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You Think You Need a Mentor? Now, What?

December 27, 2012

Daily ReadYou think you need a mentor? Now, what?

Whether you’ve started your company and seen decent growth or you’ve got a new idea and don’t know where to start; a mentor could be your answer. “A mentor is a person with more experience in business, or simply in life, who can help an entrepreneur hone her or his abilities and advise him or her on navigating new challenges.” That being said, how do you find a mentor?

  1. Know What You Want. You need to know your business goals and what area you need help in (financial, marketing, etc.).  It also helps if you know the “type” of person you seek (a good listener, someone well- connected, accessible, etc.).
  2. How to Find a Mentor: Know Where to Look. Start with family and friends, if you seek more advice, look to your extended network. A positive word or introduction from a mutual friend is all you need. You may also look at successful people in your industry or you can pay for a professional consultant or coach. Try to schedule a brief interview by phone saying you have some specific questions or just generally want to pick their brain and see if there is any chemistry.
  3. Building a Relationship. Feeling out a potential mentor’s time-availability is important. Once you have found a “good fit” formalize the mentorship (how often you will meet, confidentiality, what your goals are, etc.).

Keep these tips in mind: You may need more than one mentor; good informal mentorships are cultivated gradually and can often last for years; if it’s not working toward the goals you set, it’s okay to phase things out (gradually) and politely.

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