Finding a mentor is an integral part of business success. Read more to find how to find a business mentor in 2022.
In order to be successful in business, it's helpful to have a mentor. A mentor can provide guidance and advice, and help you avoid making common mistakes. What's more, a good mentor has skills and knowledge you don’t. So you can pick their brain in their area of expertise and scale your company faster.
But how can you find a business mentor? There is a lot of demand for them, so it can be tricky to get their attention and get some of their precious time. It's not impossible, though. Successful business people love mentoring younger entrepreneurs, and many are happy to make mentoring both short- and long-term mentoring arrangements.
In this guide, we'll discuss how to find a business mentor who is right for you. We'll also provide tips on how to make the most of your mentorship relationship. Whether you're just starting out or you've been in business for a while, this guide will strengthen your networking foundations and give you ideas on how to find your business mentor.
What is a Business Mentor and Why Get One?
A business mentor is a professional who has achieved success in their field and is willing to share their knowledge with younger entrepreneurs.
A business mentor is a professional who has achieved success in their field and is willing to share their knowledge with younger entrepreneurs. A good business mentor can provide guidance, advice, and support as you navigate the challenges of starting and running your own business.
When you're a young entrepreneur, there's a lot to learn about how to run and grow your business. But how can you scale your company faster? How can you find answers to your questions without wasting time on trial-and-error methods? The answer is simple: find someone who has the knowledge and experience that will help you succeed in business. A mentor is one of the best ways to do this.
A good mentor can provide guidance on how they got started with their own professional journey, how they overcame challenges along the way, how they manage employees and clients, what skills are most important for success in their industry or niche — these are just some of the many topics mentors could help guide younger entrepreneurs through.
Another benefit of having a business mentor is that you'll have access to their professional and social networks. This can be extremely valuable, as these contacts could lead to potential customers, employees, or investors for your business. Other benefits of having a business mentor include:
Access to expert advice and support
Guidance on how to start and grow your business
Avoid making common mistakes
Learn from someone who has been there before
Get insights into how successful businesses operate
Business Mentoring in 2022: What and What Not
One thing that characterizes the 2022 business world perhaps more than any other is Zoom fatigue. For the past 2 years or so, regions across the world have been in and out of lockdowns due to the pandemic. Those entrepreneurs who didn't use Zoom and other video conference apps had no choice but to start using Zoom.
The problem, though, is that everyone is tired of using Zoom. Many of us lack the human connections we took for granted before the pandemic. As a result, you must consider that the entrepreneurs you look up to as potential mentors may suffer from Zoom fatigue. This means potential mentors might not be warm to the idea of adding more Zoom meetings to their schedules.
The most timeless, fundamental piece of advice we can give about finding a business mentor is: stand out from the crowd. This may sound like a platitude, but it's unbelievable how many entrepreneurs expect to receive mentorship while being exactly the same as other mentor seekers. If you hope to find your perfect mentor, you must stand out from the crowd in a deep, meaningful way.
How can you stand out from the crowd exactly? It starts with knowing the person you're talking to and tailoring your message to them. You can find out a lot of information simply by looking through their social media profiles or listening to podcast or radio interviews. Where do they live? What do they like to do? What do they like to drink? These are questions that can guide you in crafting your message to them.
For example, if you live in the same city as your potential mentor and you know they love coffee, ask them to go for coffee with you. If you know they love going for walks, ask them if you could join them on a walk. Tailoring your message to their interests shows an interest in the person beyond their success. Moreover, it makes it easier for them to say "yes" because you blend yourself in your daily life.
How to Find a Business Mentor
One of the best ways to find a business mentor is to ask around. Talk to your friends, family, and colleagues and see if they know anyone who can help you. If you don't know anyone personally, try searching online for forums or groups where business owners meet up. There are also many websites that connect mentors and mentees, so this might be a good option for you.
First, find relevant professional associations and people in the same industry as you are. A good starting point is to create your professional network—your own network. This way, you have an orbit around you, which facilitates meeting new people.
Wherever you go to find potential mentors, express genuine interest, and be a connector yourself. Keep your eyes open for opportunities to connect people as people will return the favor. It's easier for experienced entrepreneurs to connect you with industry leaders when you are a connector yourself.
If you want to find a great mentor, you need to prepare to be a great mentee. This means you must develop yourself as a person and entrepreneur and improve your business and social skills. Work on being an incredible friend to other people. Set clear boundaries. Ask people for specific advice. Write business plans for your ventures. Attend speaking panels. Join Facebook groups. Get real world experience. Type out what your dream mentor looks like. Create your own success.
How to Approach Potential Business Mentors
Approaching your business mentor should be natural and organic. Don't overthink or overcomplicate it.
If you've identified someone you would like to become your business mentor, the next step is approaching them. Approaching your business mentor should be natural and organic. Don't overthink or overcomplicate it. Here are some tips on how to do this:
Start by introducing yourself and explaining why you want to work with them as a mentor
Share your business goals and ask for their advice on how to achieve them
Show how you've prepared for this meeting – have researched them, their business, and how it could be of value to yours
Ask about their paid services and mentorship opportunities. It's important to show you respect for their time and value.
Be clear about what type of support you need from them (e.g., advice on how to grow your business)
Ask if they like to meet in person or virtually (if you live in the same city) and what a mentoring session might look like.
Ask if they would like more information or want to meet again before making up their mind about whether they're willing to mentor you.
It's important to do your research before choosing a mentor. Meet with each and ask them a lot of questions. What industry do they specialize in? What type of advice do they offer? How often do they meet with their mentees? Are they available for phone calls and Zoom meetings? How much do they charge for their services?
It's also critical to establish some ground rules. Both parties should agree on how often they'll meet, how long each meeting will be, and what type of communication is allowed (phone calls, Zoom meetings, email). It's also important to create a timeline for the mentorship relationship and set goals for both parties.
Note that not all mentors are paid mentors. You may well find a mentor that doesn't charge you anything. However, keep in mind that any relationship involves an exchange of value. For the mentorship to be sustainable, you must be able to provide value to your mentor. This could be in the form of services or in the form of giving them a sense of contribution. If you get into a free mentorship, make sure to understand the mentor's motivations so you can continually provide value.
There are several ways you can go about finding a business mentor:
Use online resources such as directories or social media groups to find mentors in your area of interest. Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn are great places to start.
Attend business or networking events and meet with potential mentors there
Ask your local chamber of commerce, small business association or entrepreneurship organization if they can connect you with a mentor
Where to Find Business Mentors
One of the best places to find an experienced entrepreneur to mentor you are a professional or business events.
There are a plethora of places where you can find someone to create a mentoring relationship. These include:
Professional and Business Events
One of the best places to find an experienced entrepreneur to mentor you are a professional or business events. These may be large-scale conferences, small meetups, or networking opportunities for entrepreneurs and other professionals in your industry.
Some good resources for finding these events include meetup groups and Eventbrite. There are also plenty of local groups you can join on Facebook, LinkedIn, or other social media platforms. For example, Gura.io allows new entrepreneurs and established businesses to receive valuable mentorship for a fraction of the cost through videos.
Attend these events with a clear goal in mind – you should already know who you want to meet and what type of advice you're looking for. Prepare questions in advance and be ready to take notes. If the opportunity arises, ask your mentor if they would be willing to have a longer meeting to discuss your business in more detail.
Professional and Business Programs
There are many professional and business programs that provide mentorship services to students or entrepreneurs. These may be offered through colleges, universities, or other educational institutions as part of their curriculum.
Professional and business programs are also often run by private businesses that want to give back to the community in which they operate. Some examples include The Founder Institute, a global startup accelerator with chapters in over 190 cities, which offers a four-month mentor-driven program. Also consider university entrepreneurship programs.
Mentorship programs are a great way to find a business mentor. These programs match entrepreneurs who need help with experienced mentors who can guide them through the process of starting and running their own businesses.
Some examples include:
The Founder Institute – See description above
RISE – A program for women entrepreneurs that provides mentorship and funding opportunities in Australia and New Zealand
Startup Canada – A national program that connects entrepreneurs with experienced business leaders from a variety of industries
Local Chambers of Commerce
Most local areas have a chamber of commerce, which is an organization that promotes economic development in the community. Some chambers offer mentorship programs or can connect you with business leaders who might be willing to act as mentors.
You can find your local chamber of commerce by searching online for "chamber of commerce" + "[your city name]" or "[your state name]."
Professional networks are a great way to find people who might be willing to act as mentors. These may include local or national organizations for entrepreneurs and business owners, professional associations related to your industry, or other groups that can help you connect with experienced professionals in the field.
Some examples include:
The Entrepreneur's Network – A global group for entrepreneurs and small business owners that provides mentorship, resources, and networking opportunities
The Entrepreneur's Organization – An international organization focused on helping entrepreneurial leaders succeed by providing a global network of peer support through local chapters.
The Young Entrepreneurs Council – A membership-based community for young entrepreneurs to connect with mentors who have been successful in their careers.
The Small Business Development Center – An organization that provides free business consulting to small businesses and entrepreneurs through local offices.
Meetup Groups – These groups can be a great way to meet other people who are interested in the same topics as you, including entrepreneurship and starting up new ventures. You'll find these by searching online for "entrepreneur" + "[your city name]" or "[your state name].
Professional associations are a great way to find mentors who have experience in your industry. These organizations typically offer mentorship programs or can connect you with experienced professionals who might be willing to act as a mentor.
Some examples include:
The American Marketing Association – A professional organization for marketing professionals that provides resources, networking opportunities, and training courses
The National Association of REALTORS® – An organization for real estate professionals that offers mentorship programs, events, and resources for members
The American Institute of CPAs – A professional association for accountants that provides training courses, networking opportunities, and a mentor matching service.
Again, these are just a few examples. You can find your local chamber of commerce by searching online for "chamber of commerce" + "[your city name]" or "[your state name]."
Incubators and Accelerators
Incubators and accelerators are programs that help entrepreneurs develop their ideas into successful businesses. These organizations typically provide mentorship, workshops, and other resources to participating members.
Some examples include:
Startup “Bootcamps” – Intensive training courses for entrepreneurs who want to start a new business or grow an existing one
Accelerators – Programs designed to help startup founders accelerate their growth and scale their business model. They offer advisors and mentors who can be used as a sounding board.
Some programs are free, while others may require a fee to participate. If there is an application process, make sure to complete it so that the organization can find someone who is a good fit for your needs and goals.
Social Media Platforms
Social media platforms like LinkedIn and Facebook can also be a great place to find mentors. These tools allow you to search for other people who have similar interests or work in the same industry as you do.
You can look through mentor profiles and see if they offer mentorship services by searching online for "entrepreneur", find someone who seems like a good fit for your needs and goals, reach out to them directly with an introduction message. You can also connect with local entrepreneurs on social media platforms by joining groups in a certain industry.
While social media are a great way to connect, remember that many entrepreneurs spend little to no time on social media because it is a distraction. Though social media should be part of your strategy, make sure you use other strategies in your quest for finding a mentor.
Small Business Owners
Another great place to find a business mentor is by reaching out to small business owners in your area. Many of these entrepreneurs are happy to share their experiences and offer advice to others who are just starting out.
You can find small business owners by searching online for "small businesses [your city name]" or "[your state name]."
Then, send them an email with how you found their company, what you do professionally, and how they can help you find a mentor for your business idea.
They may respond back saying that they don't have time to meet with you but would like to stay in touch via email or phone call from time to time as well.
Small Business Administration
The Small Business Administration (SBA) also offers mentorship services to entrepreneurs. The SBA connects small business owners with mentors who have experience in a variety of industries.
You can find out more about the SBA's mentor matching service by visiting their website or contacting your local office.
How to Make the Most of Your Mentorship Relationship
The best way to make the most of your mentorship relationship is by setting goals at the beginning and then tracking your progress along the way.
The best way to make the most of your mentorship relationship is by setting goals at the beginning and then tracking your progress along the way. This helps keep both parties accountable and allows you to measure your success. Additionally, it's important to have an open dialogue with your mentor. This means sharing how you're feeling, what's going on in your life, and how things are progressing at work (or not).
Another great way to make the most of your mentorship relationship is by creating a structure around it. It might be helpful if both parties agree on how often they'll meet or how long each meeting will last. You may also want to create some ground rules for communication outside of meetings so that neither party feels like they need to respond immediately when contacted by email or text message (unless there's an emergency situation).
Finally, keep in mind that good mentorships take time. Don't expect immediate results from every single meeting with your mentor - this isn't how mentorship works. Instead, think of each meeting as an opportunity to learn something new and gain a different perspective on how you're doing in your life/career right now versus how you could be doing it better tomorrow.
If you've been in a mentorship relationship for any length of time, how did it shape your life? What did you learn from your mentor that helped make you into the person you are today? Do share below!
Find Your Next Business Mentor with Gura
Gura helps you find a business mentor by giving you access to experts who will send you a personalized video.
Want to find great business mentors and get the right advice? Finding a mentor is easy with Gura.io. You can find your next trusted advisor to help your business grow through our library of experienced entrepreneurs. You'll get the best advice for the best price.
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