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Six reasons why a veteran entrepreneur needs a mentor

Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Entrepreneurship is one of the most challenging and rewarding second-career options members of the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) can pursue. On the one hand, veteran entrepreneurs must adapt to a constantly shifting market, manage customer demands and solve a never-ending series of new problems while also managing their transition. On the other hand, the satisfaction of solving problems and running your own business can be a reward in and of itself.

But how do you balance the costs and rewards that come with entrepreneurship? One answer is to get help; however, this can be a significant challenge. As Operation Entrepreneur alumnus Dave Morrow noted in our podcast, the military trains its members how to offer help but not how to ask for it. Yet, from developing a business idea to bootstrapping, no part of entrepreneurship benefits from isolation. If you’re looking for support to achieve your business goals and get the most out of your entrepreneurial journey, a mentor might be the answer. Here are six reasons why:

1. Start off on the right foot

Mentors have a demonstrated effect on the success of new businesses. According to The Globe and Mail, businesses with mentors were twice as likely to succeed in the first five years as those without one. In the competitive world of business every advantage helps.

2. Double your network

While your network is one of your most valuable resources, its reach is limited. A mentor brings their network to your partnership, effectively doubling yours. In addition to expanding your network, a mentor’s network provides you with access to new knowledge and expertise.

3. Fill in experience blind spots

Your CAF training taught you to create and execute a plan, use your skill set effectively and drive towards a goal. This training gives you an edge over other entrepreneurs, but odds are that you also have some gaps. A mentor can help fill in these gaps by bringing a different set of experiences and skills to your pairing. While a mentor won’t do the work for you, they can point you in the right direction.

4. Stay accountable to goals

Having trouble focusing? A mentor can help by working with you to establish SMART goals for your business. From there, regular check-ins with your mentor help keep you accountable and on the right track.

5. Learn from an expert

You live and breathe your business - no one knows it better than you. However, this focus can create challenges. For instance, you may be undervaluing your offering; many veteran entrepreneur’s deeply rooted sense of service leads them to charge customers less than they are worth. A mentor’s objective and expert eye can help identify the parts of your business that need attention.

6. Address your needs

Mentoring relationships are one-on-one, providing a unique level of support tailored to your needs. This unparalleled level of attention ensures that your business’ particular needs are understood and addressed in a way that general programs cannot match.

Entrepreneurship is challenging; ensuring that it is also rewarding means finding the right help. The Operation Entrepreneur mentoring program can match you with a business owner or industry professional to ensure that your entrepreneurial journey is the best it can be. Asking for help may be a challenge, but a mentor is worth it.

Start your mentoring journey today. Apply now.