An entrepreneur's tips for business mentorship

September 13, 2018 ATB Financial

An entrepreneur’s tips for business mentorship


“Mentorship” kind of seems like a buzzword in business circles. If you’re new to this whole “running a business” thing, you probably know you need a mentor, but beyond that, things can get kind of fuzzy. Or maybe you’ve been around the block a few times and want to pass on your well-earned wisdom to someone. But what things should you consider when being a mentor?

We asked Lonny Thiessen, CEO of Ledarco Industries, to share his insight on mentorship. As he’s grown one of Canada’s fastest growing businesses, he’s been mentored by everyone from his dad—fellow business owner—to professional business advisors, something he credits to the success of his business in both culture and profits.

Here are Lonny's tips for mentorship, from finding a mentor to mentoring others.


Entrepreneurs seeking a mentor

Don't expect to find the perfect mentor—seek help from a variety of people.

"You're not going to find this perfect individual who will sit down with you every Friday afternoon and talk to through all your problems. And if you do, you're probably going to have to pay him big money to sit there."

"I've gotten a lot of good advice just talking to the people I do business with. My customers, my vendors, older people that I see are successful and have knowledge—just reach out. You can pick up bits and pieces from everybody around you."

Business owners wanting to mentor

Start with your employees

"My real mission is with the people who work for me. That can encompass many different facets, but I would say that it's three things: I would like to improve them at work—so if they start at $60,000 a year with me, after a year, if they leave my company, they would be worth $75,000 a year in their next job."

"And then I'd like to improve them as citizens in the community. We try to put together programs where we get our people involved, kind of through shared contributions... And if they're family people, we want to give them the time to be with their spouse and kids."

"I feel like if people aren't happy at home or happy in their community, how can they do a good job at work?"

Business owners wanting to mentor their kids as successors

Stop and ask yourself if it's what the kids want—ask them too

"My dad pretty much left [the business] up to us, and with my kids, I would not force them in any way to take over my business if they didn't want to."

"I think that people have to be very, very passionate and have their full heart in whatever they're doing, so I wouldn't want my kids to take over my business if they weren't passionate about it. Number one, it wouldn't be good for my business, and number two, it wouldn't be good for them."

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