By Frida Owinga
Three Tips on Finding a Good Mentor
A good business mentor can have an enormous impact in the early stages of your business. Their connections can open doors that would otherwise be closed and their experiences can save you from suffering from the same start-up mistakes they’ve already made. So how do we go about looking for a mentor?
Before I answer that, please note that a mentor is not a fairy God mother who will make all your problems go away or a baby sitter who will make all decisions for you. A mentor guides you but you the business owner decides.
To find a good mentor you’ll need to be able to recognize what makes a great mentor based on the stage of your business and your business needs, know how to approach one and then how to maximize the relationship:
Here are three steps for finding a great mentor:
1.Recognize what makes a great mentor.
A great mentor will ask a lot of tough questions and challenge you to exceed your goals. They share their own experiences and help you uncover new opportunities without telling you what to do because they understand that the company is yours to run. Define what help you are looking for – Are you having trouble with the numbers, understanding your market or operations? Are you ready to ramp up production or still playing with concepts?
2. Find a good fit.
Avoid finding a mentor based on their visibility. Analyze your own close network and look locally for mentors whom you respect with relevant experience. Think about approaching the founders and key executives of companies in your space who you admire. Those people are usually more likely to invest time in your business than those who are totally strangers.
To make that first connection, you can send a short email explaining what your start-up is doing and why you are reaching out. Make it relevant and easy for the prospective mentor to help. Avoid attaching a CV or profile unless they asked for one. Make your email conversational, brief and to the point. Take a few minutes to find out about them by reading their website, blog or twitter accounts to learn about his or her background so you can personalize your note.
3. Optimize the mentor relationship.
Once you’ve established a connection, and there is interest from both sides, it’s important to build a relationship over time. Relationships are not automatic, don’t expect that and you will not be disappointed. One way to build the relationship is to check in regularly by email. Mentors should love to see your progress and take pride in knowing that their input has been helpful. Send a monthly email that reminds them of your past conversations and updates them on your progress. Ask one new question in these emails to ensure the conversation continues. It’s important to keep these check-in emails short and to the point and not ask for too much at a time.
If you would like to attend a Passion Profit talk for employees and entrepreneurs that will help you grow your startup, consider joining us on August 9th at Intercontinental Hotel.
Here is a video that will inspire you
Registration to turn your passion into profit.