A mentor guides another person by offering him advice, creating trust, and listening to and answering the queries based on her experience. A mentor must be aware of the needs of her mentee. The needs must be engaging, reliable, and authentic. Similarly, a mentee must also carry those attributes necessary to succeed in a particular industry. If you are looking for guidance, are starting in a new field, or simply looking to excel at your workplace, you must look for a business mentor.
Why You Need a Business Mentor
If you are running a business or are a first-time business owner, you may always need a second opinion from someone with more experience. You may also require specific insights into your various successes and failures to gain the requisite experience. Here are some reasons why you need a mentor.
You are Lost
People can make mistakes while starting in a new field. They may choose the wrong software or hire the wrong kind of people. They may also slip up while registering their business, trademarks, or something entirely unforeseen. All such mistakes can be mitigated to a certain level if you have a mentor to guide you. A mentor can not only save you from making mistakes but can also help you navigate through territories that are unknown to you.
Your mentor is backed by several years of experience. This brings not only wisdom but also several contacts. It is safe to assume that your mentor is well connected and may have several contacts in your industry. Therefore, not only can your mentor help you with her experience, but her contacts can also bring you more sales and introduce you to people who can positively impact your business. Networking is one of the real benefits of having a mentor, as it brings you connections that can last a lifetime.
Most business owners are emotionally invested in their business. Hence, it becomes difficult for them to take a step back and judge the matter dispassionately when they run into any problem. This is where your mentor comes in, as she can look at the matter differently and bring a fresh perspective.
How to Find a Business Mentor
Before you start your hunt, you must be precise about what kind of skills you are looking for in a mentor. You must note the skills and processes you need to learn or the type of personality or communication style you are looking for in your mentor. After shortlisting your mentor’s profile, you can look for a suitable business mentor.
In the past few years, there has been quite a surge in formal mentorship programs where young entrepreneurs connect with experienced mentors. This is one of the most straightforward methods of getting in touch with a mentor if you are an early-stage entrepreneur. Essentially, there are two types of mentorship programs. The first one can match an entrepreneur with a personal mentor for a fee. The Muse and Coach.me are two examples of such programs. The second is similar to incubation, where participants can focus on their startups by receiving mentorship and coaching, and in return, they have to allocate equity from their startups.
Meetup is an essential platform if you are an entrepreneur and are looking to establish the right connections. Meetup enables you to search for entrepreneurship groups and events near you, where you can contact other entrepreneurs. Its popularity can be greatly utilized because thousands of digital and live events occur on this platform each day. You can often find high-profile entrepreneurs speaking at these events, and they can serve as your mentors.
Another platform that explicitly targets working professionals is LinkedIn. You can network with potential mentors when you set up your profile. Since it utilizes the power of referral, you can find out if there is a standard connection between you and your prospective mentor. You can also analyze your chances of getting noticed. The ‘Advanced’ feature also allows you to narrow down your list by filtering them through location, industry, etc.
In search of high-profile mentors, we often overlook those mentors who are already present in front of us. You may land a high-profile mentor, but they might not be compatible with you or would not understand your values or style. In comparison, you may be far more comfortable with someone who might have a lower profile but can be super-effective since you both share common ground. Such mentors can be candid and direct in their feedback, which is hard to find in high-profile mentors.
This may be the least effective method, but if you have your eyes on a potential mentor and cannot get to her through any other method, you might as well try to contact her through email. It is very difficult to approach a high-profile mentor through email as they are likely to receive hundreds of them each day. However, you can try this method with someone you have done considerable research on or are confident about. You must also make a value proposition to them and highlight the various aspects of your work. It can help in laying the foundation for a proper relationship. Although this does not guarantee their participation, you will come across as a capable entrepreneur.
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