What is a business mentor and how to find one?
This blog post will give an overview of what a business mentor is, how it can help an entrepreneur, and how they can find one.
What is a business mentor?
A business mentor is someone with valuable experience in the industry who can help advise you on how to run your startup. They have often been involved in business for years, have started their own companies, and have learned a lot along the way. As a result, they will have the knowledge and expertise necessary to understand your company.
Having a business mentor can be a big help to any aspiring entrepreneur. Even some of the most successful and wealthy company owners. Some notable examples include:
- Sir Richard Branson was advised by Sir Freddie Laker on how to set up his own airline company.
- Bill Gates and Warren Buffet have been mentors to one another.
- Steve Jobs was mentored by Mike Markkula, an angel investor in Apple.
- Jobs also mentored Mark Zuckerberg and offered him on advice on how to grow Facebook.
- Billy Salomon guided Michael Bloomberg at the beginning of his career.
- Father Michael van der Peet mentored Mother Theresa throughout her career.
Having mentorship can help reduce the risk of someone making big mistakes in business decisions and monitor your progress. In addition, they can often challenge you while aspiring you to pursue your goals.
Why should I have a business mentor?
Some may prefer to explore and discover new opportunities for their company on their own, but others might need additional help. Do you consider yourself an independent learner, or do you think having some form of mentorship may benefit you?
WITH A MENTOR
WITHOUT A MENTOR
Some of the benefits of having a business mentor include:
- They have experience: they will have already been involved in the industry for several years. You will be able to learn from the mistakes they made and their successes.
- They’re free: you don’t have to pay anything to hire a mentor.
- You could expand your social network: they may already have a network across different industries and departments. This in turn will open doors for you and allow you to meet and connect with new people.
- You can a long-term friendship: if you put your trust in one another, this will continue to grow as your friendship may develop.
- Challenging yourself: allow them to challenge yourself and your business. This will allow you to stay motivated.
- Skills transfer: having a mentor with years of knowledge and experience will only add to your growing skills.
How do I find a business mentor?
First, you must be careful and make sure that you select someone who understands your vision, is knowledgeable in your field, and can get along and enjoy working with you. Ideally, you want someone with a track record of success in your area, who is passionate about their field and may have previously had a mentor of their own.
It’s also best to enlist someone who will not place unrealistic expectations on yourself or your company. And while most founders appreciate feedback, it must be constructive rather than too critical.
When considering who to choose as a mentor, you should look at your professional circle, as people such as former bosses and teachers, past co-workers, and even friends and family members, who may be able to help you find the right person. Or they may be able to lend help of their own to you. You can also get to know entrepreneurs at meetups. In addition, websites such as Meetup and Eventbrite often advertise meetings and events for founders to attend. Finally, forums, online communities, and even social media outlets, such as LinkedIn and Twitter, may also help you connect with a mentor over the internet. LinkedIn, in particular, allows you to search for people by their industry and position, making it easier than ever to connect with potential advisers.
How do I select a business mentor?
Once you’ve found potential mentors, put them together in a list. Include dream advisers and more realistic ones you have more of a chance with. It would be best to rank them from most likely to least likely to work with you. It will help give you a better picture of who to select. It’s always good to meet any potential mentor, preferably for a face-to-face meeting. Inform them that you’re looking for someone to advise and guide you with your startup and that they can be the ideal candidate. Explain to them why you are looking for a mentor, why you’ve shortlisted them, and what you hope to get out of this relationship should you select them. Again, having a meeting will be a big help in finding the right one.
This is supposed to be similar to a job interview. When meeting them in person, you’ll need to pitch yourself and explain why you would value their help as a mentor and why you have chosen them in the first place. Take some time to prepare a suitable pitch for these meetings. Write down what you want to say, review it, and gain feedback from family and friends. It’s important to keep in mind what you have to offer to a mentor and what they could also gain out of the experience of advising you. Successful people are busy, and they want to be sure they can find the time to help you. Highlight your value and what you could bring to the table as a company owner. If you don’t sell yourself, you may find it hard for someone to be interested in you.
When you finally have a mentor, you’ll want to continue to build your relationship with them. First, set up meetings, which can be held in-person, over the phone, or virtually, via a video call app such as Zoom or Microsoft Teams. It is up to you to decide how often you want to meet with them, as long as you continue to work on your progress together. Consider keeping in touch with a mentor regularly through social media and email as well.
Remember to maintain your relationship and build your friendship, honesty, and trust within one another. You cannot expect someone to always be able to show you how to do something, but a mentor will always be on hand to guide and advise you and offer a critique of your work. Try and give something to them in return for their guidance, such as your skills to a project of their own.
And you don’t always have to rely on just one person for mentorship - you could get advice and guidance from several over time. Although it may seem daunting at first, finding a mentor is much simpler than you think – remember to stay proactive and passionate about your craft while searching for one.