ND Small Business Development Centers
ND Small Business Development Centers

Powering the creation, growth, and success of small business in North Dakota.

The Value of Mentorship In Running a Successful Business

Starting a business can be straightforward or more complex, depending on the size and nature of the business. Entrepreneurs opening a brick and mortar businesses have more steps to work through to get open. Securing a location, negotiating contracts, hiring employees, and obtaining financing takes time and energy. Smaller-scale businesses do not need many people, and things simplify the process and time required to get open.

Likewise, managing and growing a business can be very tricky. Even the strongest of businesses will experience difficulties over the course of their lifetime. According to the Office of Advocacy (SBA), 60% of all startup businesses in the US wither on the vine before their fifth anniversary and another 20% before year ten. Research shows a commonality between business closures- all experience problems within three key themes: customers, cash, and management.

The good news is business failure rates go down when owners focus on developing good business practices. Firstly, it is imperative for business owners to engage with and understand their customer’s needs to keep their business. Secondly, owners need to constantly manage cash flow by maximizing profits, reducing costs, and maintaining appropriate cash reserves for emergencies. Thirdly owners need to make
business decisions based on facts, not instincts or bad information. They do so by ensuring their company has accurate financial reports and uses and understands them. These three key steps are all important steps to running a healthy business.

One person cannot do all these things well or on their own. Having the right resources and a support system in place is key to avoiding and surviving pitfalls that can besiege a business, no matter the size or stage of the business. Importantly, the support system should include a business mentor.

In 2021, Kabbage (a financial technology company) surveyed 200 small businesses. 92% (192) of the businesses surveyed said that mentors directly affected their business’s growth and survival. Mentors provide an invaluable service acting as an advisor to an owner. Volunteering their time, knowledge, and experience helps owners hone their own skill sets to make better-informed decisions, avoid costly mistakes, and help
to recognize growth opportunities. Mentors supply a fresh, unbiased perspective of your business. They challenge and inspire owners to
reach beyond their abilities. They support growth, help set actionable goals, and offer encouragement and accountability. Business mentors also listen. In a world where business owners often feel too proud, afraid, or trapped, mentor relationships built on trust can help owners talk things out. They are an ally and much-needed confidant.

Finding the right mentor may take time. Getting more involved in your community, attending networking events, and mixing with other entrepreneurs will lead you to new paths and relationships. A good mentor can ask insightful questions. Find someone who does that for you. Before you know it, you may be a mentor yourself!



Christine Staley says:

Mary Beth, Great read! Did you share this with the Start Up Minot peeps? Congrats on your award! Hope all is well.

Take care,
Christine Staley

Sandra Meyer says:

How does one find a mentor?

djones says:

Hello Sandra,

We can get you connected with an advisor once you register with us on our website.

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