Many business leaders and entrepreneurs share a similar story of how they began their career. It usually starts with a lot of late nights, trial and error, and a good deal of ‘faking-it-till-you-make it’. Whether it was starting their own business or working their way up through an existing company, they had to fight to get ahead and the struggle fell squarely on their shoulders.
For others, there was another way. Not to say that success ever comes easy, but for some fortunate businessmen and women, there was a support system in place that allowed them to avoid unnecessary bumps and bruises and be just a little less lonely in their pursuit. They had a mentor.
If you’re reading this today, chances are you fall into one of these two groups. If you were lucky enough to have a mentor, do you ever wish you could pay it forward and help someone the way they helped you? If you never had a mentor, would you like to make sure that new entrepreneurs and future business leaders don’t have to struggle alone like you did?
Either way, sharing the benefits of mentoring is easier than you think.
MicroMentor’s online community of entrepreneurs and volunteer business mentors works together to share knowledge, advice, and know-how in what can be a very isolating profession. The 47,000 entrepreneurs who have joined MicroMentor are people not so different from yourself, looking to realize their dreams, support their families, and make changes in their communities. And the mentors are a dedicated group of volunteers sharing their tricks of the trade and developing a greater sense of purpose along the way.
Take Brian and Karim for example.
Karim is a young social entrepreneur from Guinea who’s non-profit dental clinic Dentistes du Sud provides discounted dental services, supplies, and dental hygiene education to local community members who wouldn’t otherwise be able to afford such services.
Brian is a former start-up/mid-sized/Fortune 50 Executive and most notably the founding COO of Build-a-Bear who was looking to give back by supporting entrepreneurs driven to make a positive impact on their communities.
While considering opening up another location to those most in need, Karim consulted with Brian, whose experience managing hundreds of Build-a-Bear stores around the globe lead him to warn Karim of the dangers of overextending himself with a second location. Instead, Brian suggested that he build a larger customer base through active outreach in his community. Instead of opening a second location, Karim visited schools, churches, malls, and orphanages to hand out tickets for free exams. He took a more active role in promoting dental health in his community and used the profits from the clinic to buy toothbrushes and toothpaste that he would distribute every Saturday. Within three months, Karim’s waiting room was full.
As of 2018, Karim still has only one location but has tripled his customer base, doubled his revenue, hired three full-time employees, and improved the dental health of an estimated 12,000 local community members. As Brian says, “While Karim fits the mold of a classic entrepreneur – smart, industrious, and motivated – he is incredibly modest about his success”. Karim has never taken a salary from his clinic and instead lives off of his many side businesses, including goats, watermelons, cashews, and a small store he operates with his mother. But if you ask him who inspires him, he would undoubtedly point to his mentor and friend Brian, who has helped him create real value in serving others.
While Brian helped Kraim to unleash the power of his idea, Brian, like many mentors, found that he received much more than he gave. Anyone who has been a mentor or a teacher knows that they grow from the experience and often end up learning more than those they are teaching.
How do you know if you are ready to be a mentor? Were you touched by Karim’s success? Do you appreciate the value of small businesses? Would you like to change someone’s life for the better? You have the chance to do all of that with MicroMentor. Use your knowledge and experience to help an entrepreneur who needs a bit of guidance. You may just learn a little bit about yourself and make a friend along the way.
About MicroMentor: MicroMentor’s free and easy to use online platform enables the world’s largest community of purpose-driven entrepreneurs and business mentors to create powerful connections, solve problems and build successful businesses together. We strive to overcome geographical limitations and deliver business resources at scale to underserved communities around the globe through mentoring. Sign up today and begin your mentoring journey!