One of the most common advice that new entrepreneurs hear is to “find a business mentor”. It makes sense because everyone needs a bit of help when they’re just starting with their career. A business mentor is someone who guides their mentee by offering sound advice based on knowledge, experience, and expertise so they can succeed in their respective field.
Sometimes a mentorship forms organically while in other cases, they require careful and thorough planning. It’s rare to come across a great mentor that will serve as your guiding light and if you want to find one, you’ll have to look at the right places.
That said, here are 10 best places where you can find the right business mentor for you.
1. Networking events
Networking events are where people get into contact with each other, thus making it the perfect opportunity to expand your professional network. Try attending these events and talk to as many people as you can. You’ll gain new insights by striking up conversations and if the opportunity presents itself, you can express your interest in a mentorship program.
2. Entrepreneur hotspots
If you live in a city where the startup scene is thriving, there are likely several entrepreneur hotspots located within the area. The term may sound ambiguous because these hotspots vary wildly. For example, there may be a weekly meeting at the downtown library where creative minds discuss their ideas or a startup incubator with an open workspace where you can meet new people within the industry.
The presence of startups attracts entrepreneurs of different backgrounds and experiences, some of which are potential candidates for the mentorship you’re looking for. Keep your eyes peeled and try going to these hotspots as much as you can.
3. Social media
It’s uncommon for business mentors to not have a social media presence as many of them use different platforms to build their brand image. LinkedIn and Twitter are the two biggest players for connecting with mentors and professionals so make sure to do your research and find the right candidates based on your industry or your demographic area.
SCORE is one of the largest networks of expert volunteers and business mentors. It’s a non-profit organisation that strives to help budding entrepreneurs start, run, and grow their businesses. Throug SCORE, you can request a face-to-face meeting with one of their mentors to discuss your business ideas. Many entrepreneurs have formed a lasting mentorship through SCORE and you may be able to do the same when you visit their website.
5. Industry centres
If there are industry expos coming up within your location, it’s likely that business mentors will show up to promote their own products or services. Conferences and speaking events are also events that you need to check out as the chances of finding someone that’s more experienced than you is very high. You may also be able to learn more about your industry during your search which is always a plus in our opinion.
6. Indirect competitors
While your direct competitors will be reluctant to give you helpful advice, your indirect competitors may be willing to give you a helping hand. Seek out companies in the same industry you’re in that’s targeting a different segment of the market. The key is to find businesses that have no bearing whatsoever on your local relationships. That way, you can benefit from their leadership skills and use that to your advantage as you progress with your career.
Volunteering is a great way to establish business relationships as you’ll meet all kinds of people from different industries. From college students and retirees to CEOs and business leaders, their experiences can prove invaluable to someone like you who’s just starting out. The best part is that you’ll be giving back to the community whilst improving the reputation of your business; two things that can help you find the right business mentor to guide you.
8. Friends and family
Sometimes you don’t need to look far away to find the right business mentor. Friends and family members who are successful with their own business might know an influential figure that can help you with jumpstarting your entrepreneurial career. Make sure to hit them up and ask about forming a potential mentorship.
9. Your own organisation
Like we’ve previously mentioned, there are instances where a mentorship forms organically. This happens when a more experienced co-worker or boss takes you under their wing and serve as a business mentor to you. If you work for a company that is led by successful individuals, you can learn more about their leadership skills by proposing a mentorship.
The advantage to this is that you and your potential mentor already have a professional relationship and that plays a huge role in how successful the mentorship will be.
10. Anywhere else
If you’re open to new contacts and experiences, you could potentially meet the right business mentor anywhere. Get to know your acquaintances better. Attend major business events within your area. Talk to strangers and strike up a casual conversation. You’ll never know who will be the right mentor for you if you don’t reach out to other people.