How to Find a Superb Business Mentor Today
Whether you’re a budding entrepreneur or you’ve already found your place in the world of business, having a mentor can mean the difference between success and failure. Working with a mentor could just be the boost you need to get to take your business to the next level. Here’s how to find a mentor and make your relationship successful:
Get clear about your own goals
According to Lois Zachary, author of The Mentor’s Guide: Facilitating Effective Learning Relationships…
…one of the biggest mistakes people make when looking for a mentor is not being clear about the kind of help they need. Admittedly, sometimes you may not know which areas in particular you need to develop but a good place to start is identifying your weak areas whether that is in communication, leadership, management etc. Once you identify a few areas where you may initially require help then you can start looking for a mentor who can support you in these areas.
Look in the right place
There are several sources you could look into to find a mentor depending on what your needs are. A good place to start is your extended network, but you could also reach out to industry professionals and paid experts or consultants. Forbes contributor Kathy Caprino recommends that you find mentors through the people who you are already working and interacting with. These need to be people who understand your potential and who already trust and believe in you. If you really want to be mentored by an influencer who is a stranger, asking for mentorship generally will not work. Caprino suggests that you be supportive of their work for example by referencing them or referring new business to them etc. By giving in this way, you will set yourself up for receiving.
Stipulate the qualities you are looking for
For any mentoring relationship to work, there needs to be some level of agreeableness between the qualitative and quantitative characteristics of the mentor and mentee. Objectively list the qualities you want in a mentor before holding an interview with potential candidates to determine if they are a match for you. Not only are you looking for agreeableness; more importantly, you are looking for someone who will help you attain your business goals and keep you on track.
Agree on the ground rules
Once you establish an implicit or explicit relationship with your mentor, you need to agree on issues such as what success looks like, the frequency of your meetings and rules of confidentiality. Agree on short-term and long-term goals relating to your core business whether that is a product launch, business expansion or a media campaign.
Put in the work
Your mentor will be a crucial source of advice for the important business decisions you make. However, you need to be open enough to the advice, including any constructive criticism you may receive and use this to move toward the short and long term goals you set for your business. What’s important to bear in mind is that your mentor will not do the work of growing and bringing change to your company; you will need to take independent steps to see desired results. Demonstrate your progress so that your mentor knows you are listening and reacting, and that you are invested in the momentum of the relationship.
By following these steps you’ll find an effective mentor that can help you catapult your business to success, whilst making less mistakes along the way.
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