What value do we put on advice? Have you ever stopped to think that your life, and everything you have learned has been through the means of conversations, social interactions and education? All of these occurrences, whether it be a coffee with an old friend or tutoring session you had in high school, have great things in common; talking, listening and advice. Although you may not remember what your math tutor necessarily said to you, if they were great, they probably encouraged you or gave you tips on how to solve problems. These occurrences and relationships are what grow people.
With that being said, it’s clear that a good way to grow as a person is to surround yourself with people who want to see you succeed and realize your dreams and goals. If you’ve been thinking of starting a business or you have a really unique and innovative idea, I’m sure your education, a how-to business book for dummies or the internet can be of great use to help you begin. Despite this, they all lack that important relationship. Mentorship is the pillar in every business. Whether it was an intended mentor or just someone in your life that you were inspired by, it is a crucial aspect of starting your own business. Most people would be okay with admitting that they don’t know everything but in case the people in the back didn’t hear: you don’t know EVERTYHING.
Mentorship is a great aspect of what Futurpreneur Canada has to offer. Not only is financing a huge part of the program, but the two-year mentorship program is what we have noticed, to make or break businesses. Entrepreneurs that utilize everything a mentor has to offer have a greater chance of survival in the first five years of their business. To highlight this point, we’ve decided to catch up with one of our mentor/mentee relationships that started here at Futurpreneur.
From British Columbia’s Greater Vancouver Area, Legacy Advantage is a bookkeeping service company that was founded by Bob Wang. The father of a newly born daughter teamed together with his wife to start his company in their residing area. When Bob was looking to start his business, he could have turned to any bank. Futurpreneur was his choice of financing because of the unique mentorship offering. After his business idea was in the works, Futurpreneur paired him with a mentor, David Reed. David is an established business man, with 44 years of experience, who previously owned a large firm before selling it off to a competitor. The proud grandfather of ten grandchildren has decided to now focus on mentorship and running his family’s real estate business.
Bob, as incredibly motivated and knowledgeable in the accounting and bookkeeping industry he is, he too, faced some challenges during the beginning stages of launching his business. “With a service business, the challenge is always with people. Finding the right person, training them to be better and keeping them engaged for as long as possible,” Bob admits. In saying this, he has found ways to overcome this obstacle by adjusting their assessment strategy and with the implementation of important training programs. Bob’s company offers a leadership development weekend, once a month. “I truly believe that everything rises and falls on leadership,” he says. That is why he has made the extra effort to ensure that the team leadership is developed constantly and overtime. Bob also offers a Financial Intelligence Training program that makes an effort to highlight the various financial concepts. He does this through using various case studies so that the associates have all the necessary skills to add value to their clients.
Mentorship is a unique relationship that can vary from person-to-person. Some entrepreneurs need a lot of advice because of the lack of experience in certain aspects of business. Others have more experience but have trouble with the emotional aspect of being an entrepreneur. Being your own boss and leading others is a huge commitment and that is scary. In this pair’s case, the relationship was described as supportive in various ways. “In the beginning, he helped me identify many risks that I hadn’t yet addressed, such as contacts, insurance handbooks, etc. Then, his main roles was helping me manage my emotions,” he says. David believes that in his case, it is his “duty to pass on the positive learning experiences that make us up” also adding that “we can save your people a lot of time and grief with just a few minutes of dialogue.” David and Bob’s once a month meeting schedule has given Bob the opportunity to make a list of concerns and questions that he has, and get important feedback from his mentor to hopefully solve them.
It all started with Bob’s dream. He wanted to see small-medium sized businesses get the financial reporting services that they desperately needed to understand where they stand financially. His core values and dedication, alongside the help of Futurpreneur, and his incredibly insightful mentor David, Bob has found growing success in this short period of time. His company grew from zero to fifteen employees and they are on track in hitting $1 million in sales this fiscal year. Legacy Advantage currently has two operating offices in BC, with another office to open up in the next two years in Alberta.
As you can see, mentoring relationships add value and create situations were entrepreneurs do not feel alone. Getting the extra help, especially in the first few years of your launch, can make or break your company for many reasons. If you have experience in entrepreneurship and would like to help an aspiring entrepreneur in their journey to succeeding, consider becoming a mentor today!
For more information on how to become a mentor today, please click here.
Written by: Sara Pivato, Social Media and Content Intern, Futurpreneur Canada