Starting a business is an ambitious undertaking. Most of us would love to have an experienced business consultant show us the ropes. But many new businesses can’t afford the cost of such professional services. Luckily, because of the Internet, Virtual Mentoring has come of age, and it can reward you and your team with a major competitive advantage.
Why a Business Mentor?
Collaborating with a business consultant is good for you and your workforce. They offer a birds-eye view of your industry and competition, while also helping avoid obstacles that all too often trip up new business ventures.Business mentors have been there, done that, in the domain of your choice. #mentoring #businessmentor #smallbusiness Click To Tweet
Let’s say you’re opening a brick and mortar hardware store. A mentor is an invaluable asset. They can tell you how feasible a location is, the condition of the current building, how big your potential market is, lease options, how much it will cost for things like shelving and displays, point of sale systems, etc. They can also point out things you haven’t thought about, such as permits, licenses, taxes, fees, and hidden costs (like business liability insurance). If they don’t know something, they most likely will instruct you which way to look. A business mentor can save you thousands of dollars by helping avoid mistakes.
The bottom line is most new businesses are undercapitalized and can’t afford to retain such expertise. Yet this expertise is most needed to buck the odds and ensure business success.
Enter the Virtual Mentor.
What is a Virtual Mentor? It’s expert advice available online. The advantages of having a Virtual Mentor are many. First, they’re affordable. Second, they’re available 24/7, with advice that can be referred to again and again by anyone on your team. Most Virtual Mentors have a “knowledge base” on their websites with answers to the most often asked business questions. Many include in-depth webinars, podcasts, and resources on a wide-range of topics. The best thing about virtual mentoring is their flexibility. All their expertise can be shared via video conferencing, virtual meetings, email etc. Such mentoring is priceless for a small business. Just think, for the first time in history, no matter where your business is located, you and your team has access to world-class knowledge.
Think of a Virtual Mentor as a life coach for your professional development and career advancement. You already do this, interacting with experts via Twitter, blogs and Q&A sites. These social media sites are rather broad in scope, but act in the same way. Of course, new businesses want immediate ROI for any expenditure. Fortunately, the Harvard Business Review already has studied the many Benefits Of Virtual Mentors. (Click here to read the article.) Their study concluded that the use of Virtual Mentors broadened skill sets, boosted loyalty to the organization, increased innovation, upped awareness of the outside world, and boosted productivity.
How Do You Find Virtual Mentors?
How do you find virtual mentors? Start by finding people you want to emulate. People you admire, who have a message that resonates, and individuals who speak to your values. Look to see if they offer a blog, podcast, or webinar series you can tap into. Most of this content is offered for free and is readily available. Check if they have written a book. This is a targeted dive of their best thinking into a specific topic. Another avenue to explore is online courses and conferences. While there is normally an associated fee, you will receive an immersive experience. There are so many opportunities available today to learn and grow. It’s easy to get started.
So, go for it. But go for it giving yourself the advantage of a Virtual Mentor.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Lynn Whitbeck is the Founder and CEO of Petite2Queen, and she helps the world by teaching women leadership skills to live richer and fuller lives. Petite2Queen provides virtual mentoring with inspiring articles, resources, podcasts, and webinars. It’s a remarkable portfolio filled with concrete and honest advice, fresh perspectives, a sense of community, emotional support, and the feeling of inclusion by filling a knowledge and experience gap with uplifting enrichment.
Building on her successes and experiences in executive leadership roles, Lynn brings marketing, sales, management, and operations cross-sector experience to Petite2Queen. Lynn is the co-author of the highly regarded book, Practical Wisdoms @ Work. She dedicates herself to delivering tangible and sustainable tools and insights to women, embracing visualization of the big picture, and identifying and implementing the minutiae of detail. Lynn’s goal is to share the lessons learned along her journey and enable positive change for women.