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The Green SheetGreen Sheet

The Green Sheet Online Edition

May 10, 2010 • Issue 10:05:01

Inspiration

Get on track with a business mentor

When it comes to striving for business goals, some of us need a stronger push than others. As ISOs and merchant level salespeople, many of you created a business plan, wrote down your goals, set up shop and then quickly became very busy, perhaps even too busy to regularly review your goals.

This is understandable because a career as a payment professional typically entails becoming a business owner who not only closes sales but also makes sure the phones are working, the copier is supplied with paper, the bills are paid and so on.

And the more your business grows, the greater your responsibilities become.

Before long, those wonderful goals you wrote down in your business plan might seem like a distant memory. If you feel overwhelmed sometimes, that's normal; however, if you lose sight of your goals, your business could eventually fail.

If it's been a while since you've revisited your written goals, don't panic. A business mentor can help you get on track.

Now, a mentor won't take your place as a business owner or do any work for you. A mentor will be like a friend, but one who provides objectivity, not opportunities to socialize.

A mentor can help you reach goals and see the path to success clearly as you continue to do the work required of you day to day.

Benefits of having a mentor

Here are a number of reasons to have a mentor:

  • Mentoring gives you one-on-one business counseling when you need it (and sometimes when you don't feel you need it but really do).

  • A mentor can view your business from a different perspective. While you're busy handling operations, managing employees and keeping up with paperwork, your mentor can provide creative ideas and help you organize your time and implement steps to improve the business.

  • A mentor can also help you avoid pitfalls because he or she has gone before you and knows what obstacles lie ahead for a business owner.

This kind of guidance is priceless in the business world.

How to choose a mentor

First, locate candidates for the job:

  • Research the top business owners in the payments industry. You might find someone who owns a business similar to yours but is working a different market segment or region and is not in direct competition with you.

  • Ask friends and relatives if they know of someone who might be able to mentor you.

  • Seek resources online if you frequent the Web or if you own an Internet-based business.

Next, set up short interviews with promising candidates. And keep the following in mind while making a decision:

  • Seek a mentor who is friendly and eager to help. If someone is an industry leader but is aloof and has no time for you, you will derive little from the relationship.

  • Select someone trustworthy. You'll likely reveal sensitive information about your business and personal life, so you'll want to be sure your mentor can be trusted completely.

  • Find a mentor who started a payments industry business from the bottom up, someone who went step by step from nothing to greatness. Don't pick someone who inherited a thriving business from a family member, for example.

  • Be sure your mentor understands business marketing, sales, technology and customer service issues. Your mentor should be able to help you improve in all these areas and offer you wisdom drawn from experience. (And don't be afraid to ask for proof of results.

    If the mentor can show you tangible sales increases in his or her company that resulted from the techniques being recommended to you, you'll have more confidence to implement the concepts.)

The right mentor can guide you through the painstaking, but fruitful, process of building your business. So smile, take a breath: with the right mentor, your goals are within reach. end of article

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