For new entrepreneurs, the ups and downs of owning a business can be demoralizing. Seasoned professionals know that it’s natural to have exhilarating and productive days followed by a day that feels like everything is crashing. Yet, even for the seasoned pro, it’s frustrating.
In May 2013, Bill Gates stood on the TED stage and said, “Everyone needs a coach. … We all need people who will give us feedback. That’s how we improve.”
Inarguably, Bill Gates falls into the category of seasoned professional. If he finds value in coaching, how could anyone argue they don’t need one? Perhaps the litmus test should be, “Have I surpassed Bill Gates’ success?” If the answer is no, you may still get value from business coaching.
Coaches and Mentors Define Paths
Business coaches can provide insight, help create structure, and define a clear path forward. A business coach doesn’t need to have experience in a client’s industry. What happens when a coach is also someone who has successfully grown the same business that the client is working on? You get a mentor.
True mentors are difficult to find. Tradespeople still offer apprenticeships, and sometimes that can build a mentorship between people. Business apprenticeships outside of reality television game shows are very rare, though. Finding a true mentor in the business world is a rare and valuable commodity.
Mentors Help You Focus
Sports trainers don’t just train an athlete’s body. Champion athletes win because they have winning mindsets. Their trainers teach them how to keep their heads in the game. They do that by being more than coaches. They train athletes for success through mentorship.
Businesses have a lot of moving parts. Each day, you must make choices about where to focus your time and effort. Even experienced business owners can fall into survival mode and focus each day on putting out immediate fires. This method of business management creates additional fires, because the items left on the back-burner smolder until they flare up and move to priority status. It’s a vicious cycle that generally dooms a business.
Importance of Having a Mentor in Real Estate Businesses
Real estate investing is especially vulnerable to survival mode, as dealing with permit deadlines and regulatory issues is necessary to remain in compliance with the law.
Real estate investing is a high-stakes business, because it’s a high-return business. Having some industry knowledge doesn’t make a real estate investor successful any more than knowing how to cook guarantees a prosperous restaurant. Knowing how to apply knowledge, understanding there’s always more to learn, recognizing resources, and leveraging those resources are some of the essential components for success.
While the list is black and white, knowing where, when, and how to incorporate these traits can be difficult. A mentor who’s been through it all themselves can help you along the way,
Mentorship Builds Success
Successful entrepreneurs become that way by leveraging the talents of their business mentors in the following areas:
Delegate for Better Time Management
Owners often fall into the trap of spending time on tasks themselves rather than delegating them to other people or companies. Undervaluing their own time by spending it on menial tasks takes away from revenue generation. Mentors help identify ways to structure the division of labor in a more profitable way, so owners learn to work smarter, not harder.
Mentors Help You Keep Your Balance
Feeling as though you’re drowning in details is common among entrepreneurs and can be paralyzing. An overwhelmed brain may shut down and stop processing the big picture. Tunnel vision can keep a business owner from taking in external information and other ideas that would further company goals. Missing critical red flags is also common with tunnel vision. A mentor can keep a level head and stay objective during trying times.
Commit to Accountability
Even the most self-directed people with strong work ethics struggle to hold themselves accountable. There are only so many minutes in the day, and it’s easy for extraneous things to distract you, stealing attention from essential business components. Mentors provide accountability through goal-setting and follow-up.
It’s easier to stay true to your word when you give it to someone else. Commitments made to others are easier to keep than commitments made to ourselves, in part because the stakes feel higher when faced with disappointing another person. It can also be embarrassing to admit failure to follow through. If you add a mentor into the equation, it requires that you fulfill your commitments.
An experienced mentor helps identify areas of opportunity for learning new skills based on the needs of the company. Business owners are necessarily internally focused on running their businesses. Mentors have a larger perspective that allows them to see areas of potential growth. Because mentors come from the same industry, they know what skill sets their clients will need in the future. It’s always important to remember: You won’t know what you don’t know.
Break the Ceiling
It can be difficult to look outside a narrow, chosen path. Good mentors can see beyond the path. They help business owners develop and implement strategic plans to move away from the narrow limits they unconsciously set for themselves. This is vital for a business to grow to the next level.
Create a Strategic Plan
Running any business is overwhelming. A real estate investment business has many moving parts. Mentors can help stabilize a business by helping develop a strategic plan. This can encompass promotional and financial planning as well as personnel and administrative issues.
Realize Your Potential
Outside influences provide motivation to reach and grow. People don’t see their own potential the way others do. Inner talk and the negative committee living inside everyone’s head won’t sidetrack an outsider looking in. A mentor will help the entrepreneur capitalize on his or her potential to maximize revenue growth.
Mentors are there to provide insight and clarity to keep business owners moving forward toward their goals. It’s easy to rationalize that any task is related to the goal, but not every related task provides forward motion. A real estate investment mentor understands the unique needs of a real estate investment business and can break it down and keep the business owner on track.
Why put off today what you can put off tomorrow as well? Procrastination is the killer of productivity. Employees have bosses who will fire them if they aren’t being productive. Real estate investors are on their own. If they aren’t productive, their businesses will fail. Having no one else to answer to or who oversees their productivity makes it too easy to restructure the day in a way that feeds failure rather than success. Mentors can help provide that structure.
Mentors provide stress relief by accelerating success. Figuring everything out without guidance is hard and can be overwhelming. Wondering if you’re headed in the right direction creates uncertainty. But each time you attain a goal, a little bit of stress melts away. Mentors may teach how to break a larger goal into smaller, more manageable chunks, giving you a quicker sense of achievement.
Mentors Boost Motivation, Self-Awareness
It’s rare to be able to self-motivate 100 percent of the time. Even the most positive person feels beaten down periodically. Mentors serve as cheerleaders when needed.
Gaining awareness of personal blind spots and tapping into the psyche help people realize their true potential. Until we gain a true understanding of ourselves, we cannot grow. Mentors identify things people can’t see within themselves.
Learn Leadership Skills
It’s common for people to think they are good leaders when, in fact, they are not. Even good leaders can learn to become great leaders. Mentors help business owners learn essential tools to analyze their leadership strategies. Learning to hone and implement effective listening and questioning skills can bring out the best in others. Whether coordinating a job site with contractors, hiring employees, or brokering a deal, all business owners need to be strong leaders.
Generally, we don’t get to benefit from our own hindsight. Mentors are giving the gift of their hindsight to others. Mentors share their experience. You will eventually gain it as well, but you can benefit from a mentor’s vision right now. Business owners who don’t have the benefit of mentors learn most of their lessons through the school of hard knocks. That’s an expensive avenue and it’s why 20 percent of businesses fail in their first year, a third in their second year, and half of small businesses fail in their fifth year.
Today’s market is highly competitive. The secret to not just surviving, but thriving, is getting an edge over your competition. A mentoring relationship does just that for you. Mentors are such powerful tools because they have walked in your shoes. Having a mentor means that you get to learn how to achieve your goal from someone who already has. It provides the opportunity to see what it will be like once you’re reached your goals.