If you run a business, you need advice even if you are really intelligent. But, what types of people are best to give advice? Sometimes it is not so obvious. The guy who hangs out at the bakery might give you good advice, but more often than not, you will need the types we are going to discuss below.
1. Someone who knows you
Someone who knows you well might not understand your business, but they know what makes you tick. They knew how you were as a child, and know what works for you and what doesn’t. Their input matters and you should consider it although they don’t know enough to make final decisions for you.
. Someone who understands business in general
It might be hard to find people who understand your exact industry or the current technology that you are using. But, basic business aptitude never goes out of style. Even a general from the 1400’s might be a good business coach for you as they know how to deal with soldiers which is a little like dealing with employees. Some with business knowledge understands hiring, firing, marketing, management, and a lot of other very basic types of business skills.
3. Someone who understands your industry or business
It is good to also get advice form people who know the type of business that you are in who did well. If you are in the plumbing business, someone older and more successful than you might be able to give you quite a few pointers.
4. Someone who understands parts of the technology you use.
If you need to focus on innovation for a year or two, that might not be the core of your business, but someone like Steve Jobs would be perfect to help you out assuming they were alive and had time. If you were doing more marketing with social media, someone who was a crackerjack with social media would be helpful to guide you along your way. Although those “specialist mentors” might not understand your business well, they could be very helpful with specific types of endeavors.
Having the right mix of mentors is critical to your success, so don’t overlook this. Additionally, having high quality mentors in all four of these departments is another huge issue. There are people who are shortsighted, in a hurry, or limited in their thinking. Those people will not help you see the bigger picture or isolate what is important to think about. You need mentors who can help you make two or three really important decisions that will change your entire business around. Sure there will be other decisions too, but it is the life changing ones that count the most. If you get the wrong mentors, they will suggest petty changes here and there, but your overall success will not change much.