One of the most creative ways to keep your small business fresh and ahead of the curve is with a reverse mentor. Although it’s not a new practice, many small business owners fail to effectively employ this fruitful source of social capital as a means to keep their business progressive.
When you know you’re ready for bigger things but just not quite sure how to get there, consider a reverse mentor. A reverse mentor is a mentor who is a “junior” instead of a “senior” to the mentee. A mentor who is at least 15 years younger than you, but can provide you with a current “lay of the land” view on a wide variety of issues that directly affect the direction and future of your business and industry. The reverse mentor, young professionals, benefits from your expertise and experience and you benefit from the following:
Source of energy and sense of urgency. Speed to market has never been faster. Young professionals are more adept at creating products/services, getting them to the market and tweaking them as they go. Traditionally, products/services went through a series of tests and focus groups before being “released” to the public. Perfection is replaced by constructive adaptation. Use the natural energy, novel perspective and “out of the box” thinking that comes with inspired young professionals to flesh out the present needs and concerns of your market.
“Know it all” prevention. The first step in recovery is admitting that we have a problem. Well, the first step in transformation is recognizing we don’t know everything and learning how to forget what we do know. Relinquishing a bit of control means we’ve increased our capacity to listen and accept other thoughts and ideas. Reverse mentors can help you unlearn static business practices that prohibit progress. They adapt to current industry and world changes much quicker. They can help you stay nimble and flexible. When you re-think the status quo, you increase opportunities for the kind of change that generates growth.
Simplicity. Young professionals have a way of streamlining practices. With the continual advancement of technology, businesses can perform vital activities with greater speed and efficiency. Simplicity lends to easy implementation and mobility. Because of their innate agility, reverse mentors can give you a “birds eye view” on where the time consuming bottlenecks are and how to open up the lanes of productivity.
Experiment with innovation and creativity. Ideas and concepts are born out of change and needs. Technology and innovation is generally lead by younger generations. Keep your finger on the pulse of trend-setting technology and innovation in your industry by seeking the advice of young entrepreneurs. Your opportunity to be disruptive can be exponentialized.
Reverse mentors and young professionals are the fountain of youth for your business. You have to have the right mental attitude to effectively work with a reverse mentor. There is no room for ego or emotion. Channel those thoughts and that energy into the confidence, courage and competence needed to stretch beyond your comfort zone and embrace what the future holds for you, your market and your industry. Mixing apples and oranges can sometimes be a good thing. When you craft a formula that includes the best of the old and the advancements of the new, you get growth and development that balances the status quo with continual change.
Success is not measured by the quantity of your stumbles but the quality of your recoveries. Life doesn't get easier. You have to get smarter. Consider this, do you want to spend you time and energy struggling to sell the same things to the same people, or do you want your own niche with minimal competition and with customers who wouldn’t want to go anywhere else? Micro Business Therapy™ offers you a simplified, real and digestible way to identify your strengths and weaknesses and how to use them both for sustainable growth. Revitalize. Reimage. Persevere.
Feel that tingling in your fingertips? That’s the magnetic urge to learn more about Micro Business Therapy... start here. Micro Business Therapist, A.Michelle Blakeley, is a small business professional with extensive experience in business organization and has successfully counseled hundreds of small business owners through the daily challenges of operating a small business.