Entrepreneurship can be as rewarding as it is challenging – and the same can be said about mentorship.
Building a company from the ground up takes courage, commitment, and a whole lot of hard work. Entrepreneurs also need support, whether it’s business advice or encouragement to keep going. Fortunately, our Futurpreneur Canada mentors are more than up to the task when it comes to guiding and supporting a young entrepreneur’s journey.
James Grieve is one of our mentors in Kelowna, British Columbia. He is a partner at customer experience design firm Nucleus Strategies, as well as a certified management consultant (CMC), certified sales professional (CSP) and certified customer experience professional (CCXP) with two undergraduate business degrees and an MBA under his belt.
He’s also passionate about entrepreneurship and spends his spare time volunteering as a mentor for a variety of organizations, including the Women’s Resource Centre, Kelowna Community Resources, Accelerate Okanagan, University of British Columbia and Okanagan College.
“I feel that it is important for young entrepreneurs to have mentors to help them navigate the complexities of starting a business,” says James. “Entrepreneurship can be stressful, and mentorship is a way to alleviate some of the stress by listening, caring, and sharing experiences and providing advice and connections that will help young entrepreneurs avoid pitfalls and achieve success faster.”
James first wanted to become a mentor to learn from others and share his experience and knowledge with them in ways that would support them in achieving their personal and professional goals. Coupled with his wide-ranging career which has spanned the fields of professional sports, gaming, entertainment, manufacturing and professional services, James knew he had a lot to offer aspiring entrepreneurs.
“I believe that I have a personal responsibility to give back to others, and by sharing my time and mentoring others, I feel that I can make a positive difference in their lives and make their businesses more successful,” says James.
Living by the mantra of ‘well done is better than well said,’ he emphasizes listening, learning and implementing initiatives that will make a positive and sustainable difference in the lives of others in his mentorship.
Still, even with his extensive experience, each mentoring relationship comes with its own set of challenges.
“The biggest challenge of mentoring is setting the scope of the mentoring engagement and gaining agreement with mentees to stick to tasks and the plan,” says James, who adds that communication and commitment can help overcome these kinds of issues.
Another challenge he faces is knowing when to provide his expertise to solve his mentees’ problems and when to let them figure things out on their own. However, he says basing the mentee/mentor relationship on trust, mutual respect, consistency, positivity, enthusiasm, a sense of urgency and attention to detail can really go a long way.
“Combined, these attributes form the basis of a winning formula whereby taking care of the little things will enable the mentor and mentee to let the big things take care of themselves,” explains James.
But even though it can be a demanding role at times, it’s the ability to meet other entrepreneurs, feel their passion for their ideas, and help them achieve their goals that fuels James’ fire for mentorship, day in and day out.
“The best experience is when entrepreneurs progress from understanding to exploring to materializing their business ideas. That is really fun and exciting,” says James.
Interested in becoming a volunteer mentor? Click here.
Written by: Jasmine Williams, Social Media and Content Specialist, Futurpreneur Canada