To me, as a young entrepreneur, your business is a reflection of yourself. The more you grow as an individual, the more your business grows, especially at the beginning of a new venture. PETRA BLANCAS
Having a mentor to guide you into defining who you are, ensures your alignment you’re your business and its core values. Mentors encourage you to start your process from the foundations, instilling their mentee with unwavering self-confidence, which leads to making those decisions and choices that can fast-forward the growth of your business.
One of the most valuable exercises that business owners can do, especially as young entrepreneurs, is to define and understand both their values and the values of their business. Business core values are much more than colourful graphics and words that sound good on a wall or a website. They needs to be rooted in every fraction of the business, and having a seasoned mentor helped me understand the importance of knowing my business inside and out.
The clarity that comes with defining your business’ foundation essentials is priceless. I have followed the Core Values MatrixTM designed by my mentor, Mihaela Berciu, Architect of LeadersTM, and, as part of the same fundamentals, we identified the purpose my business serves for my audience, as well as the mission and vision. Her approach pushed me to think hard and challenge my perceptions, initial ideas and beliefs. As a young business owner, though you may not wish to admit it, you might be tempted to believe you know it all and know it best, which would, most probably, put you at a disadvantage to older, more experienced entrepreneurs. Having a mentor allowed me to level the playing field and I was surprised at how much I have taken for granted. For example, I completely underestimated the power of the values, mission and vision, until I completed the exercise properly.
Furthermore, having the chance to have this level of clarity from the very beginning has made an enormous difference and probably saved me not only time, but also money. It helped me strengthen the belief in myself, in my business idea and in its potential. As a result of doing such in depth work, I have grown as a person and I have also reached new heights of maturity as a business owner.
Having clear brand values makes the decision-making process faster and more effective. Making better choices builds the confidence to making firmer decisions, removing the need to over-think them. As well as defining the values of my business, understanding the meaning of the values in themselves has propelled forward the way I see my business and my approach in anything and everything that has to do with it.
Another great benefit of having a mentor is the fact that I avoided allowing my ego and “know-it-all” attitude specific to my age, get in the way of my decision making. Being asked all the right questions and not being let off the hook until I got to the answers that worked to my benefit, helped me leapfrog to achieve my business milestones faster. My mentor’s approach of asking endless questions, rather than pointing out the way or giving me the answers, has taught me both strategic and critical thinking, as well as how to approach others. Asking and answering lots of questions has made me realise that everything is “figureoutable”.
When starting a business, many entrepreneurs tend to jump into it with both feet hoping to find the answers along the way. This leads to a lot of changes in direction, confusion and frustration. I am lucky enough to have had my mentor guide me from an early stage and it made a significant difference in more ways than one.
On a more personal note, starting your business, at any age, requires for you to put yourself out there, to be charming and to keep good relations with your network. Being an introvert, this was daunting to me and it was something that I constantly feared would keep me back from being successful. Having a mentor identify such blockages, and helping you clear them, is invaluable, and it’s definitely never too early or too late to start working on them.
I encourage every young entrepreneur to find a mentor and to be open to be challenged into becoming better as a business person. I also encourage them to silence their ego to learn from their mentors’ mistakes and draw as much as they can from those experiences. There’s no medal for making your own mistakes if you don’t have to!
Seems to me that there’s still a big misconception that mentors are these unattainable people who are hard to reach and even harder to get their attention and time. Mentors come in all shapes and forms. They can be your family, friends or even teachers. Mentors are all around you, what’s important is for you to be willing to work with one and to overcome your fears and judgements.
One more thing before I conclude, have I mentioned that my mentor is my mother? Lucky me that I didn’t have to look too far to find my mentor! Look around you, you might be just as lucky.
Words by: PETRA BLANCAS
Petra is the founder of Amicitta, a lifestyle digital private members club supporting women worldwide to reach their ambitions, who inspire themselves and others to grow by sharing their knowledge, wisdom and challenge themselves and their connections through fun and authentic experiences.
Petra is also working on launching Casa Blancas, which is the go-to luxury lifestyle brand for people who are curious to discover and embrace their essence and celebrate their uniqueness through the use of innovative products created to benefit them and their environment.
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