Today, I’d like to discuss seven different ways to find a good business mentor. If you own a small business of any kind, you need a mentor. Think of a mentor as your personal coach; someone who can help you solve your business problems and get better results in your business. Basically, you can leverage their experience and expertise to get answers to your questions.
Ideally, a good mentor is someone who has already achieved what you want to achieve. But if you can’t find someone in your same industry to mentor you, look for someone with lots of experience, and proven results, in a similar field. You should also look for subject matter experts in specific fields such as sales, marketing, operations, human resources, etc. Each mentor can help you with a specific area of expertise, so you might end up having several mentors.
In order to find a good business mentor, here are a seven things you can do:
1. Read Books
Most of my mentors are authors. I’m an avid reader and I credit what I have learned from books as the biggest reason for my business success. If you are struggling in a certain area you can visit your local library or bookstore and find books about that specific topic. If you don’t like to read, you can get the audio version. Best of all, most books are very inexpensive ($10 to $20 each) and you can reference them whenever you want. By reading biographies and autobiographies you can learn in a few hours what took someone else a lifetime to learn.
What I suggest you do is make a list of areas you need help with and then find three books about that topic. Look for best sellers in that subject. Ask other successful people you know about what books they recommend for a certain subject. Reading books is time well spent. You should make it a goal to read for at least 30 minutes a day. You feed your body everyday, why not feed your brain as well? Check out my reading list.
2. Team Up with Someone from Out of Town
Another great way to find a good business mentor is to team up with someone from out of town. For instance, if you own a local printing business you probably wouldn’t want to share business ideas with another printer business in your home town. However, you might be able to find an experienced printer from another town or state that would be willing to be your mentor or share ideas with you on a regular basis.
3. Find a Retiree in Your Chosen Profession
One of the best ways to find a good business mentor is to find a retiree that worked in the same field you do. There are millions of retirees in our country. Most of them still have good working knowledge of their fields and they are filled with ideas that could help you grow your business or solve your business challenges. To find someone retired you could put an ad in the newspaper, visit a retirement community, or ask around.
4. Attend Networking Events in Your Local Area
I love networking events. Organizations such as Toastmasters, the Chamber of Commerce, Rotary Club, Elks Club, Kiwanis, the Masons and other civic organizations are a wonderful way to meet new business people. You can form new friendships and look for people with the expertise you need to help you out. You can barter with each other or hire the other person. For example, a lawyer might exchange an hour of his time to get an hour of his accountant’s time. I do this all the time with other entrepreneurs and it works great for me.
5. Hire a Business Coach or Consultant
Another good way to find a good business mentor is to hire a business coach or consultant. For a nominal fee you can hire someone to help you solve your immediate business challenges. The money you spend will be money well invested. For a couple hundred dollars you might learn a simple way to solve some of the problems you’ve been dealing with for quite a while.
6. Join Associations in Your Niche or Industry
Another simple way to find a mentor is to join associations in your niche. For example, if you are a blogger like I am, you could join a blogging association. You could subscribe to trade publications in your industry or niche. You could attend the events and form new friendships with other people in the same niche. You could look for people you trust and respect and seek them out as your mentor.
7. Attend Workshops and Seminars
In the United States alone, there are literally tens of thousands of conferences and seminars each year. You can find a seminar or event for just about any topic imaginable. For example, if you need help with your marketing for your small business, you could attend a small business marketing seminar. If you need help with your communication skills, you could find a seminar that focuses on communication skills.
Most of these events are $100 to $300 for a one to three day workshop, so it’s a really good deal. They typically do very in depth training on the subject.
To find a seminar just do a search online for the topic you need help with, plus the word seminar. For example, if you need help with improving your bookkeeping skills you could do a search for “bookkeeping seminar” and you will find plenty of options to choose from.
BONUS TIP: A good bonus tip is to join mastermind teams. Look for different mastermind teams online where you can rub elbows with 10-20 other people in the same field as you. All of you can share your challenges with each other and find solutions. You can also get training on subjects you need help with.
These are just a few simple ways to find a good business mentor. Please know that you don’t have to keep the same mentor for your entire career. You might outgrow your mentor from time-to-time. That’s perfectly normal.
Additionally, it’s okay to have several mentors. For example, you might have a marketing mentor, a sales mentor, a financial mentor, etc. I personally have several different business mentors. Finally, it’s okay to pay your mentor too. Most of my mentors I pay an hourly or monthly fee for their service. Not everything in the world is free.
At the end of the day, what’s most important is that you can find someone who is qualified to give you specific business advice AND you listen to them.
What are your thoughts? Where do you find your mentors? Leave a comment below to let me know what you think. I look forward to hearing from you.