Many entrepreneurs have boosted their success with mentors. Take billionaire entrepreneur Richard Branson who dropped out of school at the age of 16 and started his first business with a loan from his mother. He is now sending aircraft into space with his most recent project Virgin Galaxy. So how did this entrepreneur reach space-billionaire status? He enlisted the help of a mentor. He tells British newspaper The Sun: “It’s always good to have a helping hand at the start. I wouldn’t have got anywhere in the airline industry without the mentorship of (British airline entrepreneur) Freddie Laker.”


Have you considered getting a mentor? Read on to learn the five signs that you may need one.

1. You’re Feeling Confused
Like life, a small business can throw a lot of unexpected curveballs. Sometimes you may be stumped to find a solution to some of your business woes. Two types of uncertainties that can occur. One is the improbability that you can plan for nuisances such as an employee quitting. The other is what Nassim Nicholas Taleb, Professor of Risk Engineering at New York University’s Polytechnic Institute, calls a “black swan” uncertainty. This is an unpredictable change that seems to happen out of nowhere, such as your office being struck by lightening. A mentor can help you navigate through these storms, showing you a new perspective on problems and help you reach practical solutions.


2. You Feeling Like You’re on an Island
If you have quit a job to start your business, you may find it difficult to talk about your journey with others who are not in the same boat as you. Either you feel others cannot relate to you, or you don’t feel comfortable talking about your plans as you would like to keep them secret. With a mentor, you can comfortably open up to a person you can trust who has been through the highs and lows of starting a business.


3. You Want to Take an Easier Road
According to Bloomberg, eight out of ten entrepreneurs who start businesses fail within the first 18 months. Motivational speaker and life coach Tony Robbins recommends modeling yourself after people you admire. “You can learn by experience, trial and error – or you can speed up the process immeasurably by learning how to model,” says Robbins. So, if you want to advance in business and take the path of least resistance, mold yourself after the 20 percent of people you know have succeeded.


4. You Find It Difficult to Set Goals and Achieve Them
Do you procrastinate? Gretchen Rubin, the author of The Happiness Project, says people adopt habits in different ways. If you are more likely to be motivated by ‘outer’ rules set by other people, rather than ‘inner’ rules set by yourself, having a mentor will help you keep your projects on course as you will likely complete your goals to show your mentor you are true to your word.


5. Your Network Isn’t Benefiting You
Entrepreneur and motivational speaker, Jim Rohn, coined the quote “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” If your current network of peers consists of people who aren’t entrepreneurs, you may find it difficult to exchange ideas and solutions. A mentor may introduce you to their contacts to help you build a solid network for creating new opportunities, increasing your profile and helping others.




If you think mentors are for employees on a career track in the workforce, you’re wrong. Entrepreneurs need business mentors to succeed in their startups just alike.

Lots of companies offer mentoring programs, where executive-level professionals support their younger colleagues’. Mentoring programs have been created specifically for women, people of color, the disabled, and other groups for whom having a supportive and knowledgeable advisor might be particularly useful to the corporations that employ them. But, how to do you find a good business mentor when you’re not working at a large company?

Related Post: Why You Need a Good Mentor to Succeed in Business

Over the years, as I’ve observed mentoring relationships of various sorts, and have been asked by others to mentor them, I’ve noticed some qualities that seem to distinguish genuinely good and helpful mentors from those who are indifferent – or even harmful. Based on that experience, here are the top five qualities of an effective business mentor:

If you want someone to share their wisdom with you, they need to have the wisdom to share. Some people simply don’t spend much time thinking about their experience; a person can be quite knowledgeable and fruitful without having reflected much on how they got where they are today. However, just hearing about what someone has done is much less valuable than hearing about why they did it, and about their understanding of why it worked or didn’t work.

In a good mentor relationship, you need to be able, to be honest about your life and circumstances – and you need to be confident that your revelations won’t go beyond your mentor. If he or she can’t be trusted to keep confidences, your relationship will be superficial at best – damaging at worst.

If you’re brave enough to ask your mentor for advice, he or she needs to be brave enough to give you a straight answer. If you’re contemplating changing your business model, for instance, and you explain the situation and ask for your mentor’s point of view – he or she should give it to you, unvarnished.

This one may seem counter-intuitive – isn’t it the mentee’s responsibility to be curious about the mentor? Yes. And, if the mentor isn’t interested in you: who you are, what’s important to you, what you’ve done so far and how it’s working for you – it’s unlikely his or her advice will be very helpful. It will more likely be general wisdom that won’t be targeted to you at all.

Generosity of Spirit
Kindness is essential. A great mentor wants you to succeed, and he or she will actively support your success with words and action. The great mentor will never be envious or feel threatened by your growth; he or she will congratulate you on your triumphs and help you recover from your setbacks. The generous mentor will make connections or offer resources that could be useful to you whenever he or she can. Most important, a generous mentor believes in your potential and communicates that to you freely and with hope. The generous mentor supports you to become the person you want to become.


Ivori Nicole Event Business Cards

My planning business began after my vow renewal. I shadowed the planner that we hired to plan our nuptials. I learned how to work with vendors, manage clients, and prepare timelines. We even covered the worst-case scenarios, like handling late suppliers and bridezillas. Everything about the wedding business, I learned from this hardcore hands-on training. When I ventured out on my own as a wedding planner, I just knew I was set. Equipped with my enthusiasm, know-how, and even clients—I was ready. However, there is so much more to this business than timelines and pulling together color palettes.


Luckily for me, I had family members who owned businesses, some general knowledge and an extensive background in human resources to help me. I handled many of the necessities from the onset and (in all honesty) I made tweaks and picked up more of the essential items along the way.


Now as a tenured planner and mentor to newbies, I come across so many that don’t have the business basics down. Here are the 5 MUST HAVE items (I always share with my mentees and now with you) to get your event business up and running officially:

Register your business name. After countless hours of brainstorming over the perfect name, it’s now time to register it. There are two reasons for registering your name; the law requires it and to ensure that competitors won’t hijack your moniker.

If you have formed a limited liability company, corporation or other formal business entity, you can relax. You have already registered your business name in your state. Creating a business entity serves as notice that you are using your business name, and no other business can be formed in your state using the same name. Business entity formation fees vary from state to state but are often $150 or less. 

Open separate checking and saving accounts for your business. You can choose to open the accounts in your name (like I did in the very beginning) or under your company name, but it has to be separate from your personal accounts in order to avoid commingling of funds. When you commingle your funds, you are using your business resources as your money, whether buying or selling.  In law, there is an industry term coined “corporate veil,” which refers to the shield between the business and the business owner. When you commingle your funds, creditors can “pierce the corporate veil,” and get to your personal assets through your business.

Obtain the proper liability insurance. Business liability insurance is similar to having a homeowners insurance. It covers your business for any damage done to a third party or the property they own. If you cause financial loss to someone’s property or injure someone, your insurance provider will cover you as part of your liability insurance property. Injuries happen every day, irrespective of the environment or intent. Unfortunately, an injury occurring to somebody’s property may result in a lawsuit against the owner of the property.

This policy will also cover your office and business equipment and assets. Your assets are covered from perils like theft, vandalism, and fire. Take the necessary precaution and purchase a business liability policy right away.

Establish credibility and trust. Establishing credibility is key to building a successful business. Without it, you will struggle to earn the trust of customers. A custom domain and email with your business name will help build trust with your website visitors. Make sure your site looks professional and well-designed.

Social media can allow you to connect with your audience on a more personal level—adding to your credibility even more. Share authoritative content and share regularly. You don’t need to be on every social media platform, but it’s a good idea to have a profile on one or two.

Professionally designed and printed business cards are still the best marketing tool. Think about this: If you met two people, and one was scrambling to find a pen and paper to write their information on and the other person effortlessly pulled out a business card, who would you want to do business?

Document your processes and operations. Even before you think you may need it, document your processes and operations. Create a detailed workflow and outline each step. This documentation will help when bringing on staff and getting them up to speed on how you manage your business with consistency. It may take a little time to set up at the outset, but it has the potential to save you a lot of time and stress in the long run.