Are you looking for a boost in your small business? Find yourself a mentor – or let one find you. A mentor is that one person who can guide you, help you, take you under his or her wings and nurture your business quest. A good mentor not only shows you how to apply the skills but also guides you and keeps you from making costly business mistakes.
What separate a mentor from the average network are long-term commitment and a deep-seated investment in your future.
In average networking contacts you are associated with quick introductions, exchange of business cards and phone calls, your relationship with mentor likely involves long lunches and time spent in mentor’s office. A mentor is often in a position you’d like to be in and has the power and connections to guide you to a similar position. He or she is someone you probably have unusually good chemistry with who will share stories with you of his or her own climb to success. An effective mentor isn’t afraid to criticize constructively.
Your mentor can help you assess your strength and weaknesses as well as help you develop skills for a successful and long range of small business’s success plan.
A mentor can provide you a fresh perspective- a new way of looking at a problem or issue. You can bounce ideas off your mentor. Look for relationships in which the mentor is more of a coach than an advisor.- one in which mentor facilitates your decision- making process by suggesting alternatives rather than telling you what to do ideally, your mentor will motivate you to do your best work.
The Search For A Mentor
Check first to see whether your small business that you’re associated with already has a formal mentoring program in place. In these structured arrangements participants are sometimes given personality assessments so that you can find compatible mentors.
To search for a mentor on your own, identify someone you admire and respect. You can choose someone from your known and trusted people or outside-or both, as some people have more than one mentors.
A process combining mentoring and networking and enabling participants to give and receive in relationships in which everyone is both learner and teacher. Share your knowledge with others. Each mentor worker receives and gives brain power to small businesses, creating multiple short-term learning teams.
Time To Decide
Decide what you need in a mentor- what skills you’d like to develop with your mentor’s assistance. Consider your goals in choosing a mentor .Find out what the prospective mentor is like, what’s his or her communication style? Ask the would-be mentor’s co-workers and subordinates for their insight. It’s wise to choose someone working in the same functional area as you are, as well as someone who shares your values.
Test The Water Before Jumping In It.
Be sure to reveal as much as yourself as possible. Mentors are most likely to invest themselves, they see a little of themselves, which is why you should never approach a prospective mentor in state of desperation or helplessness.
Qualities That A Mentor Should Posses.
A mentor should be someone who wishes to be with someone who he or she can respect. He or she may even desire to mold the responsibility in his or her own image, which is fine as long as the mentor is not obsessive about it or you are comfortable with the image into which you’re being molded.
You should have a good feeling after a few meetings as whether the bond is right for mentoring relationship. At that point, decide whether you’ve benefited from wisdom imparted so far and hope to continue to share.
Mentor relationships benefit when the small business owner approaches the mentoring with openness, honesty, introspection, realistic expectations, accountability and ability to admit mistakes and share failures.
Avoid a mentor who is too controlling, judgmental or know it all type. Look for a positive, upbeat attitude- someone who will become invested in and celebrate success. The mentorship is especially productive when the mentor believes he or she can learn from you and the relationship is two way street.
Talk with your mentor about mutual expectations for the mentoring relation. How it will work, what it will look like, how often you’ll communicate. You and your mentor may want to agree at the outset that either of you can end the relationship at any time with no hard feelings. Also be sure not to over burden your mentor by demanding too much time and attention or becoming overly dependent on your mentor. Experts suggest a monthly meeting at work place or over a meal or any place that’s conducive to a productive exchange of idea. Set boundaries relating to confidentiality, time commitment and the areas you mutually feel the mentor can most help you with.
You’ll know if the mentoring relationship is working if your mentor encourages your business goals, provides honest and constructive feedback, helps you develop self-awareness challenges you grow beyond your perceived limitations, introduces you to the movers and shakers, motivates you to do joint venture with other small businesses that can help you advance and excel. Most importantly, listens to you and is easy to communicate with.