Richard Branson reflected famously that if you ask any successful businessperson, they’d tell you about a great mentor they’d had at some point along their journey.
The role of a business or life mentor has long been the worst kept secret of successful people.
Whether it’s Steve Jobs guiding Mark Zuckerberg, Warren Buffet being a sounding board for Bill Gates, or Michelle Robinson taking a young Barak Obama under her wing as he started out at his first law firm, each has a common element – a mentor.
A mentor is someone who you confide in, reflect with, sound out for advice, celebrate wins with and work alongside to help dissect and learn from your losses.
It’s more than a traditional coach or teacher/ student relationship. Skills are passed on and polished, and the relationship relies on a more fluid two-way conversation.
Whilst a coach can teach you about your break-even, client dollar average and team motivation, a mentor will use their experience to help you apply those concepts specifically to your own salon context.
By building a relationship with you and exploring you and your business through a fresh lens, they can provide an invaluable ‘third eye’ looking out (and in) for you.
It all comes with time and experience, but as it develops you’ll appreciate having a trusted voice of reason who understands and respects you for who you are.
A mentor can:
- look objectively at your business, and at your own personal growth
- see where you need to improve
- find gaps in your experience
- provide the honest feedback you need to grow.
You can miss a lot when you follow a structured training course or cookie-cutter learning program. But a two-way mentoring conversation lets the knowledge transfer with greater context and specific goals. Sure, your mentor can sometimes just teach, but there are also times when they will just listen.
A mentor will share your wins with you andhelp you learn from your losses. Having someone who gets excited about even small milestones and achievements in your business makes for positive feedback and reinforcement.
Being accountable to someone is critical when you’re setting and achieving goals. Small business can be a lonely place if you’re unable to share a win. And it can be brutal if you miss a potential pitfall.
Mentoring is a dynamic relationship that embodies respect for your ideas and how you want to implement them. Your mentor can be your sounding board for a brilliant idea – a chance to challenge the idea, to improve it, advise for or against, or find a pitfall that could scuttle an otherwise ingenious innovation.
Imagine having a springboard for all your salon ideas: things like introducing a new product or service, whether to expand, managing a delicate staffing problem. Every new idea comes with uncertainty and selfdoubt. Your mentor can help work through the idea and reassure you whether you’re moving in the right direction.
How do you fare with boundary setting? Most salon owners I know find it challenging. A mentor can not only act as your built-in checkand-balance that your goals are reasonable and achievable, they can also help you keep them on track.
Do you need a nudge to shake off complacency or laziness? Your mentor will check in often on you and your salon business. They’ll stand beside you as you step back from the fog of dayto-day salon management to see the big picture and where you can challenge yourself and grow. They’ll guide you when to slow down, speed up, look after yourself or manage your workload and stress levels differently. They’ll back it up with practical strategies and techniques.
In many ways, your mentor is as invested in looking after you as they are in looking over your business. Protecting you from burnout is an essential part of the mentor relationship, as is motivating and inspiring you to achieve in
ways you didn’t imagine possible.
Remember: your mentor is not your boss. And they are not your teacher. A good mentor will bring out the best in you. They’ll bounce around ideas, share experience and advice but you’ll always be in control and in charge of your own destiny. Because it’s your salon business, your personality, your dreams and your potential to reach for the next level.
Jodie Rasmus is a business coach with The Zing Project. More and more she has found that clients are benefiting as much from her role as mentor in addition to her role as a coach. With over 30 years as a salon owner, her experience
and knowledge provides an invaluable sounding board to her clients, helping them guide their salons to a brighter, successful and stress-free future. To get in contact with Jodie reach out at email@example.com