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Entrepreneur Skills: How Mentoring Can Help to Shape Your Success

Finding a mentor may be more complex than you would like, but that doesn't make it an impossible challenge.

Entrepreneurial Skills Photo of Woman Smiling with business colleague

Developing your entrepreneurial skills is more than a casual pursuit—it's imperative to achieve true business success.


There are countless aspects to what skill development looks like, and increasing the array of choices in your entrepreneur's toolbox will likely look different for you than for someone else. The modern marketplace is so complex and multi-layered that simply maintaining the status quo is no longer an option. The business world is constantly moving and racing forward at an ever-increasing rate. In this intensely dynamic environment, the benefits of sharpening your skills are inarguable. Still, there are so many possible avenues of doing this that the best approach can take time to discern.


Many of the methods for entrepreneurial self-improvement fall along the lines of formal education, be that the pursuit of college credits or obtaining certification in a specific discipline. The advent of technology in the marketplace has created a scenario wherein there's always something new that needs to be mastered. There's a lot of prudence in learning as much as possible in the sphere of ever-developing tech, but even that approach doesn't necessarily guarantee that you're postured for long-term success. Knowledge may be powerful, but wisdom can be even more so.


Finding relevant venues for learning new skills is relatively easy, but where can you find guidance on applying your knowledge? And this is where the concept of mentorship comes into play, bridging the gap between intellectual pursuit and the practicalities of doing business. A mentor is uniquely positioned to distill personal experience to enable others to gain an "insider's view," a rarified perspective that's experiential and rooted firmly in operating an enterprise day to day. The most significant benefit of receiving guidance from someone in a mentoring role is obtaining a perspective that would have typically required you to personally go through all of the pitfalls and struggles they've already overcome.


Experience may be the best teacher, as the common expression tells us, but why make a mistake that will cause you months or years of setbacks if someone can share wisdom with you to make a better choice? Mentoring allows for an exchange of information that can help clarify your understanding of various subjects. Especially if you're just in the process of launching your enterprise, having someone to provide real-time feedback about the effort you're undertaking can put you on a healthy and balanced trajectory that would be otherwise difficult to achieve. The fact that your mentor is operating in your sphere with the exclusive purpose of helping you to thrive ensures that the guidance being provided will always have your best interests at heart.


Finding a mentor may be more complex than you would like, but that doesn't make it an impossible challenge. If you've decided that you can benefit in your entrepreneurial journey by engaging in a mentorship scenario, then bring with that decision intentionality about finding the best possible person to fill the mentor role. One logical place to begin your search is in any environment that promotes networking. Membership in your local chamber of commerce is crucial in forging connections with others willing to share their expertise, and it's essential to recognize that these individuals may come from any business. There's an obvious benefit to seeking out persons from your field, but don't do so at the expense of overlooking the wealth of experience embodied in individuals from other spheres.


One of the other significant benefits of working in person with a mentor is that they will likely introduce you to other businesspeople, automatically expanding your visibility in the local marketplace. Also, if your mentor is still actively involved in a business venture, you could be invited to see the operations of their enterprise firsthand. This opportunity can provide insight that would be extremely difficult to obtain through other means and help you focus your efforts more confidently. When someone instructs you to do something in business operations, it's reasonable to ask them, "Why?" Gaining a deeper perspective of the rationale behind making certain decisions provides a context that can empower you to feel more emboldened the next time you choose a course of action.


If you find yourself in a scenario where you have questions that are unique to your type of business, another valuable avenue for connecting with a mentor is professional organizations. A substantial benefit of this approach is that you can seek connection with someone aligned explicitly with whatever your business is primarily dedicated to. If you're operating in a niche market, gaining someone else's input with a similar pursuit will provide valuable guidance about navigating that area. General business knowledge is always helpful, but industry-specific mentoring can be a game changer by addressing issues you're experiencing that are genuinely unique to your field.


One of the best options for those seeking a mentor is the organization known as SCORE. Founded initially as the Service Core of Retired Executives, this resource offers free, in-person mentoring at more than 200 local chapters throughout the U.S. If there are no mentors in your local area that would be an appropriate fit for you, there's also the option to interact via phone, email, or video conferencing. Although not specifically structured to provide mentoring, other useful online platforms can help you to make valuable connections. LinkedIn and Meetup are environments where it's possible to interact with someone willing to guide you. LinkedIn allows you to contact people directly associated with your specific industry type. 

Workshops and other events can also serve double duty by providing you with useful instruction and the chance to meet other professionals. Pursuing learning in an in-person setting lends itself to fostering authentic, organic conversations with others facing the same challenges you are. Discovering with fellow entrepreneurs about what they're dealing with can significantly expand your understanding of concepts you might still need to encounter. These conversations can also be the perfect environment to meet someone willing to volunteer their time and effort to help guide you on your path to success.


Although it's incredibly beneficial to glean insight from someone who is already much further along in their entrepreneurial journey than you are, there are other options for mentorship. The idea of benefitting from shared experiences embodies another concept known as "peer mentoring," an approach that pairs you with someone at the same level of development. Casually expressing your frustrations with someone you meet at a workshop might be cathartic, but having formal, structured, regular meetings with a fellow traveler elevates this type of interaction to the next level. Peer mentoring can be encouraging and clarifying as it helps you overcome those situations where you wonder if anyone else has ever dealt with the same issues you're facing.


Irrespective of the methodology you adopt regarding mentorship, the underlying parameters stay the same. The most important factor to consider is that your mentor volunteers their time and skill to help you develop. As a result, it devolves upon you to approach every aspect of your relationship with the mentor from the standpoint of gratitude and humility. It's also critical that you maintain a "thick skin"; the only way you can benefit from the feedback you receive is if you accept that it's being offered for your good. You may not always enjoy hearing what your mentor tells you, but solid advice can help you overcome things that could be much more painful than simply hurting your pride.


Being an entrepreneur can sometimes make you feel like you've embarked on a lonely, solitary journey. Always remember that the shepherding of a trusted mentor can make the trek much more straightforward and manageable and provide you with a dedicated partner to pursue your success.


Ready to elevate your entrepreneurial journey? Join us in the Xcel Launch Business Accelerator program and unlock the guidance, support, and resources you need to thrive. Don't navigate the business world alone – let's shape your success together! Visit our website at, to book your power hour session where you’ll meet with ValorExcel staff to get started. Or, call 240-329-9387 or email us at, ✨ Apply now to take the next step towards achieving your business goals. Also, don't forget to check our recent videos on YouTube by clicking HERE. #EntrepreneurialSkills #BusinessMentorship #XcelLaunch #BusinessAcceleration


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