Steve started his career as a geologist in the oil and gas business. After progressing through technical work, Steve discovered a passion for helping companies and people grow, and has been doing just that as a volunteer mentor working with young entrepreneurs launching their Futurpreneur-supported businesses.
While your first thought about launching your business might be to find a mentor in the same or similar industry, Steve reminds us that businesses are built on a standard set of core pillars that are transferrable across industries.
“I thought my business was specialized, I thought that IT business was specialized, I thought the food services business was specialized, but at the end of the day they’re not – they’re all just businesses,” says Steve.
“At the end of the day business is business. It doesn’t matter what the business is – there are fundamentals to making a business work, so as long as you can keep people focused on their growth and on their business’ growth, things work out pretty well.”
Steve values the personal connections fostered through mentoring most, and his passion filters into the success of Futurpreneur-supported entrepreneurs like husband-and-wife team Ed and Natasha Tatton of plant-based bakery BReD (@eds_bred) in Whistler B.C.
“Watching people grow is the most rewarding part about mentoring. It’s so rewarding to see these people grow, to see these businesses change, to see people go from a 20-year old that is scrounging for macaroni and cheese to people with their own kids and families,” says Steve.
“It’s not the business that grows that is appealing to me; it’s watching people grow and expand their horizons that’s truly rewarding for me.”
Read Steve’s advice for young entrepreneurs launching their small business.
I think one of the biggest misconceptions is that you have enough money, because you never do.
My advice would be: if you think you have enough money, double it.
The second biggest issue is that you won’t have as much time to spend as you think you do. Make sure you achieve a balance. If you don’t balance your time, you’ll begin to begrudge your work for taking away from other parts of your life, and begin to begrudge your life for taking away from your work.
I think that entrepreneurs or people that are starting businesses, because of the amount of time that you have to commit, you need to think about how close to the edge you can stand.
At times you can stand very close to the edge and the void you face is colossal. There is so much stuff that you don’t know and so many things that will come up to bite you, that standing at the edge is a pretty scary place. The closer to the edge you get, the bigger the abyss looks. You really need to think carefully about whether or not you want to commit to starting a new business. It can become an all consuming life.
One of the things that I’ve observed, particularly the difference between men entrepreneurs and women entrepreneurs, is women entrepreneurs will usually be more successful because women entrepreneurs are willing to seek out and ask for advice. Men generally don’t. Ask for help. Broaden your network of advisors.
The one piece of advice I wish I knew when I started my career is that I could go and talk to somebody, because most people are willing to help. People want to see other people succeed, and if the person doesn’t want to see you succeed, you need to talk to somebody else because there’s somebody out there who will give you some advice that will help you succeed.
I think what makes a successful mentor-mentee relationship is the seeking out of advice, and I think it really is on the shoulders of the protégé – the mentee – to seek out the advice.
I’m not going to chase my own mentees to give them my advice; I’m going to leave that to them. I’m always available and they can call me whenever, and if they need me that’s great, and if they don’t then that’s up to them.
Find out more about mentoring at Futurpreneur here