When most entrepreneurs look for mentors, they tend to look for generic “business mentors.” People who can help guide them on their path to success. However, entrepreneurs often forget to look for niche mentors. Often times looking for niche mentors is better than trying to find a general business mentor.
What is a “Niche Mentor?”
A niche mentor is someone who knows just one specific area of your business model very, very well. Let’s say you’re a rapidly expanding eCommerce website. You’re getting to the point where you need to switch from dropshipping to running a warehouse. Unfortunately, neither you nor anyone on your staff has any experience running a fulfillment operation….
- You don’t know what the right equipment is.
- You don’t know the processes.
- You wouldn’t know a good employee from a bad one.
- You don’t have a clue where to start
Instead of looking for a generic “business mentor,” you should instead be looking for someone who understands just fulfillment exceptionally well. That may not be easy, but it saves wasting a huge amount of time and money. It’s the difference between success and failure.
The idea of a niche mentor applies to just about every business. The expertise you need might be financial, it might be technical, it might be in manufacturing, it might be working abroad. Whatever the business need is, it makes more sense to look for mentors in a very specific arena, with a specific skillset rather than generic mentors.
Work Out Where You Need Mentoring
Break your business down by all the different areas of expertise needed. To continue the eCommerce example, the breakdown might look something like this:
- Ability to generate traffic
- Ability to run the web software
- Ability to find wholesalers and distributors
- Ability to run fulfillment
- Ability to find investors
You might look for mentors in each of these individual areas. Some arenas, like finding investors, can be addressed by a business coach if it’s for a small amount of money and a specialist advisor if its a bigger amount of money. Things like internet marketing need a specific skillset and they many not be found in a general marketing coach. As I mentioned in 5 ways an internet marketing mentor can boost your business, I’ve hired in help to address specific issues that I’ve had and together we’ve worked hard and got great results.
Some of These Mentors Can Be Hired
When you’re looking at a broad business mentor, you’re usually looking at someone who has a very casual relationship to your company. You might only meet with them for coffee once every week or two. That’s because these kinds of mentors tend to be high networth individuals. You won’t be able to bring them onto your team unless they’re also investors – they are trading their knowledge for a higher reward than a wage.
Alternatively niche mentors don’t have to be high networth individuals. For example, an expert on how to run a great blog probably isn’t a millionaire. You’ll often be able to hire these people and bring them onto your team and everyone benefits. I have mentoring clients where I coach a department on a specific skill and approach rather than just one person.
Your staff can be your mentors. As Michael Dell says, your core group of employees should always be smarter than you. You shouldn’t be dragging your employees to the next level; instead they could be pulling you up.
If you are looking to boost your business, look for the niche mentor, the one that knows the ins and outs of your business.
The’re the ones who’ll help you get the best results
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