A mentor is a person who inspires and encourages you and helps you become your best self, enabling you to take risks and step out of your comfort zone in order to achieve your dreams and life goals.
Mentors are critical to one’s success and many big names such as Oprah Winfrey, Sheryl Sandberg etc. owe their success to the guidance of their mentors. The best mentors are those who are willing to patiently listen to you and who understand all the challenges you face as an individual woman in this society. Mentors help you overcome many obstacles by offering you their sincere, candid advice and different strategies. Mentors see you from a different perspective and for this reason, they might identify a potential in you which you yourself were blind to!
Mentors not only help you sail smoothly in your personal life and job careers, but they are extremely crucial for those women who aspire to be entrepreneurs. Now, the journey to entrepreneurship is undefined and different for everyone and new comers often find themselves stuck, having no clue on how to develop a business and what steps to take. This is where mentors come in. In this particular case mentors are of two types:
- Those who might help you a bit and answer your questions
- Those who are sincerely and genuinely interested in your goals and in helping you achieve them.
The second type of mentor is what you should be interested in getting, because these mentors will provide you with a stepping stone towards your entrepreneurial goals. But, how do you find such mentors? How do you know if the person you are calling your mentor, is even the right person for you?
Well, let us take a look into this matter and see how you should find the mentor who understands you, your goals and your vision and is also truly interested in knowing more about you and your mission and vision for your company/startup.
Where to look for your mentor?
The first and obvious step in finding the right mentor for you is to go to the right place. See what places are a hub of innovation and centers of knowledge. It could be educational institutes, incubators, accelerators, technology parks etc. Try finding the people who work at higher positions in these places and try reaching out to them. The best way to do this is via social media. LinkedIn is primarily for professionals and you can reach out to a lot of entrepreneurs, innovators, investors easily via LinkedIn. Other than that, you just need to look around and see how you can improvise with your resources and opportunities to meet new people around you.
What is the best time to reach out to mentors?
Mentors can be extremely helpful during all the stages of your business. They have a role of end consumer and they can often guide you through the eyes of your end customer, enabling you to test your products without actual surveys and costly testing efforts.
How to network with a mentor?
There is no hard and fast rule to staying in touch with your mentors. You just need to ask them and if they truly care for you and your success, they will take out time for you and will guide you on anything. You need to communicate your needs to them in the best manner and you need to assure them that they have a certain value in your company. Then you just need to jump in and ask away your queries and share your challenges. If they are sincere, they will surely help you and that’s how you know you are slowly developing a relationship with someone as your mentor.
Who should be your mentor?
This is a question with many answers and the answer is different for every individual entrepreneur out there. Who you should have as your mentor depends entirely on your personal preferences along with the kind of help you need. For example, you have just started your venture in fashion industry and the best person who would be able to guide and help you would be someone having experience in the same area, same market and having similar knowledge!
It is prudent, however, to have a network of mentors instead of just one mentor. This will enable you to take help in any expertise, by reaching out to the one who has had the most experience and knowledge on your concerned subject.
Other than that, it is important for you to ask yourself, if the person you are about to make your mentor, will be good enough for you to be able to talk to comfortably. Your mentor must possess the same love and passion for your areas of concern, as much as you do, or even more! Their interest should lie not only in the business but also you so that they are able to help you sincerely.
By following these steps, you will definitely find a good mentor who has your best interests at heart. Research shows that people who have taken mentorship, are more likely to have success in their businesses and even job careers. The mentors help bring out the best in you, enable you to stand firm in the face of your challenges and show you the correct path in dark times.
All in all, it is crucial to for any budding entrepreneur to go to networking events etc. to seek new mentors and follow them later on, via social media etc., to stay in touch with them and keep them reminded of you and your plans for your company. By doing this, you can approach them much quickly and easily when you need them during any crises or challenge etc. It is also suggested to keep notes of whatever advice (might be technical sometimes) your mentor gives to you. It is also suggested to develop an honest and sincere connection with your mentor so that you get the best advice from him!