As an entrepreneur, you need to grow, and you need to do it fast. Long are the days when you had to wait to get some insider advice from a senior expert. Modern mentors in every industry are now willing to share more than before in a mentorship relationship.
This article talks about why mentorship is beneficial for you as an entrepreneur and how to find a mentor that fits your needs. We will also dig deeper to see what makes an excellent mentor and how to drive a healthy, productive relationship with them.
What Does Mentorship Means?
Mentorship is a way of transmitting knowledge, experience, and a circle of connections. Consider it a guide for professional endeavours and growth. You might have studied hard and even graduated from a top university, but is that enough to get you going as an entrepreneur?
Mentorship offers you an opportunity to boost your business growth. One side of the relationship is a fresh entrepreneur at the beginning of the career journey. The other side is a senior who knows the trials of the industry, willing to help and support the younger generation.
The gripping point in this equation is that both sides benefit. The mentee, ready for advancement, gets inspiration, easing their path to success. Mentors also sharpen their leadership skills by teaching others tips and tricks.
Why Is Mentorship Essential for Entrepreneurs?
In a survey done on 3000 people to get the scoop on professional mentor-mentee relationships, 76% of working professionals believe a mentor is vital to growth.
Sometimes, as an entrepreneur, you get so caught up in the daily routine that plans fade away. Mentors can be significant assets in reminding you of the bigger picture and finding and redefining career priorities.
Constructive criticism, blended with inspiration and encouragement, is the second factor that makes this relationship worthwhile. Mentorship matters, while feedback works as the little sparkle that gets the fuel of your energy burning in every step of your career.
Another reason to seek mentorship is that you can benefit from your mentor’s network of connections, besides receiving guidance. Mentors have established a vast circle of contact over the years and can introduce you to new people inside the industry.
Is Mentoring Different from Coaching?
Yes, coaching is a unique process in two ways. Coaches help clients to excel on a personal or professional level in the short term, while mentorship happens over an extensive amount of time.
A survey reveals that the average length of each mentorship relationship is 3.3 years. The average time spent talking per month is also 4 hours.
The second difference lies in the beneficial nature of mentoring for both parties. Mentees are not the only ones to find value. There is a satisfactory feeling for the mentor in passing the knowledge to people who have a thirst for it.
What Are The Characteristics of a Good Mentor?
Excellent mentors are the individuals who have gone the same road as you. The gained knowledge and experience give them an energy resource that can work like a battery to cast light on the surroundings. Besides being experienced, successful, and willing to share, excellent mentors:
- will tell you the truth
- feel invested in your success
- share similar sets of values with you
- provide constructive feedback and also positive reinforcement
- value mutual learning and the two-way nature of mentorship
- have excellent communication skills and can adjust their style according to each individual
How to Find a Mentor?
Finding the right match is probably the most important thing to look out for. As an entrepreneur, you have defined your career goals and made sure that they are SMART. You might also already have a couple of role models. That’s a great start. Write a list of who you know in your professional circle: former professors or employers, colleagues, or family friends.
As the next step, ask yourself some questions. With whom do you feel more comfortable? Which person will have a mentoring relationship over a sustained amount of time? Who is more familiar with doing business in your geographical location?
As Harvard Business Review reports, chemistry is another critical and almost neglected point. Ask yourself if your mentor believes in you, if you feel comfortable discussing matters about yourself, and if you feel energised after the meeting.
What Are Mentorship Platforms?
While mentoring is as old as history itself, the systematic implementation in work culture, especially in the second half of the 20th century, made practical solutions to remove the glass ceiling.
Finding a mentor has never been so easy. The reason is that many online platforms connect entrepreneurs with experts. Here are our top picks.
The strong point of this platform is that they carefully assess mentors’ applications, so mentors are hand-picked and qualified. Most mentors offer their help for free and are encouraged to keep the prices low. Experts are segmented by skill, software expertise, industry, cost, time, language, and company. You can also post the challenges you face for the mentors to apply.
Unlike the previous app, this model lets everyone become a mentor. That is why MicroMentor is the world’s largest community of entrepreneurs and volunteer business mentors. The open community makes this platform accessible for small and growing businesses, making it a great starting point.
It is a conference-call-based platform. Mentees book calls with their mentor and pay for sessions per minute. Mentors can assign desirable charges for their service. The minimum rate per minute starts at $1, and the average rate is between $6 and $8. This makes it a pricey platform, but the many mentors make it a valuable source if your budget allows it.
How to Get Things Rolling?
Once you have found your mentor, it is time to get things rolling. You can think about these tips to get the best out of your mentorship relationship.
- Stay casual
- Remember that getting valuable insight needs time. Consider it an ongoing conversation with a natural flow.
- Follow up
- Show them what their presence means to you
- Ask questions
- Get the conversation going
- Be on time and prepared
- Listen to the feedback with an open mind
- Give your mentor feedback