How to Choose a Business Mentor

Choosing a Business MentorAre you interested in fast-tracking your business? If so, it might be a good idea to look for a business mentor. More people than ever at all levels of success are starting to see how valuable it is to have a business mentor in their lives. It’s never too early or too late to take on a mentor in business.

A business mentor is a person who’s willing to help an entrepreneur with a start-up project or an established business owner wanting to expand their company. The mentor essentially serves as a role model, confidant and advisor.

Business Mentors: A Track Record of Success

The ideal mentor has a track record of success and corresponding experiences. A mentor is willing to share this experience and knowledge with others.

Anyone agreeing to serve as a business mentor must be willing to be available to the mentee. Regular interactions with the mentee are vital though, whether by email, telephone, video conference or face-to-face. If it takes many days or even weeks for the mentor to respond to a telephone call or email, that’s a sign the mentor doesn’t have the time to properly help.

The mentor must be open to maintaining the relationship for months and sometimes for years. It’s not unusual for these relationships to evolve into long-term business friendships.

Not only must the mentee be willing to accept constructive criticism, the mentor must be willing to provide it. No one is helped if honesty is discouraged. Criticism doesn’t have to be cruelly delivered, but should be presented in a manner that helps the mentee understand how change is beneficial and potentially necessary.

Mentors must be ethical. A mentor may be privy to proprietary information, strategic plans, research and other types of potentially confidential information. They must also discuss potential ethical conflicts that may arise from involvement, however limited, in the mentoring relationship.

Whether your venture is brick-and-mortar, online, or a combination of both, a business mentor is an experienced guide who’s willing to help you set and reach business goals, make quality connections and grow your business.

More people than ever are starting to see how valuable it is to have a business mentor in their lives. It's never too early or too late to take on a mentor in business Click To Tweet

What Value Does a Business Mentor Truly Deliver?

The ultimate aim of starting a business is to make profits. All your strategies need to work towards this goal – which isn’t always easy. One of the ways to achieve this goal is to work with a mentor, an expert that’s made it big in business.

Signs it’s time to find a mentor for your business:

  • You’re just starting your business and you don’t have any prior experience in running one.
  • You have an established business, yet you’ve hit a plateau. This is regardless of whether you’ve been making huge profits in the past.
  • You’ve made huge profits in the past and it seems they’re going down.

What a Mentor Can Do for You:

  • Improve Your Marketing Efforts – Marketing is the primary source of visibility – whatever your niche may be. Your marketing budget generally takes a significant piece of your business budget, which is why it needs to yield results. A mentor helps you in your marketing efforts by teaching you marketing techniques that have worked in the past and which may work in your situation too. The mentor will usually guide you step-by-step through your marketing campaign.
  • Motivate You – Many business startups have gone down the drain due to a lack of motivation. Of course, it won’t always be a smooth ride running a business and when things go wrong, you need to have someone in your corner to quickly help you make the next step. With a mentor on your team, you’ll sleep better knowing you aren’t alone in dealing with any problems that should arise.
  • Give You a Fresh Perspective – Relying solely on what you have in terms of experience will take you somewhere, but there’s a limit as to how far. Relying on your solo expertise might be the single reason your business is failing. A mentor brings a fresh perspective to the table. As a result, you will enjoy access to a greater depth of knowledge that’s simply different from your own.
  • Help You Get Prepared for Tomorrow –A good mentor will analyze your current situation and activities to advise you on what will most likely happen in the near future.
With a mentor on your team, you'll sleep better knowing you aren't alone in dealing with any problems that should arise. Click To Tweet

Mistakes are a great way to learn, but some are costly and time-consuming. This is why the mentor looks at what you’re doing and helps you avoid those costly mistakes. The mentor makes use of experience gained in their business, to help you avoid obvious (or not so obvious), blunders.

The mentor brings to the table several elements that you might not have access to. These include experience, connections, resources and so on.

Where Should You Start Looking for a Business Mentor?

The Small Business Administration says that finding a mentor is actually easier than ever due to wide spread use of the internet today.

Whether you’re new to the business world or you’re simply trying to find a way to improve your level of success, one of the best steps that you can take is to seek assistance from a mentor. The benefits associated with finding and working with the right mentor can be astounding. However, you may be wondering where you can actually find a mentor.

Consider Those Who Succeed Where You Struggle

Some mentors will provide you with expertise and guidance in an incredible range of skills and areas and these are truly great people. Others may have achieved greatness in a specific area. When you’re trying to find a mentor to work with, it’s important to determine where your own weaknesses are and what you struggle with. It can be difficult to honestly assess your own weaknesses, so you may consider getting more insight from a partner or close colleague. Then you can search for a mentor who has skills and expertise in those areas.

Look Within Your Industry

You essentially have two options available when you’re searching for a business mentor. The first option is to look within your own industry. An executive or business owner at a competing company typically won’t be willing to mentor you. However, retired individuals or those who are in a slightly unique niche that doesn’t compete with your own business may be willing to mentor you. These individuals may have many decades of experience and they may also have business relationships that they can pass along to you as a further benefit.

Branch Out to Other Industries

Successful business professionals are in all niches and industries, so you don’t have to feel limited by your own industry. Successful people are those who have set goals and achieved those goals, who have a mentality to get things done at all costs, who have learned how to balance personal and professional responsibilities and more. Think about others who you know in different industries who are successful.

It can take time to identify a suitable mentor for you. You may also need to convince that individual to assist and guide you. Even when you do identify the right mentor for your needs, that person may not always be agreeable to taking you under his or her wing. Even if your first request isn’t successful, you may find that there are several other people who could serve as wonderful mentors for you. Keep these ideas in mind as you search for a great mentor to work with in the near future.

What Should You Look for in a Business Mentor?

When it comes to the workplace, having a business mentor can be an extremely valuable resource. Choosing a business mentor should be a top priority for anyone hoping to build their business. A business mentor can:

  • help with problems or questions that arise
  • offer much-needed perspective
  • give a different opinion and help you work through decisions
  • act as a role model in the industry
Choosing a business mentor should be a top priority for anyone hoping to build their business. Click To Tweet

Choosing a business mentor can be an overwhelming task though. With so many things to expect from a person, it can be hard to decide what’s most important. A few things to consider are:

  • A business mentor must be willing to share advice. He or she cannot be someone who’s protective or stingy with sharing their experience.
  • A great business mentor is someone who’s at the top of their industry or very successful in their career niche. Taking advice from someone who hasn’t succeeded yet is counter-productive.
  • A necessary characteristic of a good business mentor is that the protege must enjoy being with them. If it isn’t someone that’s at least respected, the mentoring relationship just won’t work.

As far as how many years of experience are actually required, that will vary by the person and the situation. However, it’s always a good rule of thumb that the person who’s doing the mentoring have more years of experience than the person receiving the advice.

What tips do you have for being a great mentor? Are you currently using a mentor or coach? Please share your comments below.

Choosing a Business Mentor

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