The key to succeeding in business is to have a mentor by your side

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Here are 3 easy steps to finding your self a mentor

Hello again, Vic here with another article that will help you succeed in your business.

Business mentors have a great impact on the early-stages of any start-up. A mentor will be able to guide you through the rough times and help you prevent many mistakes from occurring, especially in the early stages of your business. A business mentor will also be able to open doors to you that may have never been possible otherwise.

However, finding a business mentor isn’t as easy as going to Tim Hortons and ordering a double double. There is a certain mix that needs to be there just like a great relationship there must be chemistry. You will need to be able to recognize what would make a great mentor for you and your new business. You will need to know how to approach one and then maximize the relationship.

In this article I will give you 3 easy steps to follow in finding yourself an experienced mentor and establishing a relationship with this person to help bring your startup to the next level of business.

1. How to recognize what determines an excellent mentor

First things first, a mentor isn’t a person that will tell you exactly what to do. A mentor is there to advise you, ask you a lot of tough questions and challenge you to exceed your goals. While they do this they should be sharing their own experiences and helping you to uncover new opportunities. They will understand that this is your company to run, not theirs.

Look out for the ones that tell you what to do and become upset when their instructions aren’t followed, often these types of mentors will do more damage than good. The best type of mentor will never ask for any type of compensation. They will be satisfied by the sheer knowledge that they have helped another entrepreneur succeed.

 2. How to find a good fit

A common mistake many new entrepreneurs do is to request to meet with a mentor who is well-known, highly visible and very busy, for instances requesting Donald Trump or Richard Branson to be your mentor. Mind you that would be pretty cool to have those guys give you advice but the chance of getting them is very slim but hey if you do awesome.

 

A better way of finding a mentor is to approach the founders or key executives of companies that you admire. Those people are usually more likely to invest time with you. One resource I can offer many of you new to business is to contact the Canadian Youth Business Foundation (CYBF). This organize specializes in providing its members with a mentor and has had great success with helping new entrepreneurs succeed.

 

Another tip before I close off this section, when you are thinking about making the first connection, try sending a short email explaining what your startup does and what you are trying to achieve and  most importantly why you are reaching out in the first place. Avoid using form emails and always make it relevant and easy for the recipient to scan through. Also, very important, before sending the email before even writing the email take a few minutes to read through their blog, visit their profile on LinkedIn or read through their posts on Twitter. Basically what I am trying to say here is, learn more about the person’s background do your homework. This will help you personalize the email and help give you a better chance of connecting.

 

3. How to maximize the mentor relationship

Once you have established a connection and your mentor has shown interests in what you are doing it is very important to continue to build the relationship over time. One easy way to do this is by sending regular monthly emails updating your mentor of your progress and letting them know their input has been helpful.

 

When you do send these emails to your mentor remember to keep them short and to the point. Your mentor is a very busy person as you are so respect their time. Ask one question in your email, this will help to ensure the conversation continues. When you do request to meet with you mentor don’t ask for an unrealistic amount of time such as a 2 hour meeting, unless you are prepared to compensate them for their time and you let them know you will do this. A more realistic time frame would be 30 minutes and make sure it is at their office. Remember this is about respecting their time.

In my opinion if you want to succeed in the business world getting yourself a mentor to guide you through the barb-wire and the danger zones would be a very good idea. I have had the opportunity to work with 2 very good business mentors. Each has their own style and ways of doing things that have benefited me in numerous ways and I sincerely thank them for that.

I hope this article has been helpful. I would love to hear your thoughts do you have a mentor or have ever worked with a mentor? Would you like to be a mentor? Please leave your comments below.

Victor Chuma

Victor Chuma

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