The power of mentorship

Advice for young entrepreneurs

My name is Alex Derzhavin and I am the founder of Ymart – a social enterprise in support of local entrepreneurs, small businesses and local start-ups. Through the Vaughan Business Enterprise Centre (VBEC), I offered mentorship and guidance to this year’s cohort of Summer Company participants.

My experience with building my business are quite similar to that of young entrepreneurs in the program. The challenges we face are how to reach local consumers, how to advertise the business, gain visibility and generate meaningful interactions with customers.

Summer Company is an awesome program that gives opportunities to young entrepreneurs to make connections, establish relationships and build personal communities, which will support them on their entrepreneurial journey. From my personal experience, this is extremely important to achieve business success. Ideas, knowledge and synergy come from relationships and human interaction with high quality like-minded individuals.

Here are some things which helped me to achieve success with my previous business ventures and which I believe is important to remember and practice:

  • Be passionate about what you are doing. Do not allow financial gain considerations to solely govern your business decisions. You run your business to solve other people’s problems. Solve them whenever you are given an opportunity without an expectation of a financial reward. Do what you think is right. Build your community, support other entrepreneurs and causes, help other people because you can.
  • Do not underestimate the power of business partnerships. Running a business alone may be a daunting task. Good business partnerships bring synergy, energize the business and help to overcome inevitable hurdles with a greater success.
  • Build your relationships proactively. They will give you food for thought, new ideas and support whenever you will need it.
  • Never stop learning and keep an open mind.

Overall, mentoring was a great learning experience for me too. It forced me to think about many practical and theoretical business issues that concern small businesses. I had a chance to interact with a group of bright and driven young entrepreneurs and mentors who helped me to reflect on my venture start-up strategy, make website improvements and rethink some tactical approaches. I enjoyed this thinking process that helped me crystallize and organize my thoughts and knowledge.

Alex Derzhavin
Guest blog contributor
Founder of Ymart
Ymart on Facebook
Ymart on Twitter



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