Congratulations on making the courageous decision to start your own business. So, you’ve read all the “how to start your own business” books and watched all the companion YouTube videos, you’ve gotten all your required paperwork filed and now you’re ready to get started. Now what? Where do you go from here? Well, the first executive decision you’re probably going to want to make is to find a good business mentor.
A business mentor is someone with more real-world business experience than you who acts as your behind-the-scenes advisor. They help you navigate the tricky situations that can sometimes arise, especially when a business is first getting started. And many times, they offer their services for free — a welcome thing, especially if you’re working off a shoestring budget.
Tips For Finding Your Business Mentor
Finding a business mentor to help you might seem difficult, but it doesn’t have to be. Here are some suggestions to help you in your search:
- Ask your business peers. It’s very likely that they at one time were in the same position that you find yourself in today. They have experience, why not take advantage of it?
- Attend your local industry workshops and events. Talk to people. Networking is the key to everything in the business world.
- Look inside your business network. Your accountant, your lawyer, and any other business professionals you're working with are all great resources. Why not tap into their knowledge and extensive networks?
- Join a local business network. See? There’s that “network” word again. We can’t stress enough the importance of networking. The more people you know, the better.
- Take your search online or visit the bookstore. Who says your mentor has to be physically there with you? Successful business owners like Warren Buffett, Bill Gates, and Richard Branson have shared their “secrets of success” both in print and online for years.
A successful business mentor–mentee relationship can benefit both parties involved. The mentee gets the inspiration and business guidance they need while the mentor can hone their teaching skills and maybe even pick up some useful ideas from their mentee along the way. It's a win-win situation all the way around!