One question that often arises in business, is whether you should get a business mentor. For some, it’s seen as an unnecessary expense, whilst others see it as a necessary step to business success.

The water also gets muddied somewhat, when you see how many business mentors and coaches are advertising their services and programs on the different social media platforms. There’s a seemingly vast array of coaches focusing on different niches and covering a wide spectrum of pricing. Many of them insisting it’s a necessary expense, one you simply must invest in, regardless of whether you have the available funds or need to go deeply into debt to cover.

But really, how important is it to have a business mentor or coach? Does it affect your business growth and overall success, or is it something you can do without?

Do you need a business mentor or coach?

Strictly speaking, you don’t need a business mentor or coach, as you can run a business on your own – but do you want to run it on your own with no advice or input from anyone else? More importantly, will it help or hinder your business growth, if you do?

Bottom line, having a business mentor or coach is about having support and guidance – something we all can benefit from, no matter what stage we’re at or how confident we are in our abilities and general knowledge.

Can you afford to invest in a business mentor?

That being said, you have to look at the financial implications of investing in a business mentor or coach. I believe that it’s good to stretch yourself and your comfort zone a bit, especially when it comes to investing in your business – but not to the detriment of your health, relationship or finances.

What do I mean by that? Well any large financial investment will feel uncomfortable, especially if you’re not yet earning enough to fully cover it. However, if you’re investing in a good mentor, you’ll recoup that investment quickly, as you implement everything you’re learning. If however, you’re going seriously into debt or going short in other essential areas (food, rent/mortgage etc) to cover that investment, do not invest in a mentor or coach just yet.

This doesn’t mean you can’t benefit from their guidance and advice. Instead, join their online communities and follow their podcasts and blogs etc. Look at following and implementing their free and lower priced options, until you’re in a better financial position. Alternatively, find out if they have a scholarship or payment plan that will make the payments more financially viable for you.

It’s helpful to know what the pitfalls are and how to avoid them

Working with a business mentor or coach enables you to access their knowledge bank. This means you get the benefit of hindsight, often without the downside of making a wrong turn in your business. You can learn from your business mentor’s knowledge and journey.

This is why it’s crucial that you hire a mentor that suits your niche and your needs. A general business coach can definitely help you with general business strategy and growth. If however, you’re looking to avoid the pitfalls and mistakes many VAs make in their businesses, a VA business mentor who has already set up and successfully run their own VA business, will be your best fit.

When it comes to business growth, we often stand in our own way

Another common reason we look to hire a business mentor or coach, is simply because we can’t always see how to get where we want to be. It’s easy to see that you’re holding yourself back from something, but not always clear on how or why. Talking it through with a business mentor or coach enables you to uncover your own solutions, as well as getting valuable insight and advice from someone on the outside.

Another set of eyes on your plans, strategies and processes could even highlight that you’re not doing anything wrong – you may be missing a step, or focusing on the next action before you’ve completed the prior one.

Being held accountable, keeps you actionable

One thing a good business mentor or coach will do, is hold you accountable for your actions. If you know you’re being held accountable, it often gives you the desire to achieve more and aim even higher, than you may otherwise have done. That accountability doesn’t have to be face-to-face, even the request to email a weekly update, can help keep you on target with something you may otherwise avoid or procrastinate over.

What’s important is to remember that you’re in control of your business and, as the CEO of your own business, you’re in charge. However, having some form of accountability in place will ultimately hold you accountable for your own actions. A business coach or mentor isn’t there to tell you off for not doing the things you’ve said you’ll do – they’re there for you to get your intentions down and hold yourself accountable to making them happen.

A business mentor can help you grow faster and further

Starting a business for yourself isn’t a small thing. It takes motivation, dedication, trust, self-belief and a whole host of other strengths and emotions. When you first set out, you doubt how high you can realistically go, how much you’re capable of earning and whether you can actually do what you want to do. A business mentor or coach can often see where you’re aiming and help you not only reach it, but go further, faster. They can see your business and personal potential, without the filter of your fears and beliefs, and see what you’re truly capable of achieving.

Strictly speaking, a business mentor or coach isn’t needed – it isn’t a case of hire one, or you’re business will fail. However, a business mentor or coach can help you get where you want to go faster, and with a less uncertainty and error. As with any investment, you need to ensure it is the best option for you, and one you can realistically afford – otherwise it’s best to look at what other free and affordable options are available to you.

If you’re looking to get help and advice around your VA business, take a look around the VACT website. Not only are there free and low-cost options available to you (make sure you join my free Facebook community!) there’s also various training courses, one day VA Masterminds and coaching packages – all of which you can check out here.