As a young business leader, entering into the field of entrepreneurship can oftentimes be daunting and downright intimidating. Even with a good idea, the practice of navigating through the ins-and outs of the business sector with no prior knowledge of finance and management can make things incredibly difficult, especially for those overarching business decisions. While you may think you are alone, you are not. In fact you are just a simple phone call away from help and assistance. With that being said, I highly advise that you find yourself a mentor.
Like many other successful people in business and in life, I can confidently say that I would not be here if it was not for the guidance and support from my mentors. As an entrepreneur, especially a young entrepreneur, it is incredibly easy to fall into the mentality of believing you are untouchable. While you may have seen some mild success through both your title and your company, I urge you to step off the pedestal and hierarchy of price and fear and ask for advice and help. At many points within the entrepreneurial field, you will find yourself at various roadblocks in both growing and evaluating your business. Because of this, it is always important to have someone to consult your decisions with. For many great mentors, they offer excellent advice in shaping and altering your thinking as a business leader. Their previous experience, especially from their mistakes and failures, provides a hand guide to the dos-and-don’ts when building a business.
So how do you find a world-class mentor? What characteristics should you look for in finding that perfect advisor in guiding you to your success and your future endeavors?
To start off, you want to make sure you are looking for a person you want to learn from. For many young professionals, they try to see the smartest or most well known individual within their field as a guide and mentor for success. While it would be great to have Mark Cuban or Elon Musk as a mentor, the reality of that happening for you is extremely low. Instead, try and find an individual who you would like to learn from, preferably with someone more experience and years under their belt. These types of individuals are the ones who can guide you away from mistakes that can waste both your time and effort.
One you have picked a list of various candidates, try and gauge whether or not they can offer real value. As great as it is landing a strong successful mentor, we also have to be realistic and tangible about their schedule. From things like ‘picking their brain’ to ‘asking advice on a particular situation,’ you want to make sure that your mentor is available at a most convenient time for you. Remember, time is a precious thing. Making sure they are willing to dedicate time for you will play a large role in the success you can see from this partnership.
Outside of time, the one thing you want to ask from your mentor is their complete and utter honesty. If you are brave enough to ask your mentor for advice, you should expect that he or she is confident enough in giving you a straight answer. At times, this answer may not be the thing you want to hear. But having that type of disagreement is something you should expect from a person who is looking out for your best interest. For me, personally, the best advisor is someone who looks at the situation than the person. You ultimately want to have someone who willing to challenge you so that you can reach your best potential for your business.
Last but not least, you want to make sure your mentor is well spirited. Now, I’m not looking for you to find a cheerleader. Instead, You want to make sure they are willing to actively support you on your journey to success. A great mentor should never be envious or threatened by your own personal and professional growth. Instead, they should feel ecstatic when you are able to connect the dots and benefit from their advice. This type of support is something that pushes people each and every day. In fact, it is that relationship that will help you reach your personal and professional goals each and everyday.