How To Discover The Best Business Mentoring Programs
Mentoring has become very popular for employees as well as small business owners. I highly recommend that all my clients, who are entrepreneurs, work with a mentor because I find mentoring greatly increases the success rate of the business owner. A mentor is someone who has already created the success you desire to create and has learned what you need to know and made the mistakes you want to avoid. A mentor can be a consultant or coach or a strategic advisor and can be paid or can be a free advisor. Their purpose is to guide you and assist you to be successful on your journey in your business. Clients often ask me how to find a business mentor so let me share this information with you.
Free Mentoring Advice
Many mentors are unpaid and give business advice for free as a way of giving back. I had a mentor in my career who I asked advice of and who would give me advice having been-there-done-that in the same industry. I was able to phone her and speak to her and she gave me her expert advice as a trusted friend with no fee. I have also had a few mentors who I have emailed over the course of my career asking some fast advice who have responded by email with some advice or been generous enough to phone me and share some advice. I myself have given email and phone as well as in person advice to others when I have had spare time. Those who mentor others do this to push others who are coming up the ranks and to help them grow personally and to watch them evolve in their businesses. I encourage you to ask those running faster than you in their businesses and those you admire in business if they have moment of time to respond to a question by phone or email or to mentor you. Often you will get at yes and be pleasantly surprised. If you want more mentoring time and to have a deeper mentoring relationship, here are some tips to engage a mentor.
Start following the person you want to mentor you (I recommend you do this with several potential mentors) on Facebook and connect with them on Twitter and LinkedIn. Ask them if you can interview them. Attend any seminars or live events they are offering and meet them in person. Offer them some free service like working for them several hours a week. Maybe you can introduce them to someone that would be of value to them if you don’t have a free service to provide. Once you have built a relationship with them it is time to ask them for mentoring.
Join A Mentoring Program
Another way you can get mentoring is to join a mentoring program. Here are my two favorite mentoring programs that I recommend my entrepreneurial clients look into when they want to find a mentor, in addition to hiring a business coach or business consultant:
- Entrepreneur’s Organization (EO) (https://www.eonetwork.org/why-join/eo-mentorship) has chapters and offers local programs for members and is a paid, application only, organization with financial qualifications.
- SCORE (www.score.org) provides free mentoring to small business owners through a national network of retired business volunteers.
As my clients business mentor I always guide them in our mentoring sessions to get the most of their relationship with me. I also suggest that if they join EO or SCORE, they need to follow my same guidance tips to get the most out of their mentoring. This tips are:
- Always be organized for your mentoring planning in advance for every meeting or session.
- Think about what is working in your business and what makes is work.
- Come prepared with your goals and what your progress is to date on your goals.
- Be ready to discuss what is not quite right yet in your business and what advice you need or resources or tools you need to advance your business and reach your goals.
- Having an agenda for your mentorship will make the sessions most valuable for you.
- Take notes on each session and review your notes prior to the next mentoring session.
Questions about mentoring? Please put your comments below so I can respond to you.