How to Find a Mentor for Entrepreneurship
Aspiring entrepreneurs have admirable dreams of starting and growing their own businesses. However, some of them overlook the importance of finding a mentor. They think that information on the Internet and pieces of advice from friends and colleagues are enough. These resources are helpful, but they can only take you so far in the industry.
Having worked with young entrepreneurs through the years, I have seen time and time again that a mentor’s guidance is unparalleled. In fact, a 2013 study shows that about 80% of CEOs said they received some form of mentorship, with the vast majority of them finding this either fairly or very useful. Now, the question is: how do you seek out a mentor?
Places to Search for a Mentor
Before you start looking anywhere else, check your network first. You might already know someone you can potentially connect with–whether someone from your former schools, organizations, or workplaces. Check if your college has an entrepreneurship centre or mentorship program.
You can also attend events in your field. Are there any conferences in your area? Maybe a well-known resource speaker or CEO is giving a speech near you? Take that as a chance to learn from like-minded people.
Going to these events is also the perfect opportunity to expand your network. Introduce yourself, exchange business cards, and share your ideas with participants and guests. Don’t approach people with the sole purpose of finding a mentor. Let the conversations flow naturally and focus on creating relationships rather than being too direct with your goal of seeking mentorship.
Business-Oriented Online Platforms
LinkedIn is a famous example of a social media platform that connects professionals in various industries and demographic areas. Ensure that your profile sums up your relevant skills, mission, and motivation. A compelling and interesting profile will help you make more connections and draw the attention of potential mentors.
Service Corps of Retired Executives (SCORE) is an organization committed to helping entrepreneurs start, operate, and grow their businesses. It has the largest network of volunteer small business mentors that you can work with for free. You can request a face-to-face meeting with a mentor and form a lasting partnership with them. Check for a SCORE chapter near your location.
Micromentor is a site that also connects mentors with mentees for free. It allows users to create a profile, complete mentor requests, and contact mentors.
Local Business and Start-up Groups
You can try joining local business and start-up groups, both online and offline. Find people who are available for brief meetings, brainstorming sessions, or working lunches. It may seem like an overwhelming task to go out there and pitch yourself and your business to strangers. You need to conquer that fear if you want to build relationships and eventually match with a great mentor.
Small Business Development Centres
Small Business Development Centres (SBDCs) provide businesses with financial and business planning consulting services. While it may not exactly be the mentor-mentee relationship you’re looking for, it’s a good place to start. Search your local SBDC here.
Friends and Family
Sometimes, you don’t have to search far and wide for mentoring relationships. Your loved ones might have expertise and wisdom they can impart to you, or they may know someone who does. Don’t be afraid to ask!
New Experiences and Paths Less Travelled
The truth is if you’re willing to try anything and everything under the sun, you’ll never run out of places to find a mentor. Be more open and spontaneous. Start conversations with people you’re least likely to approach. You might not always meet a mentor per se, but you will pick up lessons and stories that will enrich your journey.
As someone who worked as a voluntary mentor for The Prince’s Trust, I find it rewarding and enjoyable to support the youth with their business ventures. Being a mentor to up-and-coming entrepreneurs is just one of the ways I give back to the community and impact society at large.
A true mentorship is built on trust, and I understand how valuable my personal experiences and emotional support are in helping mould entrepreneurs of the future.
Visit my homepage to learn more about my work as a mentor.