I have always been the type to go about figuring things out alone. A lot of entrepreneurs are that way. One of the biggest things to realize is that you do not know everything. Having a mentor to help guide you along the way is essential for business or career growth.

I found my mentor through a free program called SCORE. I was skeptical at first, but Terry ended up being a huge help to my development. Terry is a retired CFO and helps business owners out of the goodness of his heart. He loves doing it, and I know that any advice and recommendations he gives are genuine.

One key aspect that makes having a mentor so essential is that they make you think. Terry never has given me a definitive answer to anything. He guides me and allows me to make my own decisions like an owner should. What also really helps is that he gives objectives for me to bring to our next meeting. This keeps me on track and gives me a little homework in a specific area that I probably wouldn’t do if I didn’t feel accountable.

He also is able to recommend certain businesses to me. This saves me massive amounts of time having to vet through multiple businesses to find the right fit in various areas like accounting and insurance. Nearly all the recommendations he gives work out because he knows what kind of people they are and wouldn’t recommend them in the first place if they weren’t’ trustworthy.

Whether you have an assigned mentor, or have a family member or friend with experience that guides you, take what they say seriously. You don’t have to agree with everything, but you should at least be able to discuss your thoughts on a disagreement. The outside perspective is huge. It is so easy to get caught up in your own thoughts and make a poor decision.

Overall, the main point I am trying to make it to get some outside perspective from someone with experience in your business/career path. Their insights will often prove invaluable and can actually save you a lot of time from repeating their mistakes. I do recommend the program SCORE if it is available to you. Talk to your supervisor about mentor programs or anyone he/she could set you up with to talk. You will learn a lot and expedite your success!