Do I Need a Mentor?

smiling young and old businesswomen talking and using a tablet

Yes. When you’re starting a company, having a mentor makes good business sense. They can teach you skills, show you how to avoid common mistakes, introduce you to their contacts, and help you achieve your goals.

Where can you find a mentor?

There are many places you can go to find the perfect advisor for your small business, including

  • SCORE, a nonprofit organization that can help you connect with a mentor with expertise in your industry
  • your local Small Business Development Center, which is part of the Small Business Administration (SBA)
  • friends, family, and professional connections who may know other successful entrepreneurs

Read also: 7 Ways to Start Networking More Effectively

4 things to look for in a mentor

Not just any person can provide sound advice for your business; you need to find the right advisor. First, decide what you need from a mentor right now, which will likely be different than what you need a year from now. Then, look for these four things to find the perfect person:

  1. Value alignment – If someone’s values align with yours, they’ll connect with your company’s mission and vision for the future. So, they’ll be more invested in your business’ success. Read also: Values Give Your Business Direction
  2. Industry knowledge – Choose someone who knows a lot about your particular industry, either because they’ve worked in it or alongside it in a related field.
  3. Different skills than you – Ideally, they will have the talents you lack. They can teach you those skills and provide new ways to approach issues within your business.
  4. Honesty – You don’t want to get advice from someone who tells you only what you want to hear. Instead, find someone willing to tell you the truth, even when it’s difficult to do so.

When you’ve found a good fit, it can be tempting to ask them if you can pick their brain because you don’t want to bother them or put too much pressure on them. But, if you want a long-lasting relationship, ask the person directly whether they’d be willing to mentor you and share why you chose them.

You may also like...