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Choosing the right mentor for you

Every budding entrepreneur needs a mentor to aid their path to success

You may be wondering what a mentor is, and why you would need one. Well, a mentor is a person who is successful in a similar career to the one you want to pursue. A mentor commits to guiding you without any charge for their time. It’s normally quite an honour for someone to be asked to be a mentor because they are expected to develop you by giving you valuable advice and insights as you start your own business or chase your entrepreneurial dream. They will also tell you about their own challenges and experiences so that you can learn from them. Finding the right mentor can make a massive difference to your success. Here are some tips to help you find a mentor who will inspire you to become a fully-fledged entrepreneur in your own right:

Your mentor must have the right knowledge and experience

As a young entrepreneur, you need someone with proven success as an entrepreneur to mentor you. You should be able to pick their brain about starting your own business, growing your business and then maintaining success when you are successfully standing on your own two feet.

Your mentor must have time for you

Choosing a CEO or someone high up in a company may give you great guidance, but will they have the time to mentor you? Think about how much time you will need from them and let them know upfront so that you don’t get stranded when you need guidance. A relationship with a mentor must work for both of you so that it is a positive experience.

Your mentor should help you develop creative thinking

There’s no point in having a mentor that thinks like you. For your mentor to really help you, he or she needs to give you solutions that you would not have thought about by yourself. If you look at the mentor’s own business, you’ll be able to see if he or she is doing exactly what everyone else is doing or if their business is unique and different. Standing out is key to success!

Your mentor should help you with the bigger picture and the smaller details

A good mentor helps you see where you want to go and then helps you plan how to get there. There are many business techniques they should be able to teach you like how to plot an effective SWOT (strengths/weaknesses/opportunities/threats) analysis, how to set SMART (specific/measurable/ achievable/relevant/time-bound) goals; and of course, how to put together a solid and realistic business plan.

Your mentor should be well connected

As corny as it might sound, often it really is not what you know, but who you know. If your mentor has a big network of connections, the introductions could mean more opportunities than a mentor who is good at what they do, but not well connected.

Your mentor must be unbiased

It’s important to find someone who won’t sugar-coat advice. They should be honest and to the point. If you are doing something wrong, they should be able to point it out, and you should be able to take constructive criticism without taking it personally. Being stubborn can be a real stumbling block!

Your mentor should be humble and want you to succeed

It is important to find someone who leads with humility and truly wants to play a part in your future success. As you get guidance from your chosen mentor, you will be able to pick up if they are invested in your future or not. If they are mentoring for selfish reasons, you will not benefit so make sure you find the right fit!

It has been proven that entrepreneurs who have mentors are more likely to succeed. Take your time finding the right mentor for your small business and then put your passion and perseverance into first gear!

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