When you first started your journey in small business, you probably imagined days filled with hard work, imagination, and fulfilling success. However, what often accompanies business are plateaus, hiatuses, and just life pulling you away from your goals. It’s nothing to fear, however. Your business can grow exponentially, and with less anxiety, when you find the right accountability partner or mentor to keep you on track.
What is the Difference Between an Accountability Partner and Mentor?
An accountability partner is a business peer that holds you accountable to your commitments and offers you support and advice as you grow your business. In this situation, both parties are dedicated to growing both their own business as well as their partner’s business. By providing support, feedback, and accountability, both partners form a relationship that benefits both businesses. A mentor, on the other hand, is an experienced and highly successful person in a given field that offers guidance and advice without reciprocation. For the purposes of this article, let’s combine the two types of support together, as both provide guidance, feedback, and a level of accountability.
The Benefit of an Accountability Partner or Mentor
Primarily, a partner serves as a safe space to commit to action, analyze new prospects, and dream big. An accountability partner can act as a sounding board for new ideas, evaluate weaknesses and difficulties, and be a buddy to celebrate success or assess shortcomings. With the right partner, you can set goals, analyze risk, set realistic steps to achieve your vision, and celebrate the success of your efforts.
The American Society of Training and Development found that people are 65% more likely to meet a goal after committing it to another person, and 95% more successful when they meet regularly with that same partner to track partner.
How to Find the Right Partner
An effective partnership is one built on mutual trust in which both parties are committed to meeting regularly, being actively empathetic, and have intelligence about your business and goals. Finding a partner should always start with clear communication of expectations for the relationship, time frames for the projects, a partner with similar core values, and a person who can provide impartial feedback at a regulated level and frequency. Whether this is an accountability partner or a mentor, the same basis of trust, responsibility, and empathy should be analyzed for compatibility.
How to Maximize Your Partnership
Making your accountability partnership or mentor a priority, as well as providing tactical execution plans of strategic outcomes and using a tracking system are all helpful ways to obtain great value and see true results in your business. Consistency in meeting is also essential if you are going to stay accountable to your own progress. Most importantly, openly communicate with your partner about the process and reevaluate terms as you go! As in any relationship, sometimes you just need to step back and make sure everyone is satisfied and supported.
Lindy Chaffin Start is principal and creative director at Unstoppable Start Studios based in Atlanta, Georgia. She contributes her knowing and talents as a marketer to small businesses across the country and listeners around the world.
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