“The way of a fool seems right to him, but a wise man listens to advice.”
I have heard the same powerful tool about finding a mentor mentioned in several places recently and feel I want to share it with you.
- A report I read recently stated that to be a successful business you should study other businesses, that have achieved what you wish to achieve. They do not have to be in the same industry as you are, they just need to have the same vision i.e. multiple locations, expert status in their niche, etc.
- Then in the bible study video my small group watched last night, the pastor speaking (Andy Stanley if you know of him) basically said the same thing. He said to look to other Godly people for advice who are where you want to be…in their Christian business, Christian finances, relationships, spiritual life, etc.
Find Mentors Who Have Successfully Built the Business Model You Want To Build Yourself
Sounds like common sense right? That is what I kept saying to myself. Then I started thinking about it. I have talked to so many people who asked family members what they thought about a business problem, yet the family member has never run a small business, let alone a Christian-based business. Or people who have a difficult time hiring people discussing hiring problems with other people who struggle to hire someone. In counseling, we may seek other people in the same boat to realize we are not the only one who struggles with a certain issue. But to be a successful Christian business person we need to find people that do not have the problems we have. Or at least have already found a solution to that problem!
All small Christian businesses SHOULD have a team. It may be an accountant, an attorney, or even a Christian business consultant. Are they successful at what they do? Do they surround themselves with people achieving what they want to achieve in their business?
Don’t misunderstand. I am not saying they need to be a huge financially successful conglomerate to utilize their services or advice. It may be that you appreciate their reputation for customer service or industry knowledge. Maybe they have created a niche which is your goal; therefore, in assisting you they will have personal experience, in addition to expertise, to share.
One very valuable tool you can employ in your business immediately is to seek guiding mentors, professional service providers, and/or business models who are where you want to be in some facet of their business and who share your professional values.
Then look at the type of people they employ. Analyze the marketing mix they use. I would even be bold and call them for an informational interview. If you are in a different industry, that is not a direct competitor, I am sure they will share some of their knowledge with you. Again this is NOT suggesting copying someone else in your own industry. If they are in your industry you will have to beat out a significant competitor who was doing things the way you want to, but they were FIRST. Look for someone who has successfully built the business model you want to build yourself.
Finding Advisors Who Share Your Business Values
- Make a list of your professional values, what is important to you in your Christian-based business, and how you define success. Some examples:
High integrity – find a Godly man or woman who everyone sees as having the highest standard of integrity.
Fast profitable growth or big enough to employ my family but small enough that we can manage it without adding outsiders.
The technical expert in my niche. Look for a similar business in a similar type of niche that has achieved the expert status you desire.
- Helping a huge number of people and supporting their self. Non-profit organizations usually measure their success by how well they are achieving their mission which is not profitability. Some doctors want to help people and achieve financial success.
- Begin to look for a variety of people and businesses that have achieved what you want to achieve. It may not be one person who has all of the same goals, models, and values that you have. You may need a few different people and businesses to study.
- Ask for help. In some cases, you may have to hire them. Others may be glad to share their experiences. The point is you need THESE people as part of your team.
- And don’t forget to look in the Bible. Much of what we need to learn, people have been re-learning for thousands of years. Seeking God’s counsel will always lead to greater wisdom.
“Better was a poor and wise youth than an old and foolish king who no longer knew how to take advice.” Eccl. 4:13