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The Importance of Mentors

Mentors are integral and necessary for success as an entrepreneur.

Too often the individualistic makeup of entrepreneurs does not allow them to see or value the role of mentors in their business life. When I was starting my 5th business in Nyack, New York in 1985 as a wholesale distributor of organic and specialty food products, the need for a mentorship became clear. I had never before been a wholesale distributor and had no template for this venture. Marvin Lang, a maker of tofu and potato knishes, offered me a territory to sell his products in the lower Hudson Valley of New York, but I struggled to find customers. Marvin had me listen to speeches made by Winston Churchill to his British subjects during WW2. Churchill repeated his famous mantra to British citizens, "Never, never, never give up!"This became a mantra for me. Marvin's counsel gave me the will to carry on and eventually become successful. I often tell this story to my clients in the hope that it will inspire them to "stay calm and carry on". It is important to be aware of the existence of mentors. They exist everywhere in your life and can be seen if you pay attention. Many people want to help others and will receive much satisfaction from doing so. However, it is also important to ask for help. The "ask" is often difficult for my business clients. I have to encourage them to ask and not be hesitant about doing so. Mentors are often one's "professional" team.They may consist of bankers, financial planners, insurance agents, accountants, CPA's, tax consultants, and business attorneys. This is the professional team I urge my clients to establish relationships with. These relationships need to be established at the inception of your business. This is important so that when a crisis occurs, you have the resources and mentors in place to help. Do not wait until a crisis occurs to find this team. In many cases, having the team established will prevent the crisis from ever occurring. A Business Coach/Consultant, such as myself is also an ideal mentor. I have the practical and theoretical expertise to show the way for my clients. Mentors, such as myself, can provide a template for entrepreneurial success. I hope this synoptic view of mentors and mentorship will help you avoid failure and disappointment as an entrepreneur.

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