As women in business, we hear about all the things we need to have or do to create a successful career. But seeing lists like "10 Tools This Boss Wishes She'd Had Early On" can leave a person wondering where she even needs to look for the "essential" thing, and if she finds it, can she afford it?

"Tools" and "essentials" are great, but there is one thing that stands above the crowd that entrepreneurs need to start their journey. It's free, it's valuable and it delivers an immediate impact: mentorship. 

Crucial to the entire entrepreneurial community, mentors give entrepreneurs the needed push to build that cool coffee shop or develop the next social media giant. Mentors are trusted allies who invest time and energy into you and your business to help you succeed while avoiding pitfalls and reducing failures.

Not convinced you need a mentor? Look at it this way. Here's what you don't need to start, run or grow a business if you have a mentor on your team.

You don’t need to know everything. Having a mentor means you have a teammate with a breadth and depth of experience you simply can’t have amassed as an entrepreneur starting a new venture. You can leverage their successes and failures and save yourself heartache and worry.

You don’t need to know everyone. Mentors have a network of people who helped them or who they have helped along the way. At the right time, a mentor will help connect you to the right people to help your business. Meeting new people, connecting with them about your business and learning how you can help them is an ongoing effort you’ll never "finish." But building the right network early is essential, and a mentor can help.

You don’t need a perfect plan. Sometimes our starting direction is vastly different from the direction we need to go. A mentor may see part of your business in a slightly different light, leading to significant shifts. From marketing strategies to product verticals, a mentor can help guide you to develop and execute winning plans.

Sold on the power of mentorship, but not sure where to start? Look into Woman Rise, a new mentorship program for Arkansas’ women entrepreneurs. The Venture Center, Wright Lindsey Jennings, AEDC, Venture Noire, Soirée Women’s Leadership Symposium and Arkansas Capital Corporation are partnering to bring entrepreneurs the opportunity to develop life-changing relationships through mentorship. 

Applications for Woman Rise open Sept. 8. Click here to learn more and apply as a mentor or mentee. 


Mimi San Pedro is the chief strategy officer for The Venture Center, where she is responsible for designing and implementing strategies to help shape the future of entrepreneurial support in Arkansas and ensure The Venture Center's success with corporate partners, community stakeholders and participating founders. She has more than 30 years of successfully starting and growing a wide range of companies through strategic marketing efforts for private, public and corporate institutions. 


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