Running a small business can be overwhelming. Finding customers, increasing brand awareness, hiring and keeping the best talents, and balancing quality and growth can all be tasking. It often feels like the world is against you, where everything looks set up for you to fail.
Some 20 percent of small businesses fail in the first year, and 50 percent would have fallen by the fifth year. With such a failure rate, it is clear why running a business can be overwhelming. Interestingly, 70 percent of mentored businesses survive over five years. That feels like a hack right there. A mentor is a person who has years of experience, has made plenty of mistakes, and is willing to guide you.
Mentors have also developed a keen intuition for spotting flaws in ideas to help you shape your business decisions. They are great for helping with tough decisions and new ideas. Here’s how to find a mentor for your small business.
1. Target a Specific Need
Often, finding a mentor that can address all your business needs can be difficult, as the world is moving towards specialization. One thing you can do is find mentors for each target area. Preferably areas where you’ve struggled the most in your business. Classifying the areas you need help with increases your chances of getting the best value.
For instance, if you have financial challenges, you could find a financial guru to help. Or, if you’re having issues finding the best communication solutions, you can find a tech expert to provide you with the benefits of VoIP for small business. Targeting a specific need allows you to access several mentors and get different perspectives to help make the best decisions.
2. Search Outside Your Industry
Finding a mentor inside your industry is excellent; it helps you get a unique insider perspective on situations. However, you can search outside your sector, too. The benefit of searching externally is that an outsider’s perspective can be invaluable in generating new ideas.
A mentor outside your industry can identify ways of approaching problems not typical for your business or among competitors. It is important to find mentors who understand your business’s size and scale, especially if they aren’t from your industry.
3. Reach Out
After identifying potential mentors, the next step is to reach out to them. Try not to chicken out and miss the opportunity for a relationship that can transform your business.
Do not be afraid to call or email a potential mentor. They could take you on themselves or refer you to someone they think is a better fit. The worst they’d say is ”no. ”
When you reach out to a potential mentor, tell them what you like about them. It’s a good idea to do some research ahead of time. If you find an article they wrote or a course they taught, bring it up. Remember, being personal and relatable is key.
4. Use Social Media
The beauty of social media is making celebrities, thought leaders, and potential mentors more accessible. Twitter and LinkedIn are the most likely platforms designed to engage with professionals. LinkedIn helps you search for specific skill sets you’d want in a prospective mentor. You can reach out directly with a connection request or find other contact details on their profile page.
If you have a Twitter account, some people you follow may be a good starting point. Frequent social media users give you a glimpse into their opinions and perspectives, helping you determine if they’re a good fit. You can also use popular hashtags to find relevant mentors.
5. Join a Networking Group
The entrepreneurship journey can be a lonely one. Hence, the need to find like-minded people. This will help you meet new people and build relationships. From such meetings, you can also meet mentors who have weathered the storm and have got their businesses to a place you can only envision.
A networking group bridges the gap and gives you access to great minds. These groups often have speakers covering various topics that help keep participants on track. If nobody in the group resonates with you, there might be a guest speaker you find intriguing. Either way, it’s a win-win strategy.
6. Attend Events
Events are a great way to meet people—those just starting, those at your level, and those who have achieved outstanding success. The key to maximizing events is to find the ones relevant to your industry or gatherings where mentors you seek would most likely attend.
It is not enough to attend events. Socialize, engage people, and start conversations. You never know who you may meet. Your potential mentor might be one conversation away at the coffee stand.
When you finally get a mentor, nurture the relationship. Value their time and be actively involved. Mentorship thrives when it is not just a one-sided relationship but a reciprocal one. The more you respect the relationship, the more you’re likely to get out of it.