How to Find a Business Mentor

BUSINESS icon Giles Cadman July 11, 2018

Did you know there are 28 million small businesses in the U.S alone? These 28 million small businesses (typically defined as having less than 100 people) actually accounted for 54% of all U.S sales in 2017. It’s quite interesting that these businesses can have such an impact on the overall economy and makes this series very relevant!

If you missed the introduction, this series, ‘How To Run A Successful Small Business’, is all about  you guessed it running a small business! In today’s tumultuous political and economic environment, you must make sure your business is headed in the right direction.

We all need a bit of guidance sometimes and I know this better than anyone. I want this series to act like the Google search bar that I never had when I was first starting off. So, let’s jump right in.

How to find the right mentor

While conducting an informal survey around the office, I found the topic of mentors came up quite often. I wrote about the value of mentors a few years back, which perhaps wasn’t so obvious at the time. This blog, however, provides tangible steps to finding the right mentor and what they should be able to offer you. Here’s exactly how to find the right mentor!

1. Be willing to take advice

The number one mistake new business owners make is being too arrogant and mistakenly thinking they already know everything! I’ve been there, so I can say this with authority.

It’s important to be in a place where you are willing to take the time to be receptive (and act on) advice.

2. Seek a specialist

When finding a mentor, it’s important to not just look for someone with more experience than you (although this certainly helps!). Make sure the person has a deep knowledge of your niche industry so they can provide accurate insight when the time comes.

In a way, at your small business, you’re the generalist working up to be the specialist. Only experience and knowledge transfer from your mentor will get you there.

3. Study the person (online unless you work with them directly)

Just to be clear – I don’t mean stalking! You can tell a lot about a person based on their activities online. Taking the time to make sure you can learn from this person will save their time and yours.

Read their blogs and get to know their social media style. See if you can get a sense of what you’d be able to learn from your future mentor.

4. Go ahead and ask!

Many people think a mentor should just come to them but the truth is you’re going to have to be the one to make the ask. The good news is, I truly believe most people are kind and want to help. The person will most likely be flattered by the attention! Don’t be afraid to ask – my advice is to just do it.

But what if they say no?

Then you simply try, try again. There are many business leaders out there you can learn from and it"’s important to not be discouraged. Just refer back to steps 1-4 until you find the right mentor for you. Have questions? Tweet me @gilescadman.

Giles Cadman is Chairman of The Cadman Capital Group, a group of cohesive, complementary companies, operating in the international trade, retail, leisure, and investment markets. Learn more about Giles.