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You want to start your own business, but you don’t know how to go about it. Or maybe you have a fledgling business, but you need expert advice on how to grow it further. Whether you need help starting a business or are struggling to build on the one you have, or need help planning your career growth, finding the right mentor can make all the difference. A mentor is someone with more experience in a particular field than you who can give advice and support at crucial stages in your career or business. They can also bring new contacts and insight, as well as introduce you to relevant people and opportunities that could boost your progress.
Find the right mentor for you
Before you begin your search for a mentor, you need to decide what you’re looking for from the relationship. You may be looking for help starting your business, getting funding, or growing your revenue. Alternatively, you may be looking for expert advice or contacts in a particular field. You may have particular areas of your business you want to develop, such as marketing or sales, or specific goals you want to achieve, such as increasing your sales by 50%. Before you start your search, you should think about what you want from a mentor and what they can offer you that you don’t currently have.
Network your way to finding the right mentor
If you’re struggling to find the right mentor, try networking with people in your field. You can do this at industry conferences, by joining relevant networks and groups, and at events in your local area. You can also use social media to find relevant people. Try to make the most of any event you attend by introducing yourself to as many people as possible. Ask them if they would be willing to act as a mentor for you or if they would be willing to refer you to someone who could be a mentor. You could also send a group email to people in your network asking for advice or recommendations.
Check their references and reputation
Before you commit to any formal relationship, you should make sure that the prospective mentor is reputable. You’ll likely be asking them for advice and contacts, so you need to know you can trust them. You can do this by checking their references, as well as online reviews and ratings. You can also ask them for references from their previous mentees. If they are happy to provide references, they should be legitimate. If they refuse to provide references, you should be highly suspicious.
Ask what you can expect from this relationship
Before you commit to a mentorship, you should ask your prospective mentor what you can expect from the relationship. For example, you could ask them how often they will be in contact with you, and what type of support they can offer. You could also ask what they expect from you in return. They should be able to give you an idea of how often they plan to contact you, and what type of support they can offer. In general, a good mentor should provide you with advice and information, as well as introductions to potential contacts. They should also be able to give you feedback on your progress, and help you identify your strengths and weaknesses.
Set some ground rules for your relationship
Before you begin your mentorship, you should also agree some basic ground rules with your prospective mentor. You should set some expectations for both of you, and agree what is expected of you in the relationship. For example, you could agree that you will communicate by email or phone, and that you will communicate at least once per month. You could also agree that you will communicate more frequently, or less frequently, depending on the situation. You should also set some rules about confidentiality. You should ask your mentor to respect any information you ask them to keep confidential, and inform them that you would do the same for them. Find out what works best for your mentor and your relationship. You should also be open to adapting these ground rules as needed. The most important thing is that you are both clear on what is expected of you both.
Finding the right mentor is important, but it is also a two-way relationship. You need to be willing to put in the effort to make the most of this relationship. You should read up on your industry and have an idea of what you want to achieve. You should also be willing to ask for help and advice, and be open to feedback. A good mentor can make all the difference to your progress, so it’s worth putting the time and effort in to finding the right person for you. With the right mentor, you can achieve so much more, and have the guidance and support you need to succeed.