If you’re an entrepreneur, start-up business, or have been in business for several years now, have you thought about finding a business mentor to guide you on your journey?
Business mentoring allows a young company or entrepreneur to learn from the knowledge of a more experienced professional. It’s not like hiring a consultant: it’s more of a genuine interpersonal relationship. As such, it can be extremely rewarding on a personal development level as well as for business growth and advice.
As well as a practical insight into the industry, a mentor advises, identifies and helps with areas that need development, and becomes your go-to person for informal, impartial advice. It can sometimes feel lonely as a new entrepreneur: your encouraging mentor is someone with whom to share your thoughts and talk through ideas and decisions.
For entrepreneurs or managers who are intrinsically motivated (they love their work for its own sake), mentoring represents professional enrichment. It encourages reflection and re-evaluation of the mentor’s own knowledge, along with developing skills such as coaching. Taking on a mentoring role is sometimes used as a development target for managers.
The main qualities needed are:
there’s no point finding an expert if they’re reluctant to share.
Enthusiasm and positivist are essential, you also need to hit it off: a mentor who challenges you and holds you to account is great. But one who is too confrontational can be demotivating.
One piece of advice is to choose someone who is “ten steps ahead of you” in business experience – in other words, someone who is where you want to be in ten or fifteen years’ time.
Often, mentors and mentees choose each other from pre-existing relationships. This is straightforward in a conventional workplace, but what about aspiring self-employed entrepreneurs?
Make the most of existing contacts: networks, conferences, friends-of-friends or LinkedIn and Facebook groups.
Remote mentorship via email, phone calls or video conferencing is possible; however, for real and effective business mentoring, nothing beats a face-to-face relationship. If you’re drawing a blank using your existing local networks, try us.
This is a website that matches SMEs with business mentors.
It’s worth taking time to find someone with whom you genuinely connect: this could be the start of a long and successful relationship.
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