Starting and growing a business is hard work. It can often feel overwhelming and unfamiliar. There comes a point in the life of many business owners where you just donâ€™t know what to do or where to go. A business mentor can help guide the way.
What is a Business Mentor?
A business mentor is someone who has more experience in business and perhaps experience in your niche. They can help you fine tune your abilities, identify your strengths, establish new goals and help you identify areas where you can grow and improve your business. A mentor is often synonymous with a coach. However, mentoring often deals with broader topics whereas coaching is generally limited to a specific task or goal.
Find a Common Ground
One of the important things about finding the right mentor for you is to find someone that you not only respect and trust but someone you feel understands you and where youâ€™re coming from. You wonâ€™t have that connection with everyone. Look for someone who has similar outlooks, interests, or experiences. Youâ€™ll be better able to relate to them and understand what they are trying to communicate.
Niche Experience Not Required, but Helpful
Itâ€™s not essential that your mentor has experience in the same industry or niche that you do. Someone who has extensive business experience and credibility can mentor you just as effectively. However, you may be in better hands if your mentor has expiree or at least a strong familiarity with your industry. For example, if you sell coaching services to help people live a healthy vegan lifestyle itâ€™s helpful for your mentor to understand what the vegan lifestyle is and where your prospects and customers are coming from. Itâ€™s also helpful if they are experienced with a coaching business model.
Start By Asking for Advice
Because a mentoring relationship doesnâ€™t have to be a paid one or a formal one, you might start by identifying someone you might like to be a mentor and simply asking them for advice on a situation or problem. If the experience is a positive one, you might take the next step. And if the relationship is a formal one, for example youâ€™ve connected with them via a mentoring network, then starting small is often an effective way of making sure itâ€™s a good fit.
Mentoring can help you grow both as a business owner and as a professional. Identify what you want from a mentoring relationship and compare your options. Find a mentor thatâ€™s right for you and one you can effectively communicate.