Many articles have been written on the benefits of a business owner using a business mentor. Such articles can be backed up with statistics signifying a mentor’s value.
All sounds good, but where do you find one?
Before you try to find a mentor, it’s worthwhile considering exactly what you need help with as this can have an impact on where you start your search.
What areas (personal or business) do you feel you need support with?
Do you need someone with specific technical or industry-specific knowledge? Perhaps you need someone who has a large black book and can make introductions for you. It could be that you need help with the day-to-day activities in running a business (for example, leadership, managing people, putting processes in place, etc.). Or maybe it’s help with strategy, ie. “Where is the business going?” or “how can I grow my business when I am so busy?”
If you’re unsure if a mentor is right for you, then take a look at our separate article on Why you need a business mentor and the benefits that mentoring offers.
Once you have identified the kind of support and help you want from a mentor, the next step is to consider what individual attributes you are after. Some things to consider are:
Whether you pay for a mentor, or find someone who does it for free, the most important thing is that they give you and your business what you need and is someone you can work with.
There are people who can give others the benefit of their experience for no charge which can be beneficial to someone who is at the early stages of their business venture with a smaller budget.
Professional business mentors do it for a living and work with numerous clients across varied industries.
Paid for or not, the mentor will give you the benefit of their experience and help you avoid the pitfalls that new business owners commonly make.
There are pros and cons to either and these are worth considering.
If you have now decided what you are looking for, the help you need and the type of mentor you want – where is the best place to find them?
Is there someone within your contacts that has the skills/expertise that you require? Would they be right for you? Would they have the time?
Do you know other business owners that have used a mentor? Would they recommend them?
Do you attend any trade conferences/exhibitions where you could find someone suitable?
A search on LinkedIn by title, industry or role may throw up someone suitable. Ensure to write a well worded message with a connection request.
There are many organisations that offer free mentor programmes such as The Princes Trust, some banks and local councils so do your research.
There aren’t many people who wouldn’t be hugely flattered to be asked but it’s all in the asking.
Firstly point out that you admire the experience they have or what they have achieved that could be beneficial to you. Explain briefly what it is you need help with.
Once you’ve discussed what they could potentially offer you and your business, and you’ve decided whether or not this sounds like a service you’d benefit from, then you can ask how they would feel about mentoring you on a formal basis. Remember you’re asking them to provide a free service, so be professional and polite. Also, keep your communication short. Respect the fact that they likely have their own business to support so you don’t want to become a “time-hoover” before you’ve even started a relationship. If you’ve emailed them and haven’t received a response, leave it for a couple of weeks before following up, as you won’t be at the top of their priority list so you’ll need to be patient.
Finding a paid mentor is much easier and at UK Business Mentors, it’s as simple as using our search to find a business mentor near you.
Only about 17% of business owners in the UK use a business mentor yet, 93% of those who do, say they have added value according to a survey carried out by Sage.
A lot of people tell us that they struggled to find a mentor through other business owners which implies that when someone finds a good mentor, they want to keep them to themselves.
If you are still not sure about mentoring, then try it for free! We offer a complimentary first mentoring session with no obligation. This will give you an insight into how it could help you.
Enquire here; https://www.ukbusinessmentoring.co.uk/contact-us
Managing Director and Founder
UK Business Mentoring Group
And when you do find that mentor here are some tips as to how to get the most out of that partnership: