For small business owners, good advice often comes at a cost. Sure you’ll get guidance from your accountant or attorney, but that’s often limited. Let’s say you’re trying to expand your small business; who can you turn to for help? Friends and family can be hard to rely on long term. Business consultants can be expensive and not always a good option for small businesses. A business mentor is someone who knows your business and understands what it takes to grow. These mentors can be found in every business community, the key is finding the right one.
Start out by finding a mentor that’s an expert in your business. It sounds like a simple thing, but having an expert in your product or service will ensure that you’re getting a clear picture of the business landscape from the perspective of someone who’s been there before.
Once you have a mentor, commit some time each month to talk with your mentor with by phone or in person. Small business owners are seemingly always busy, with little time to have meetings. A good way to stay connected with your mentor is having a central place to share ideas and updates on projects. You can create a shared Google Doc and get feedback on a regular basis. Create project plans and share them with your mentor so you can discuss them monthly.
At some point you’re going to try and grow your business. You need a mentor who can provide guidance on the nitty-gritty things that aren’t always easy to deal with like finding access to capital when it’s time to grow your business. Finding the right mentor can often be the difference maker when you’re trying to take your business to the next level.