|Most established businesspeople, men and women alike, attribute at least some of their success to the sage advice of a mentor or two. This is just as true for entrepreneurs as it is for corporate executives. Entrepreneurs, however, have a tougher time finding mentors. When you’re the owner, sales rep., CFO (and part-time janitor), there’s no corner office harboring a nurturing “been there done that” type to help keep your head straight.
So what to do? Like anything else in business, start with some goals. Jot down what you would like to accomplish through a mentor. Outline what a reasonable mentoring relationship would be like for you. And figure out how such a relationship could afford mutual benefit – to you and to your mentor.
Once that’s done, put together a strategy to find and engage a mentor. Trade associations and networking groups are great places to start, as are local colleges and universities, retirees from your industry and even online communities. You’ll need to be proactive though - to source out, vet and interest the right candidates.
We’re fortunate at NAWBO-OC. With a membership of over 400 women business owners, we’re loaded with potential mentors. And as a result, we run a highly sophisticated, and perhaps unprecedented, mentoring program. One that carefully matches “mentees” with mentors, and then shepherds those pairings through a process that keeps both parties accountable to stated goals.
In fact, many of our members joined NAWBO specifically to participate in our mentoring program. And that makes just plain good sense.
So here’s some sage advice for all of you mentor-seekers out there: consider NAWBO – it may be a very wise choice!