No matter what kind of company you run, you increase your chances of being successful by having a “business mentor.” Someone who can advise and guide you is always a good idea. Having a knowledgeable and trustworthy counsel, particularly one who has “been-there, done-that,” is comparable to having money in the bank.
Your business mentor can not make choices for you
That falls under your remit. Whether you have an MBA or not. However, their knowledge can be extremely helpful when used as a sounding board or a reality check. The primary motivation of a mentor is not financial gain. In most cases, they provide their services to business owners without charge. In order to gain the personal fulfillment that comes from assisting others.
So the question is, how do you locate such a person? The following is a list of locations and organizations that can assist in matching business owners or startup entrepreneurs with mentors:
SCORE (www.score.org) has a national network of about 13,000 retired business executives. Leaders. Volunteers. It is likely the most well-known organization in the world that helps small business owners for free and in complete privacy.
SCORE’s volunteer business mentor shares their knowledge and experience through counseling sessions in person and online (via email).
Small Business Development Centers, or SBDCs, are another great place for business owners. And people who want to start their own businesses to get help and advice for free or for a small fee. There are more than 1,200 Small Business Development Centers in the United States. You can get help finding one by going to www.asbdc-us.org. Women’s Business Centers (WBCs) are places where women can get training. Advice. And other tools they need to start and run successful businesses. In nursing and any other field.
Visit www.sba.gov, which is the website of the Office of Women’s Business Ownership, to find the WBC that is closest to you. About forty different locations across the country function as Minority Business Development Centers. They are run by the United States Department of Commerce. And provide free assistance to minority-owned firms. Please go to www.mbda.gov to learn more about the Minority Business Development Agency.
Associations Representing Businesses or Professions:
Many professional and trade groups run mentoring programs specifically for business entrepreneurs. People who are just getting their companies off the ground. Some organizations provide arranged one-on-one mentorship sessions in addition to possibilities for group networking.
Investigate the affiliations that are relevant to your field.
Advisors for Those Working in Government Contracting:
The General Services Administration (GSA) has established a Mentor/Protégé Program. To encourage prime contractors to assist small businesses in becoming more successful in government contracting. And to enhance their capability of successfully performing on government contracts and subcontracts. If your company intends to sell to the federal government, you should take advantage of this program. You can locate it by going to GSA.gov.
Who do you know that could be a business mentor?
This is your very own network. Do you have a former boss who was a great example for you or a friend who runs their own business? You could ask that person to be your business mentor or to tell you about their experiences, both good and bad. If you try it, you have nothing to lose. Just make sure you’re ready to talk to them about why you chose to work with them and what you hope to accomplish. And what you expect from them. At the moment, LinkedIn is the best platform for making connections. Make sure you take part in it!
Here are some tips that will help you get the most out of your mentoring relationship:
Always remember to be organized, well-prepared, and consistent. No one wants to waste their time with you if you aren’t serious about getting ahead. Make sure you’re ready for your meetings with your mentor. These could be as simple as having a one-on-one consultation or lunch meeting once a month. Talk about where you are with your business goals and how to best deal with business problems. How to get advice on business processes or regulatory requirements that you don’t understand, and so on. The goal of these would be to talk about how to handle business problems in the best way. However, you should also have more structured sessions that address different parts of establishing a business. Running a business. Managing a business. And expanding a business. Casual one-on-one meetings are fine, but you should also have those. You should get the meeting off to a strong start by preparing a comprehensive agenda of topics to be discussed at each. And everyone.
Take notes, make a revision to your list of “action items,” and use the time during the next session to analyze your progress against them. Take care not to waste the time of your mentor. Make use of their expertise and apply it in the manner you deem most appropriate. This is still none of my concern.
The most important step is to reach out to others. An unsolicited email may be successful. But sending one with the subject line “Can I pick your brain?” is much less effective than writing an email that specifically addresses your requirements. When you first meet your potential mentor, make sure to tell them exactly what it is. About them that you find admirable as well as why you want to work with them. Keep in mind that the most successful mentorships are based on mutually beneficial partnerships. Even if you are just getting started as a small business owner or are on the verge of doing so. You will already have a lot of knowledge that other people can benefit from hearing.
Even if the concept of “becoming your own boss” might be unfamiliar to you. It’s probable that you already have a wealth of resources available to you right now. You just have to zero in on them more specifically.
It’s possible that the roommate your cousin had in college is now running a thriving restaurant. Or perhaps the manager you had twenty years ago is currently running a thriving business that he or she founded. Do not be scared to put yourself in uncomfortable situations. New business owners can benefit greatly from the mentorship provided by relationships they have maintained over the years.