Starting your own company can often feel like the best decision you’ve ever made. But, there may be times when working on your own can feel lonely or isolating. One often-overlooked resource for entrepreneurs is a business mentor.
Colleges often set up mentor programs for their students. They’ll pair a student with an alumnus who is working in the field of study and the student has an opportunity to learn what it’s like in the real world. They can shadow their mentor to see “a day in the life,” or ask questions about the work, the field, or what they should be doing now to prepare themselves for a career in that field. A mom entrepreneur can benefit in much the same way from a mentorship relationship with a business mentor.
A mentor is a trusted advisor that you can turn to for guidance and advice. Whether you are just starting out or have been running your business for years, a mentor can make a big difference in the success of your business. There are so many aspects of running a small business and you can’t be an expert in everything. Instead, work with a mentor who can offer you insight into your field and help give you ideas for running or growing your business.
HOW TO FIND A MENTOR
The good news is you don’t have to reinvent the wheel here. There are national and regional programs that exist to serve you. These programs have structure and the mentors already in place and are ready for you to apply. Do you want to participate in a program that matches you up with someone local that you can meet with face to face or is email or Skype your preferred method of communication?
A little research and you will find there are a number of great organizations providing free mentor opportunities. In addition to the national mentor resources, check in with your alma matter’s alumni association, a local women’s business association, or your industry’s networking group.
Some examples include:
- SCORE and Micromentor both are national programs that match people with mentors in their areas.
- The National Association of Women Business Owners‘ chapter in Orange County has a mentor program.
- Mentoring Women’s Network has active chapters in Indiana.
- Women Entrepreneurs of Minnesota has a mentor program available to its members.
Depending on your needs, all you might need to do is fill out an online form to get started. Spend a little time really thinking about what kind of help you need. Are you looking for a an advisor, a sounding board or a confidante? Do you want to only work with another mom entrepreneur or are you also open to other successful men and women in business? Keep in mind our strategies for selecting a good match for you and you are well on your way to securing another great resource for your business needs.
Where did you find your business mentor? Share your experience or resource for finding a mentor in the comment section below.