How to find a business mentor online and in your community and plan for your mentor sessions.
How do I find a business mentor? Many people are looking for business and career mentors. Career mentor categories are the most popular at Http://FindAMentor.com .
When you need to expand your mentor network beyond your community for any reason, the internet is the next best place to look. Having at least four mentors for each aspect of life that is important to you is a very good idea. We’ll give you tips for finding a business mentor in your community or on the internet in this blog. We’ll tell you how to plan your request for mentor and your mentoring conversations to build your confidence.
We suggest starting by trying to find a mentor in your community or city. Mentor relationships are best with face to face communication when possible. Four key aspects of effective communication are present. (Facial expression, body language, voice tone, and word selection.) Each time we remove one of the four key aspects of communication from the interaction, the effectiveness can decrease.
The first thing to do in order to find a business mentor is to identify your first choices for mentors in your community or city. Who do you admire in your field of business? Do some research. Try going to industry events like lunches, seminars, talks and conferences. Join community groups — your local chamber of commerce is a great place to start. Chambers of commerce often host networking events and meetings that bring beginning entrepreneurs and successful businesspeople together. Talk to people, listen to their stories and pursue further meetings with those whom you can learn from.
Be sure that you choose someone who has experience and connections within your area and level of business. If you’re a budding entrepreneur in, say, the building and home repair industry, you shouldn’t waste your time trying to court a senior executive at a multinational engineering company. Focus on finding someone who has started a venture that’s similar to yours, and who understands the trials and tribulations of building a business in that area.
Keep in mind that an adviser who offers his time in return for compensation is not the same thing as a mentor. While advisers and consultants can be very helpful, true mentors are effective partly because they are only interested in helping others succeed.
Now Begin your lists.
- Write or type all the names down of people you’ve identified as potential mentors.
- Beside their names, write down what you admire about each of them and how you think each can help you.
Make a list of requirements for a mentor you want to find online that you don’t know yet.
- What type of experience do you expect them to have?
- Are they working now, or are they retired? Does it matter?
- How much experience do they need to have to be your mentor?
- How old should they be?
- What do you want to learn from them?
- Which positive emotions do you want to learn to invoke? Confidence, patience, persistence, gratitude, humor, belief and perseverance? Positive emotion is critical to achieving goals.
This is like goal writing and writing down goals is the most important first step to achieving any objective. Do what works best for you. Write your goals and lists on paper or type them in a document you can save. When you write down what you admire about your potential mentors, you identify personality aspect and intellectual goals for you. You have now written goals for what, and who you, want to become.
Now that you have your list, prepare your request for a mentor—plan your introduction conversation with them, or their assistant, and plan your email. Look at your list.
- Write down the good things you want to tell them, about them, first.
- Then write down what you want to tell them about why you want them to mentor you.
- Tell them why you would be a good mentee.
- Decide how long you want your first mentor session to be. I suggest asking for 15 minutes of their time for the first session.
- If there is something you can offer them, do so.
- Write out your introduction conversation and your introduction email. Keep it short and simple.
- Practice the introduction conversation a few times. (Practicing with other people is good too)
- Have someone edit your introduction email and read it before you begin sending it out. Make it right.
- List contacts you have, that might know the mentors you want to connect with.
- Research, on the internet, how you might contact your potential mentors.
Begin to connect. Warm contacts or introductions are best. Call and ask your friend to introduce you if the option is available. If you don’t have a common acquaintance, you can try phoning them, or their assistant, and asking for a short mentor session using your preplanned introduction conversation. If you don’t reach them on the phone, send your pre-planned letter or email to them.
If you don’t find a mentor in your community, don’t give up. Try the 100s of online mentor sites. Begin at http://FindAMentor.com. Join the site; build a profile in the career category you are looking for a mentor in. Search the database for mentors in that category. If you don’t find one right away, check back every month or so to see if a mentor is joined in that category.
If FindAmentor.com doesn’t have the mentor you are looking for, check their Mentor Resources and Website page. Look in your geographic area and then for sites that have mentors in your field of interest. If you don’t find the right website there, then search in Google the specific type of mentor you want. For example search the words ‘business mentor’ or ‘engineering mentor’ or ‘carpenter mentor’, etc. There are many business mentor programs available online and/or through professional and trade organizations. Some unions may offer them as well. Look for sector– or industry-specific events and groups on Facebook; subscribe to useful newsletters; follow interesting or relevant individuals from your region on Twitter or LinkedIn; then get in touch and ask questions.
Now that you’ve found your mentor it’s time to plan for your first session.
- What do you want to accomplish and learn about? Write it down.
- What questions are most critical to ask? Write them down. (2 max — you want to keep within time limit of 15 minutes).
- Agree on an action item or items for you, the mentee. Write them down during the meeting so you can report back the next meeting.
- Watch the clock. Close the session on time or ask to talk longer if it’s going well.
- Decide if you will have another mentor session with this mentor and set the time and time limit.
- Thank your mentor.
All this shows professionalism and respect for your mentor. It’s a good thing.
Begin to do what you said you would in your mentor session. Every time we cross an item off our list, we gain confidence and feel better about ourselves. Use lists, cross items off and build your confidence. It’s up to you. Just do it.
If you are in a position to share the skills you have learned, you should give back by becoming a mentor yourself. Finding success is hard work, and entrepreneurs could use a little help along the way.
As the American businessman Zig Ziglar once said: “A lot of people have gone further than they thought they could because someone else thought they could.” So get out there and find the right mentor to help you along the path to success.
In closing, remember to make your list of potential mentors and what you like about them, write out what you want to learn from them, plan your introduction conversation, and begin to connect. Try warm contacts first, and then try phoning and then emailing. If you don’t find a mentor in your community, try online at different websites.
Plan your first mentor session; key questions you want to ask and what you want to learn from the session. Watch the clock, keep the session to the time limit you agreed on, and ask for an extension of time if it is going well. Agree on an action item for you to complete, and report back on in the next session, if you agree to a next session.
Just do it. Your confidence will build as you succeed. Never give up. Perseverance, persistence, patience, gratitude and belief are all key ingredients to success. Build the positive emotion and you will succeed. Your mentor will help you.
Good luck with your new connections. Thank you for reading.