by Priya Nembhard
New startup business owners are often intimidated by the process, not knowing what steps to take to start and build their business. Usually, the quickest way to get answers is to search the internet but in reality only someone who was once in your shoes can tell you how it really is.
Finding a fellow entrepreneur to provide you with mentorship and guidance is a great opportunity for your growth and psychologically calms your fears. So, when looking for a business mentor what do you exactly look for? Are you looking for a high roller or someone who is down to earth?
Here is my short list of what to look for in a mentor:
1. Open and honest: When you obtain a mentor you do not want a person telling you stories or some who is apprehensive with sharing knowledge and connections with you. Your mentor is your window into a world you know little about and is there to share information with you. If he or she is apprehensive or wants to charge money for the service that is not a mentor.
2. Self-empowered: Look for a motivated individual with a positive attitude. Not someone the wheals and deals underhandedly to get a buck. That sounds like someone who is empowered but we are looking for ethical and moral people. Surrounding yourself with people who are self-empowered is a huge plus! Who you surround yourself with says a lot about you!
3. Knowledgeable: Knowledge is gold in a mentor. You want some one who knows what they are talking about and that can properly guide you through your business’ ups and downs. Even better, is someone who works in your niche or use to work in your niche.
4. Friendly and down to earth: This is big for me personally. I need a mentor I can laugh and joke around with. Someone who is classy but is not high on their horse. I highly recommend a mentor you can connect with.
5. Experienced: Much of what is learned in life is through experience and not through a text book and many entrepreneurs are experienced from real life education. Choose a mentor who’s knowledge equates their experience or visa verse.
Finding a mentor is not easy and does not happen by someone just coming up to you and saying “Can I be your mentor?” A prospective mentor will have spent some time with you already and has seen your potential. This relationship will happen naturally and you will know that this person has become your mentor by the nature of the relationship.
Now, I believe mentorship is important on any level. I have done it for young people. But I have never had a mentor to guide me through my entrepreneurial adventures. I have had a load of advice from people. I have learned over time what type of advice to listen to and who to listen to. I also know I am young and have a lifetime more for my mentor to appear if that is my path, but if you are part of the lucky few do not shy away from the guidance. Take advantage of the knowledge and support a mentor can give you.