Brendan Singbeil is a 33-year-old entrepreneur who started his business, Navigate Apparel, which works with companies, teams and schools to create revenue generating merchandise programs. Barbara Quinn is an owner and operator of a successful management and HR consulting firm which advises executive teams and boards of directors with strategic planning, evaluating and coaching, and designing organizations to maximize efficiency. What do Brendan and Barb have in common? More than you think.
Barb was matched with Brendan when Brendan applied for moMENTum through Futurpreneur Canada, a program that offers young entrepreneurs between the ages of 18-39 with business mentorship for six months. With the years of experience Barb had in consulting and human resources, as well as her experience of building a multi-million dollar organization herself, she brought to Brendan a wealth of knowledge that could help him and his new business.
Since originally being match, the pair’s relationship has expanded well beyond the initial six months of the program, and they still meet today. Brendan explains that Barb’s many years of experience enables her to give great feedback and she always is able to give a dose of reality to him when it’s needed. “She’s been unbelievably supportive of me and our meetings always leave me energized and excited about the direction my business is going,” he shares. “She’s been instrumental in helping guide my plans for growth through sales and marketing planning.”
Deciding to become a mentor to entrepreneurs wasn’t a tough decision for Barb. She believes that as an experienced entrepreneur, she has the responsibility to grow the next generation of entrepreneurs in Canada. “I felt I had real experience and insights to offer and could help entrepreneurs learn from my successes, but perhaps more importantly, learn from my mistakes,” she explained. The mentoring relationship between Brendan and Barb has not only brought benefits to Brendan and his business, but also to Barb. She believes that through mentoring her reputation has increased, which was a big surprise to her because she didn’t expect mentoring to benefit her professionally too.
But what makes Brendan and Barb’s relationship work so well for one another? From day one the pair made a commitment to one another that if they put in the work; they’ll be there for one another. They also took the time at the beginning of the relationship to get to know each other and learn what was most important. Brendan explained that the fact that he feels comfortable speaking with Barb about anything without judgement has made it easier for them to build rapport and get the most of one another in their meetings.
How can you ensure such a beneficial mentor/mentee relationship like Barb and Brendan’s? The pair has a few tips for other pairs to be as successful and equally beneficial as they have been to one another:
Brendan: “Be open with your mentor and don’t try to hide anything – the relationship works best when you trust each other and there’s a rapport between the two of you. Also, acknowledging the work and effort that the mentor is putting in goes a long way.”
Barb: “Treat the person you are mentoring as if they are one of your premiere and elite clients and are paying for the service. Be prepared, with clear processes and deliverables so that the person can apply the knowledge and it doesn’t become just a fireside chat.”
Mentorship can be incredibly beneficial for the next generation of entrepreneurs. Barb explained that it allows them to not only be successful but be more successful more quickly. “There are just so many areas where it’s impossible to know the right thing to do every time. There’s only so much time in a day and so much that you can learn on your own,” Brendan shares. “Having a mentor gives you an amazing resource because they know you and your business and you get incredible, targeted feedback that is immediately actionable.”
Written By: Lauren Marinigh, Social Media & Content Specialist, Futurpreneur Canada