When it comes to growing a business, there are few things more valuable than connecting with a successful member within the industry. Finding a strong mentor - in addition to sharpening your skills by reading trade journals, continuing education, joining trade associations and networking with other professionals - can provide priceless insight and growth along the way to strengthening your new venture. But finding a mentor isn't necessarily any easy task. Below, Beauty Insurance Plus provides 4 key strategies for finding and getting the most out of having a great mentor.
Find a helpful, insightful listener.
While many people are happy to offer their opinions about running a business, it is important to find someone who is also ready to listen to your questions. The best teachers are also eager learners. Look for a more experienced professional who is also humble enough to understand your needs. This person should be patient, helpful, and insightful. Look for someone who can ask you the right questions and guide you through your business challenges. If you find someone you connect with, ask them if they will meet you for lunch or coffee. Let them know you want to "talk shop" and get their opinions.
Join a professional organization or chamber of commerce.
Your local chamber or professional group may be a great resource for finding potential mentors. You can also use the opportunity to network with others in your field and share best practices. If you attend regularly and participate in meetings, you will likely begin to connect with potential business mentors. Do not be intimidated by more experienced professionals. Experienced mentors have more information and ideas to share with you. Professional organizations intentionally help new members become acquainted and find mentors, so do not be afraid to introduce yourself and ask questions.
Take advantage of social media .
If running your business is too time-consuming, you may need to find a mentor online. Social media networking enables you to find experienced mentors and connect with them, wherever and whenever. Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook offer groups of professionals facing the same business challenges as you. Many of these people would make excellent mentors. Search for relevant groups and think of ways to participate effectively in them. Look for new business strategies, share your knowledge and ask questions. This is also a great opportunity for you to begin mentoring newer professionals. Do look for ways to give back to your industry while you further your own career.
Plan regular meetings with your new mentor.
Once you find a mentor, be sure to schedule ongoing meetings and make them a top priority. Ask your mentor about their schedule and try to be accommodating to their needs. Staying focused on your business will help you become more successful, so try to get the most from these meetings by being prepared. Also keep in mind that your mentor may have career and business obligations as well. Make an effort to find a mentor who has enough time to share with you and is available when you need help. You may want to find a retired professional in your field and ask them to mentor you.