The 3 Top Strategies for Mentors from Mentors

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So you made a profile on MicroMentor. What comes next?

Taking the first step and reaching out to an entrepreneur can be a daunting task. What if you don’t have the answers they are looking for? How will you manage your time effectively?

The best answers to these questions, and more, come from people who have been there and who do this everyday— your fellow mentors!

The following are a few examples from mentors who have been there before. These mentors have experience from time spent mentoring on MicroMentor and have learned what works best for them. Let’s hear what they have to say!

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    Audie Ugalino's mentoring style is inspired by his extensive background in coaching.

Structure Your Relationships

Audie Ugalino, based in Singapore, has been on MicroMentor since 2016. He had a long professional career in agribusiness and consumer goods, before completing an ICF coaching certification.

“So the whole mix of mentees actually grew from [businesspeople] and entrepreneurs in both consumer goods and agribusiness to coaches and trainers.”

In the five years since he started mentoring, Audie has adopted a systematic structure similar to his own coaching training. After responding to initial messages, Audie sets up an informational interview he likes to call a“chemistry talk.”

The main goal of these chemistry talks is to discuss the entrepreneur’s business and what sort of mentoring they are seeking: “I call it a chemistry talk because at the end of the one hour talk, I will be asking the mentee, ‘Am I the right mentor for you? Do you want us to proceed?’ with the assumption that there is already a bit of a chemistry established between the two of us.”

If there is potential for growth and learning, they will set up five to six 1-hour mentoring sessions spread over three months, with work to complete in between for the entrepreneur.

Audie has found that establishing this structure over three months helps both him and his mentees build their learning over time and begin to grow together. “The basic content [of the mentoring sessions] really is understanding the business: where the passion is coming from and then understanding the vision of the entrepreneur.”

Audie stresses in his approach that his job is not to do the work for the entrepreneur; his job is to address specific business challenges, work through potential solutions, and support the entrepreneur as they begin to solve those challenges.

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    Dr. Kathleen Oden joined MicroMentor when she was looking for a way to pay her business knowledge forward.

Build A Community

Dr. Kathleen Oden knows how essential building a community of like-minded professionals is for small business owners. In her approach to mentoring, she does just that.

A certified health minister, an author of multiple books, and a mentor, Kathleen is based in Texas and specializes in network marketing.

After starting Create Anewu Health Ministry in 2015, Kathleen realized that she had collected so many resources over the years that were helpful to her in starting her professional practice, and she wanted to give that same opportunity to other entrepreneurs. While looking for ways to pay her knowledge forward, Kathleen discovered MicroMentor. “That’s what I was looking for: something where I could help others,” Kathleen said.

In Kathleen’s approach to mentoring, she focuses on establishing a network of small business owners where they can promote their businesses. After connecting with an entrepreneur through their MicroMentor profile, they join a Facebook group where they share information about their businesses and can meet other people who might be in a similar position as them.

“I’m teaching them how to brand themselves, how to promote their business without any money, because there’s so many free platforms out there that I never knew about before,” Kathleen said when talking about her own experience with starting a business. In the group, she posts resources, challenges, and information about new software that she learns about in her free time.

Entrepreneurs in Kathleen’s Facebook group schedule meetings with her where they can discuss more in-depth business challenges they are facing. In this way, entrepreneurs can put themselves out there with their businesses and receive a foundation for social media marketing and promoting their businesses.

“That’s what I was looking for: something where I could help others.” -- Dr. Kathleen Oden
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    Selwyn Schrieff has had a long professional career dedicated to mentoring business owners.

Prioritize a Business Plan

Selwyn Schrieff is no stranger to business marketing. A former electronics business owner, Selwyn has platinum awards from Absa, one of the biggest banking groups in South Africa, and has helped mentor more than 400 small businesses in South Africa over a ten year period.

Selwyn is a big believer in the power of the business plan: “The business plan is your roadmap, it’s your Bible. You plan your business over a three or five year period and you must look at that every month or second month.” When Selwyn first connects with an entrepreneur on MicroMentor, he is very hands-on in his process, and the first thing he does is look at the business plan or ask that they complete one.

Having a business plan helps the entrepreneur by thinking through the next few years and their goals for future development while also helping Selwyn to understand where the business stands and how the entrepreneur operates. After deciding they are the right fit for each other, he and the entrepreneur begin deciding together what is working and what might need to change.

“I just can’t stop. I can’t sit and do nothing. This is my game; it’s in my blood. Once this business gets into your blood it doesn’t go away.” After his extensive experience mentoring throughout his professional career, Selwyn is still always looking for new opportunities to help small businesses.

“I just can’t stop. I can’t sit and do nothing. This is my game; it’s in my blood. Once this business gets into your blood it doesn’t go away.” -- Selwyn Schrieff

Audie Ugalino, Kathleen Oden, and Selwyn Schrieff are just a few of the more than 57,000 mentors who have found a way to fit mentoring into their lives since our founding in 2008.

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