In school, I took a class called ‘Creating a Company’. We were responsible for starting, funding, and running a profitable business in less than six months. We were free to try almost anything, make mistakes, just as long as we were constantly looking for answers as to why certain things happened the way they did.
When it came time to present to a panel of judges for our funding, we were ready with our pitch and we got our money. However, the best thing we got out of that day wasn’t the monetary capital, it was a mentor.
One of the judges that really liked our pitch, sat down with us afterwards and talked with us about some things we could do and try to make our business more attractive and successful. She is an experienced entrepreneur and executive coach so her knowledge was exactly what we needed. When times got tough later on, we went to her to see if she had any insight and sure enough she was able to examine our business and give us some great ideas we weren’t even seeing.
Statisically, businesses with good mentors do better. Here are some things to keep in mind when seeking out a mentor.
1. Pick your favorite industry expert and ask them, these people can be powerful allies and counsel
2. Ask people you admire for referrals to mentors who have helped them
3. Google a potential mentor before introducing yourself, learn all you can
4. Make sure the potential mentor is in line with your values and mission
5. See how open a mentor is willing to be by asking one burning question and looking at their response
People want to pass on their knowledge, are generally willing to be kind and helpful, and to leave a legacy so don’t be afraid to ask! Find the Yoda to your Luke and may the force be with you.