As I combed through my past business ventures, my clients, and other small business owners , I realized that having a good mentor has been a key to just about every successful small business. Mentors can range from a former boss, a relative, or somebody in the industry who is willing to lend advice and a helping hand.
In my case, I sought out my mentor on my my first day as a Sales Rep (a million years ago!). I had just started my own rep business by basically becoming a sub-rep to existing firms that didn't have an office in Phoenix. The national sales manager for my biggest product was in town, and we met at the office of one of my accounts to do some ’sales.’ I showed up in sandals and shorts. What a lesson. This national sales manager realized right away that I needed help. Over the next two years, he became the mentor I needed. I called him for advice. I asked him to visit my accounts frequently. We had very different selling styles, but we had the same goal: increase sales.
Today, I credit my success in that venture to my mentor. I was able to increase my sales from $1.9M to over $3.5M in just over two years thanks to his mentorship. The bottom line here is that I recommend you go out and find that mentor. It can be a friend, family, competitor, or somebody on the verge of retirement. Seek him/her out, ask for a lunch meeting, and let them know you’re looking for a mentor. It may just be the difference you’re company needs!
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