Your new business, startup and venture are a big risk. Many don't succeed, some break even and only a few really thrive. A common thread among most successful startups and entrepreneurs is that each had a mentor to help them really get their business off the ground. Having an idea, a partner, funding and a mentor are all essential to your success. Finding a mentor isn't always easy, especially if this is your first business. To find a mentor match made in heaven and build a strong mentoring relationship, consider taking these three steps to get started.
1. Set Your Own Objectives
Remember when you first got the idea for your startup and new business? You had to lay out your goals and objectives so that as new ideas and employees were brought to the table, you weren't pulled in ten different directions. The same rules apply when it comes to finding a mentor. You need to set objectives about what it is you're hoping to get from working with a mentor. Ask yourself what is you're hoping to achieve in your new business and what traits the ideal person to work with would have to help you get there. Knowing the foundation of what you're looking for, before you even begin looking can help you get started finding the perfect match.
2. Know Where to Look
Your own network, online blogs and forums, and referrals from colleagues can help you find the mentor that will benefit your business most. Reach out to your network of contacts and peers. If you attend tradeshows and conferences, focus on building rapport with key influencers and experts in your field who can help you better your business. Networking and building a relationship now can help you establish a strong connection before you even think about asking your new contact to be your mentor in business. If you're not quite ready to reach out to an individual or two, consider turning to online forums and blogs that feature posts from startups and entrepreneurs you admire, from Richard Branson to Mark Cuban. The traits you see in the more well-known entrepreneurs can help you locate and filter potential mentors.
3. Come to an Agreement
As you choose a mentor, make sure they can offer the availability you want. When you reach your final pool of candidates, the availability and working arrangement of the mentor can impact your final decision. Work with each on what the relationship between the two of you would entail should you continue moving forward. While the agreement between you and your mentor doesn't need to be written down or formal, you should define what success looks like, how often you will meet, what will happen should something go wrong, and what is confidential between you and the mentor. Putting your ideas and business into the hands of someone else -- even if only partially -- is a risk. You and your mentor should be meeting at least quarterly to work on strategy, set and develop a plan of action for short-term and long term goals, and catch up on business progress.
Determine the type of resource you'll need, feel out a few candidates, and work on building a relationship. You'll need to know whether the mentor is the perfect match and then establish and foster a mutually beneficial relationship. While many new business founders or startups may think finding a mentor is all about them, it's not. Mentoring is a two-way street. If you keep this in mind, you'll discover that finding a mentor is much like building a more traditional working relationship. Having a mentor can make a huge difference
If you've found a mentor for your business, share your tips and insights with other readers!
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