Getting a business mentor can have a huge impact on early-stage startups. Their connections can open doors that would otherwise be closed and their experiences can save entrepreneurs from suffering from the same startup mistakes they’ve already made. But finding the best business mentor for your business mentor isn’t as simple as picking a name from a hat. You’ll need to be able to recognize what makes a great mentor, know how to approach one and then how to maximize the relationship.
A business mentor is a person with more experience in business, who can help an entrepreneur hone his abilities and advise him on navigating new challenges. The first thing you need to know when seeking out a mentor is what you’re looking for from the arrangement. Here are a few things to consider :
Do you two fit? The most important thing to find in a business mentor is chemistry. There has to be a fit between the two of you if the relationship is going to work. What does this mean, exactly? First, there should be at least one major interest that the two of you share. What’s more, though, it’s important that your mentor shares some of the same ideas and views that you do on that topic.
Can they commit to mentoring you? It always came down to commitment—or how much time your mentor is willing to spend with you. Because successful people are usually good at what they do, their time is in constant demand. But if a mentor is willing to carve out even a small slice of his or her day to chat with you, that can make all the difference. It shows their commitment and helps you gain a lot out of the relationship. It allows you to really learn and ask questions. And it provides a sense of support should something come up down the road.
Can they be honest with you? Maybe it seems obvious, but what I’m really saying here is that you don’t want a business mentor who is going to tell you what you want to hear just to make you feel good. If you are going to get any real learning out of a mentorship, you need to have someone who will be honest with you and let you know when you’re moving in the wrong direction. Constant flattery and sugar coating will not help you learn.
Do you want to move to the next level in business, commit to finding a mentor, it should be on your priority list for this month. It will take time at first, but it will save you time and money (and make you money!) in the future.