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Choosing a Mentor for your Business

If you are a small business owner, a mentor should be an essential part of your support team. Mentors are especially critical during the first few years of a business, as those are often the most challenging. Mentored businesses are also more likely to survive the crucial start-up phases and be successful. Mentors can offer experience and expertise, support and motivation, an expanded network, and increased business acumen. Choosing the right mentor for your business can be a daunting task, but there are five steps you can take to make the process work for you.

Evaluate Your Needs

Set aside time to think through what you and your business needs from a mentor. For example, what type of guidance do you need to be successful? Is it industry specific? Also, which type of personality works best with your style? Reflection on these questions and others is the crucial first step on your path to getting a business mentor.

Determine the Qualities you Want in a Mentor

After reflecting on what you need in a mentor, think about the qualities that make a good mentor. Generally, all should have a track record of business success in a relevant industry, a willingness to be a mentor, and a genuine concern for your progress.

Connect with Business Support Organizations

There are numerous organizations focused on providing support and mentors for businesses. Check with local and national business organizations for recommendations. Additionally, you can connect with your industry trade association to see if it has any recommendations on potential mentors.

Reach out to Your Community

Your network of friends, family, and colleagues is full of potential mentors and helpful advocates. Be sure to also build real relationships with other businesses in your area.

Be a Good Mentee

An essential part of a relationship with a mentor is being the best mentee that you can be. Remember, this is about building a long-term relationship with someone. After you’ve identified a potential mentor, be thoughtful about the way you build a relationship. You should be mindful of your mentor’s time, as well as find ways to bring value to the relationship and show gratitude.

Mentorship is one of the best investments you can make in your business. It is also something that you can pay forward one day and help other business owners succeed.

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