoints. Get those different perspectives. It will help you refine your business and your bottom line.

A recent friend who knows you as an entrepreneur

Try and schedule regular get togethers with someone who knows your entrepreneurial self, and nothing else. They’re good for getting down to business and pushing you forward. They’ll have a good grasp on your business style and can really be great for inspiring you to go forward.

David Garrard is the resident Agent Provocateur (and Managing Director) for Atlanta-based creative consultancy Un_Standard, a creative consultancy specializing in Branding and Marketing for small businesses and entrepreneurs. David Garrard is part Creative Director, part Strategic Planner, part Brand Strategist and part Marketing Director all rolled into one. View my Google+ Profile