Over the past 15 years of coaching new BAM ventures, I have come to understand the importance of mentors. I believe that every business as mission startup should have a BAM mentor. Actually, I think that BAM ventures at every stage would benefit from having a mentor in their life.
So why do I feel so strongly that you should have a BAM mentor?
I can think of 4 good reasons why everyone should have mentor…and I am sure there are many more.
4 Reasons You Need a BAM Mentor
#1 – Practical business advice
The best type of business mentor would be someone who has experience in your actual business sector. I know that this is not always possible but it is what we shoot for. If you are running a restaurant, find someone with restaurant experience. If you are doing tourism, then get a mentor in that field. That said, finding a mentor with any practical business experience is better than not having a mentor at all.
The beauty of having a mentor with specific business experience is that they have already made the mistakes that you will face. They understand the pitfalls in the industry. They know what are the most important areas of the business to focus on.
Quick Example: Are you a parent of a teen or young adult? Or do you know someone who is in that stage of life right now? Why is it that many young adults have a hard time listening to their parents. Although the parents give sounds advice (learned from their own past mistakes), many young people think they need to try for themselves. I’ve heard people say, “I can’t really understand until I have gone through it myself.” Really, why not just learn from people who have gone before you? Why go through the same pain? Why not just listen and learn?
The same scenario is true in business. There is no need to make unnecessary mistakes when you have people who have gone before you. Listen and learn from your mentors.
If you have a BAM mentor, ask them for advice. Don’t just ask…listen! Hopefully your mentor can give you solid business advice that will help save you time, energy, money & stress.
#2 – Running a business can feel lonely
Anyone who has started a business knows that running a business is tough. There are hundreds of decisions that need to be made every day / week. You have the responsibility of making payroll. The ultimate success of the business lies on your shoulders (sort of).
Running a business can feel lonely.
Think about dealing with employee issues. You can’t discuss this with your office staff. You shouldn’t talk about it with your friends or neighbors. If you have a BAM mentor, you can share your concerns with this person & get their take on the situation. You don’t need to use real names but you can still get some valuable insights from a 3rd party.
Think about struggling to meet payroll. You don’t want to cause fear or panic among your employees. Who can you talk to about your concerns? Your BAM mentor is a perfect person to share your own personal fears about running the business & generating the income needed.
Just having someone walking with your on your journey is a huge blessing.
#3 – We all need accountability
I’ve heard it said, “We all love accountability in areas that we are good at.” However, the reality is that we need accountability in areas that we are not so good at.
Quick story: I remember coaching one young entrepreneur in North Africa. At the beginning of our relationship, he actually asked for daily accountability. He set his daily tasks and I would check in every day to see if he completed them. He needed this type of strict accountability. Over the next months, we gradually moved to weekly checkins. Finally, he was able to set monthly goals & accomplish them. It was fun to watch this man grow in his ability to set goals and stay on task.
One of the hardest parts of running a business is “execution.” We tend to do things that we like to do or are good at. The only problem is that these very things are not the most important tasks to drive the business forward.
Working with a business mentor who can hold you accountable to the “most important” tasks (ones that actually move the business forward) is vital. This small but important concept could make or break your business.
#4 – Life is more than just business
Finally, it is great to have a mentor in your life who can keep their eyes on the big picture. Life is not all about business or success in our work. When doing business as mission, you also need to remember your walk with Jesus, your family, team, local relationships, etc…
Find a mentor that understands the importance of a thriving life. Give them the freedom to ask you about your family, team & most importantly your heart.
Start every call with a simple question: “How is your soul?”
Your action step:
If you are just starting out in BAM, find yourself a mentor. Ideally, find someone who has lived overseas, has business experience & even worked in your industry. Ask them if they would be willing to walk with you through this BAM journey.
If you are already running a business (and you don’t have a mentor), then be honest with yourself. Identity the areas where you need the most help & find a mentor who can help hold you accountable or give you help in those areas.
If you already have a mentor, ask yourself this question: “What is the most important area of my life that I need my mentor to check in on?” Then talk to them about it & start working on it.
There is no reason to walk this journey alone! Find a mentor today.