A mentor can be an extremely helpful resource as you start your business, and once you’re established, a mentor can help guide you forward. There are key tips you should keep in mind when choosing your mentor, such as finding one who balances your strengths and weaknesses. But before you decide if a mentor is right for you, you need to actually find one.
Start by talking with your colleagues or business leaders in your industry. In fact, that’s exactly how Mark Zuckerberg found a mentor to help him clarify his vision for Facebook. He asked Steve Jobs, from whom he drew inspiration, and Jobs advised him to head to India and visit Neem Karoli Baba’s ashram in Pantnagar.
If you can’t get any reliable recommendations from friends or colleagues, simply try reaching out to entrepreneurs who inspire you. When Swapnil Khandelwal wanted advice on his business AlmaConnect, he took a chance and dropped a line to Amit Ranjan on LinkedIn. Ranjan, the founder of SlideShare, answered that very day and set up an appointment. There’s no guarantee you’ll get an answer, but it never hurts to try. And, of course, social media makes the process easy.
Alternatively, contact a consultant who focuses on mentoring and see if they have any services that look interesting. You have to pay these professionals, but in the long term, the investment can be worth it. To get a sense if they’re the right fit for you, you may want to start with a very small aspect of your business. For instance, you may want to hire a mentoring consultant to help you increase your sales. If that goes well, you may want to ask for mentoring to help improve your management skills, financial management abilities, or problem-solving techniques.
So that you have time to focus on your mentorship, you may want to invest in tools that help you automate other parts of your business to-do list. Cloud-based accounting software like QuickBooks can help you with the numbers, and that gives you more time to work on your professional development.