Mentoring has been proven to help small businesses survive and grow over time. In this blog, we’ll cover 3 important questions: Is mentoring the right fit for your business? What should you look for in a mentor? And lastly - where can you find one, and are you expected to pay for their help?
The Mentoring Fit
There’s no easy answer to describe what a mentor can do for a particular business or why mentors voluntarily help entrepreneurs succeed. I like to think of mentors as the north start of an entrepreneur. The star won’t always be there for you to see, like during the day, for example, but in the moments of doubt, or extreme needs, it will appear to bring you back to your path.
A mentor’s job is to guide the entrepreneur and widen their options with advice and different perspectives. In practice, you can expect a mentor to suggest possible solutions, alternate ways of doing something, and even maybe, new growth opportunities.
In MicroMentor, we’ve seen entrepreneurs getting help in all fields of business, such as Marketing, Finances, Funding, Logistics, and more. A mentor will work with you to understand your business first, like a doctor diagnosing your body.
This could take many forms, and depending on your mentor, it could go in very different ways.
Some mentors like to start with your finances, acquiring a clear picture of what avenues you could pursue with what you already have. Others want more aggressive approaches, such as implementing new marketing strategies to grow your business from day 1.
There’s no right or wrong answer here. The work will always be collaborative and horizontal instead of vertical like a normal boss-to-employee relationship.
What should you look for in a Mentor?
Suppose you could have a vast pool of mentors available to pick and choose from. What exactly should determine who you should approach to develop a long-lasting relationship. Mentors have specific knowledge around various fields of business, and most of the time, that’s what should determine your first approach.
If you have a clear idea of what your business may be lacking, then approach a mentor and let them know what you need help with.
On the other hand, let’s imagine you can’t pinpoint what may be lacking around your business to take it to the next level. In that case, looking for a general direction may be a good idea. Mentors with broad expertise around management and finances could be a good starting point towards figuring out a strategic plan for growth over time.
In fact, drafting and assisting with business planning is often a skill mentors share with their mentees.
Real mentors are professionals who are committed to helping their community without expecting anything in return. And that’s what you should be on the lookout for when attempting to find your first mentor. Qualifying them should prove to be an easy process.
Typical red flags include attempts to get charged or agreements that require you to share equity or other kinds of benefits that are potentially monetary.
Where To Find A Mentor?
Well, it’s no news that there’s a lot of ways to go about it. The traditional path involves finding someone local you admire and asking (kindly) for their help as a mentor.
Many people still find mentoring this way, and I would say go for it. There’s nothing better than meeting your potential mentor face to face and getting a feel of the chemistry between you two.
Did I say chemistry is essential? It is! Totally, and in fact, it’s an aspect of a mentoring relationship that is too often overlooked.
But hey, the traditional route won’t be available to most people. Looking online is an excellent alternative to finding mentorship. There’s a lot of services available that will connect you with a mentor. Some people also have outstanding success while using LinkedIn.
However, our platform MicroMentor was created over ten years ago and has helped more than 70,000 entrepreneurs find, connect, and grow their businesses with the help of mentoring. Entirely for free.
Our network is available to all entrepreneurs worldwide, including North America, Latin America, Africa, The Middle East, and more. There are no requirements to join but to have a functioning business.
If you’re interested in giving MicroMentor a try, then head over to micromentor.org and start the signup process.