The Importance of a Business Mentor & Tips for Finding the Right One
Business mentorship is an amazing concept that is beneficial to both parties. You may think that your business is too small for a mentor, but a small business can often reap the most benefits. You may think that you may not be able to find a mentor or that no one will want to help you out, but I assure you that if you approach the request in the right manner, there are lots of options to find a great fit.
First let’s look at why a mentor is good for you (and for them):
1. You will have a sounding board for overwhelming or frustrating issues that come up in your business.
2. You will have a guide to help you reach your goals and meet critical milestones.
3. Your mentor will serve as a cheerleader when you need that extra push.
4. You will have a wealth of information within your reach that you may otherwise not have access too.
5. You will be establishing a business relationship/friendship that may last for many years.
6. Your business will likely grow with this help.
For The Mentor:
1. Most people enjoy sharing their knowledge and lessons learned.
2. It simply feels good to give back and help out people who appreciate your guidance.
3. A chance to share their knowledge in a positive, non-stress environment
4. Your mentor will learn new things too as you share your business history and challenges with her.
5. It is very satisfying to watch a business prosper to which you have contributed your knowledge.
6. He or she will also be establishing a business relationship/friendship that may last for many years.
How to find a mentor:
The first thing you need to do is identify several candidates you think might be a good fit for your business. A few things to consider:
1. Are they in a similar business? This is not necessary, but it could help with the learning curve.
2. Your mentor does not have to be a big brand or business, simply one that has achieved a goal you would like to accomplish and that has values similar to those of you and your business.
3. Select someone you admire and respect.
It is important to identify several candidates because sometimes 1 or several of the people you select may have other mentees, responsibilities or time constraints that will require them to decline your request.
The next step will be to contact these individuals one by one. It’s important to identify what you would like to get from the relationship prior to contacting them. I recommend you write up a formal email and then follow up with a personal phone call. Here is what you should include in your email:
1. A brief introduction to you and your business (keep it brief: your name, business name, and what you make or do).
2. Share that you are looking for a mentor and why you think yours could be a beneficial relationship. It is helpful to share that you know a bit about their business and what you admire about it.
3. Identify your goals for the relationship and give an idea of how much time you think it would require. Perhaps you suggest that you have an initial call to download your mentor on your business and then follow up with weekly or bi-weekly calls. Be prepared to adjust based on their schedule.
4. Give an idea of how long the initial session should be. It is good to set up an initial term in which you can ensure the relationship is a good fit. You can always continue the relationship if everything is going well.
5. Identify what you can bring to the relationship and why having her as a mentor is so important to you.
6. Close with a note that you will give her a call in the next day or so to discuss further.
It’s best to contact 1 candidate at a time so that you don’t have multiple interested parties at once.
Once you find your mentor, be committed to the relationship and respect their time and input. Be sure to thank them often for their help.
Finally, when you are ready, pay it forward and look for opportunities to mentor other small businesses that could use your help. They will be grateful and you will be surprised at how much great advice you have to give and how much it is appreciated. Good luck finding your perfect mentoring relationship!!