The right mentor is very crucial to your business growth and development because they are like compasses that guide you through your entrepreneurial journey.
People always use the alibi that connections are hard to find in Africa. I know what you mean, but acquiring the right social skills to finding those connections is the most important step. Are you are starting up a new business or do you already own one? It is exciting to come up with many ideas and create something on your own. However, while you are building that dream, you may not have a clear picture on how to build a sustainable business or figure out the challenges you may face on your own. You need a bit of help. This article will show you how to find a suitable mentor without losing hope.
The right mentor should be:
- Accessible: We all have those lofty dreams of having Oprah Winfrey or Mark Zuckerberg mentor us. Even if we could break through the protocol to have then speak to us, how often would they meet with us or give us real time business advice? You can read their books, follow their social media handles, but in reality, you need someone who can take you in the hands and lead you through the process. You need someone who is available to guide, direct, correct, follow up or call (if not in the same location) frequently. Mentors are available as your resource person.
- Knowledgeable: A mentor should provide you with a wealth of knowledge and information that will get you up to speed faster. They have a way of seeing your faults and will be firmly honest with you and tells you exactly how it is rather than downplaying any weakness they see in you and they proffer solutions on how to improve in those areas.
- Experienced: A mentor has passed through the start up phases and has made the mistakes you could potentially make in the same path. Mentors use their personal experience to help their mentees avoid mistakes and learn from good decisions.
- Supportive: No matter how difficult your situation is, a mentor continues to encourage you to learn and improve. They provide insight into complex issues that are beyond your capacity to solve.
- Pragmatic: A great mentor will make you accountable to them and will regularly check that you are aligned with your tasks, goals and priorities. Their advice should be both positive and practical.
Before you find a mentor, you have to be teachable and humble. In the first place, the reason you need a mentor is because you don’t know it all and you should be willing to learn from someone whose strategies has been tested and proven.
You also must respect your mentor and not take him or her for granted. Ensure that your appointments with your mentor are kept. Ensure that you do not take his advice for granted. These are some of the things that can turn off a mentor. They would be discouraged by your nonchalant attitude, lack of dedication to setting and achieving goals and your disregard for their advice.
If you help enough people get what they want, you will eventually get what you want.
Steps to Find a Mentor
- Search for someone in your network or outside your network that has achieved some measure of success.
- If you do not know anyone close to you, attend events in your field where you know you can find a suitable mentor. However, a mentor does not have to be in the same field.
- Approach him or her alone or with a friend if you are shy, politely ask if they have a moment. Then introduce yourself and tell them about your business and how much you want them to assist you through mentorship
- Be clear on what you want the mentor to do for you.
- Offer to help the mentor out on something you know is important to him or her, then make yourself available to help them out with certain tasks often. This gives you the opportunity to see how they carry out their business or personal lives. There is nothing more valuable than watching your mentors live their lives, network with other people or negotiate business deals. Offering to assist them gives you the opportunity to hang around your mentor.
- Come bearing gifts, do not always be at the receiving end.
- Avoid idle talk around your mentor and bad manners.
- Be teachable and eager to learn.
Get mentored fast.