Find a mentor, as early as you can

My biggest regret is not finding a mentor earlier on into my journey.

When I was planning to start my business I was keen to find a mentor. I was entering a sector in which I had very little knowledge. I needed help to construct a targeted marketing plan. I knew there were people out there who had already been through this process and could guide me through it in order to prevent me from making obvious (to those in the know) mistakes to achieve success more quickly. I wasn’t looking for shortcuts, just more efficient ways to do things.

Something I hadn’t considered was how much culture could change between industries. In my former world, everything I needed to research was on the internet. In my new world of micro bakery, the knowledge was held by the community and you went online once you knew specifically what you were looking for. A mentor in the bakery sector would have been able to point me the right direction to make my own choices – but from meaningful and relevant sources.

Another thing that caught me out was the impact the new day to day environment would have on me. A mentor would have supported me in the planning process to ensure that I was setting realistic timeframes in which to achieve my goals.

A great resource is The Institute of Enterprise and Entrepreneurs (IOEE) which is a great community network. As well as promoting Mentorsme, they are also offering free membership to potential and early stage start-ups as they recognise that the earlier people seek quality support to start or grow their business the more successful they are.

My reluctance to pay for a service that I felt I should have been able to cope without left me disadvantaged. It’s my mission to help others prevent making the same mistake. Find a mentor. Let them support you to on your path to success. They are the hidden gems that can make or break a business in it’s first twelve months as well as support it throughout growth.

Rekha Mehr, who contributed this blog, is founder and owner of Pistachio Rose, a London-based business creating high-end Anglo-Indian cakes and sweets.