Derek Distenfield, CEO of NextGenJustice and Startup Veterans Mentor, recently wrote a blog post about How To Find Business Mentors That Inspire You. The importance of having a mentor when you are a veteran is absolutely critical when you are looking to start a business. As Derek says:
“Regardless of whether you’ve been in business for two weeks or two years, you can’t afford to go on without guidance. No matter how business-savvy you think you are, there’s a worldlier mentor out there who’d love to share with you what they’ve learned over the course of their career.”
I could not agree more with this statement. There is absolutely no reason to reinvent the wheel whenever you start a business. Not to mention that I have found that there are always other veteran business owners who are happy to provide fellow veterans with help and advice. In today’s day and age there is really no excuse for you to not reach out to others since their are so many resources available for you to do just that. Derek once again points out that finding a mentor has never been easier, here is some more of his advice:
“Finding a great mentor has nothing to do with your current connections – you need to identify who can best help you with your startup challenges. Find mentors across the spectrum in both experience and skill level. Often we look up to “celebrity icons” and CEOs. However, you need to weigh how much effort it will take to attract their attention, and once that individual does agree to help you they will generally have much less time than a professional who may not be Bill Gates but who has encountered and solved the problems you’re experiencing.”
LinkedIn is an outstanding resource and local meetups along with industry events are all great ways to connect with mentors who can help your business. Bottom line is you should always build a network no matter what career field you are in.
Starting a business for the first time can feel like a solitary journey, so the bigger the support network you can establish the easier time you will have. The problem is that many veterans I have met can be stubborn and pride often prevents veterans from asking for help from others. As an entrepreneur you always need to be open to advice and I can pretty much guarantee that almost every other successful business owner has had a mentor.
The truth is that business is a team sport and you as a veteran should know what it takes to build a team. Every single business I have run I have surrounded myself with partners, advisors and mentors. I would say that this is the single biggest reason for my success. So don’t struggle when you do not have to! Being an entrepreneur is all about working smarter not harder…so get out their and connect with others who can help make your journey a heck of a lot easier!