Chapter 4

DOES A MENTOR REALLY MATTER?

Aside from being a trusted advisor one can rely on for honest feedback, a mentor can help entrepreneurs see the bigger picture and nurture potential. How do you find the right source of this inspiration? In Chapter 4, Nelisiwe Masango and Mariam Jakoet Harris share a bit more about their personal approaches to seeking guidance from mentors on their small business journeys.

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BEAR RUN INVESTMENTS: CHAPTER 4

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NELISIWE ON MENTORS

Nelisiwe Masango kicks off Chapter 4 with news of a successful event she ran to empower women in financial independence; an area she’s very passionate about. On the monthly topic of mentors, she highlights the importance of having someone you can trust and rely on for business guidance.

Nelisiwe doesn’t have a specific mentor but gets advice from various people, and sources such as autobiographies and documentaries. By “stepping in to their shoes” she’s able to learn and get inspiration. In her view, a mentor is someone who doesn’t necessarily give you answers or dictate what to do but rather poses questions that allow you to consider your own solutions. “Having a mentor would help in achieving long-term goals.”

There’s no right or wrong way to pick a mentor but having someone who knows your industry is beneficial, as they’ll understand the nuances of your daily business. “You want to draw from different people”, she says, and suggests seeking mentorship from one or two people who you respect so you can build a foundation to grow yourself and your business.

A mentor will give you the tips and guidelines that you’ll need to grow yourself and your business.

– Nelisiwe Masango, Bear Run Investments

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COOKED INC.: CHAPTER 4

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MARIAM ON MENTORS

Another month brings more news and tips from Mariam Jakoet Harris from Cooked Inc. Her food business is still feeling the knock-on effects of the drought, which affected prices and ultimately, her bottom line. She’s made plans to work around this challenge while still offering value to her customers.

Mariam had a mentor during the early days of her first retail job; she’s grateful to have had someone to show her what’s possible and help her progress in her role over time. To Mariam, a mentor is not someone who takes over but rather nurtures and helps you, “they should also know when to step back, let you do your thing and let you be you”.

Mariam’s also been giving advice to others lately and realises she may be playing the role of a mentor herself. In her mind, a mentor’s key role is to share knowledge, leadership skills and be able to see beyond what someone sees of himself or herself so they can build up, and develop, their own potential.

It’s not somebody who’s going to take over; it’s someone who’s going to nurture and help you.

– Mariam Jakoet Harris, Cooked Inc.

DO YOU HAVE A MENTOR?

38.1%

of entrepreneurs said they didn’t have a mentor

61.9%

said they did have a mentor and found it invaluable



The value of mentors seemed to only be realised by those who already had one. Are you missing out on the guidance and support of a trusted adviser?

For deeper insights into the South African small business landscape, take a look at the Santam start-up survey results.

Survey results

EXPERT BUSINESS ADVICE

TIPS FOR ENTREPRENEURS: MAKE THE MOST OF A MENTOR

Mentors can be a big support on your journey to 1001 days. Whether it’s someone in a related field, a family member or an online source, mentors can help entrepreneurs with various facets of business. We’ve put together some tips to help you make the most of your mentor relationships.

TAKE THE INSTANT POLL

Do you rely on a mentor for sound advice and guidance? Take the poll to reveal what others said:

Yes! I have many mentors

Yes! I have 1 mentor

No, but I’m looking

No, it’s not for me



Survey respondents on their journey to 1001 days benefitted from mentors through getting extra guidance, added support and more access to opportunities.

SMALL BUSINESS INSURANCE

From retail to service-oriented entrepreneurial ventures, every start-up is unique. Is your small business properly covered? Santam’s small business insurance offering gives you cover to suit your needs so you can get to day 1001, and beyond.

PREVIOUS: CHAPTER 3

WHAT THEY DON’T TELL YOU ABOUT PLANNING

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Next: Chapter 5

HOW DO YOU HANDLE IT WHEN THINGS GO WRONG?

Check back on 11 July when we’ll explore some of the biggest challenges entrepreneurs face and ways to cope.

1001 DAYS OF BUSINESS

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THE SANTAM START-UP SURVEY

Take a look at the comprehensive survey we conducted on over 600 small to medium enterprises in South Africa.

Survey results