A business mentor should be an experienced and successful businessman or businesswoman, who is willing to teach you everything they know in order to help you succeed at your own business. They need to be trusted implicitly to have your best interests at heart. They have to believe in you as much as you believe in them. And they have to have started out as you are…the CEO of a major corporation more than likely has neither the time nor the first hand experience that you are seeking as you begin your small, local business. So how do you go about finding a business mentor?
It doesn’t happen over night. You need to do some serious networking, and you can start by making a list of businesspeople who are successful in your type of business in your community. Get out and meet them. Go to seminars and conferences that they would attend. Start conversations and invite them to lunch. Spend the time asking serious and pertinent questions. If you join the Chamber of Commerce, and attend the meetings religiously, you will meet people with common interests that will be interested in your endeavors.
Think about the people you already know that have influenced you and whom you respect and admire. It could be a teacher you had in high school or college, a previous boss, or even family friends. Is there someone who has already helped you in some way toward your goal? Perhaps this relationship can grow to become mentoring.
A mentor has the right to end the relationship when it becomes too time consuming, cumbersome, or moves beyond their area of expertise. The same holds true for you. If the mentoring is not working out, for whatever reasons, it is time to start looking for another mentor.
It is important that you know what your goals are in this relationship. Make your list of possible mentors and then find out everything you can about them. Meet with them, ask them questions, and determine their desire and ability to help. Make sure they have the knowledge you are seeking to help you avoid mistakes in your new business.
If they take time away from their own jobs, this is an indication of their willingness and interest. If you invited them to lunch, pick up the check. Impress them with your dedication to taking notes and remembering their advice. Share the results of the action you took on their recommendations. A thank you note for good advice given is appropriate.
Do you have any tips for finding the right business mentor? Please share below in the comment section!
Updated by Jill Porter
Thanks to Jill Porter of Financial Clarity Ltd for updating the content to be less male centric 🙂