Starting up in business is exciting, but it can also be a bit scary. You’re sailing out into uncharted waters, and even if you’ve taken all the courses and read all the books, some things are best learned by experience. But that doesn’t mean you have to leave these things completely to trial and error.
Seeking feedback and advice from fellow businesswomen can be a huge help to entrepreneurs who are just starting out. By finding yourself a mentor, you give yourself the opportunity to learn from someone who has been there, done that. You can benefit from her experience, avoiding common mistakes and learning the tricks and tips to running a successful business.
Why a Woman Mentor?
It’s a known fact that women do business differently from men. The sexes tend to have different strengths and weaknesses from each other, as well as a different overall approach. That’s not to say that men and women in business have nothing in common, just that they don’t necessarily run their businesses in the same way.
Working with a female mentor offers several advantages. These include:
• Women have historically experienced the hurdles associated with becoming a successful female in business. Although women now make up a significant portion of business owners, it hasn’t always been that way. Society once frowned upon women who chose to work - never mind set up their own business - when they should have been at home tending to the needs of the family. As a result they faced obstacles that were not an issue for men.
• A female mentor can be a great source of inspiration. We’re all aware of the “big guys” who have built successful business empires, but women who have made it to the top are in relatively short supply. When the going gets tough, your mentor will serve as a living, breathing example that you can succeed.
• Women may be more likely to help you with the basic needs of a budding entrepreneur. For example, tips for a low-cost business wardrobe and accessories, help with sourcing childcare to suit your own needs, recommending a Virtual Assistant to help with your business systems set-up. So-called “little things” such as this are more likely to seem alien to a businessman.
Where to Find a Mentor
Many entrepreneurial women like the idea of having a mentor but don’t know how to go about finding one. They don’t just fall out of the sky, after all. But finding someone to help you along on your own journey is easier than you might think.
One of the most effective ways to find a mentor is through networking and if it’s a female mentor you’re looking for, then clearly a Womens Networking Group would be the best place to start. Cherchez Networking is a growing community in the North West of Enland offering regular, informal networking sessions for women in business. Your local Chamber of Commerce is also a good place to seek out the right contacts. You can also meet fellow businesswomen at trade shows, and you can connect with them via online networking groups. Give it a go and find someone you click with, then you will hopefully feel comfortable enough to ask if she would be willing to give you some support and advice.
A mentor can be a major boost to your business efforts. By exploring the benefits of Networking with other women, you may well find a fellow female business woman who is willing to help you for very little - or more often, no cost to yourself.
Find our more about Cherchez Networking’s forthcoming events HERE.