A mentor is a trusted advisor that can you can talk to about your business, offer a different perspective, or help you work through a challenging situation. Consider it another resource in your toolbox. As moms you are already juggling so many things that you often have to call in the reinforcements for help: from babysitters and housecleaners to accountants and lawyers. A mentor is another resource that can help you take your business to the next level by supporting you in the areas where you may not be as strong.
In the first part of our series on mentors, we talked about why you should get a mentor (you can’t be an expert in everything) and offer suggestions on where to look to find a mentor. Here are five strategies on how to choose the right mentor for you.
TIPS FOR CHOOSING A MENTOR
1. Demonstrated success – Choose an experienced entrepreneur or businessperson who has accomplished the goals you would like to accomplish. Has she successfully started her own company and made it profitable? Has he worked with global partners and knows how to manage cross-cultural vendor relations?
2. Complimentary expertise – Look for a mentor that can offer you something you don’t have or compliment an area where you are not as strong. If you are an expert in designing your product, perhaps you could use an expert in business planning or merchandising, for example.
3. Respect – If you respect the individual and the work he or she has done, then you will be more likely to value the advice they give you. If you have some concerns about his business ethics, you won’t be taking advice from them, no matter how successful he has been.
4. Available – It’s less about the name or title of the person and more about what they can give you. No matter how lucky you might be to have the CEO of a major company as your mentor, that label won’t do any good if that person doesn’t have the time to meet with you.
5. Shared connection – Finding a mentor with whom you have a good rapport will make all the difference in the world. Your mentor should want you to succeed, which is why she is helping you for free. Ask yourself if you feel comfortable talking to this person and being honest about where you need help, then be open to hearing the advice your mentor gives you.
Everyone can use a little help. Moms who are also entrepreneurs have a unique set of challenges. Not only are you trying to start up or run a business, you are also taking care of children and raising a family. Tapping into a mentor as one of your resources is not only smart, it can be a good investment of your time and energy in your business.
Stay tuned for our next post with tips on how to make the most out of your mentoring relationship.