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How Can You Find Your Dream Mentor?

Starting or growing a business is a long and lonely road with plenty of ditches you can fall into. Wouldn’t it be great to have someone who has already gone down that path to guide you?

You need a mentor!

A mentor is often an experienced entrepreneur who can give you pointers on your strategy, connect you to the right people or just be a sounding board for your ideas. Many successful entrepreneurs like Bill Gates, Richard Branson or Sunil Mittal have benefitted from the support of mentors in the early days of their business.

But how do you find the right mentor?

  • Start with family and friends – You may be able to find successful entrepreneurs you can trust from among your own relatives or even the parents of your friends. The key here is that they already know you and are more likely to help because of your prior relationship.


  • Try your extended network – How about people in your professional network? You’ve probably made contacts over the years through conferences or social events. Now’s a time to check your phone contact list or go through the business cards you’ve collected to find someone appropriate. You can even spread the word among your friends to get recommendations of people you should meet.


  • Consider complete strangers – Research business profiles of people using the internet. LinkedIn is a great resource for this.


  • How about your own industry? - There may be many entrepreneurs who are in related services to yours (e.g. mobile app developer vs enterprise software provider) or in different geographical locations or are in much larger businesses, who will not consider you to be a competitor. You’d be surprised as to how many would be willing to give you useful advice.


  • Look at industry associations – There are many non-profit associations in India that support entrepreneurs like TiE, NEN etc. which could be a rich hunting ground for potential mentors. You can even look at local chambers of commerce or associations that focus on your industry (eg. Internet & Mobile Association of India).


  • Pay for a mentor – There are many senior professionals who run a counseling business and would be happy to charge you for their advice.


  • Once you’ve identified one, how do you approach them?

    The best thing to do is just call or email them and ask for a brief meeting to get their advice. It may surprise you to know that many successful 'mentoring oriented' entrepreneurs are happy to meet younger entrepreneurs who need their advice. Of course, you would need to ensure that you come across as genuine and respectful of their time in your communications.

    At the actual meeting itself, be ready with the details of your business and the questions you want to ask the mentor. If it goes well, you feel you have gained value from the mentor's inputs & you can sense that the mentor has enjoyed the meeting, feel free to ask them for a follow up meeting in the near future. Most likely they will agree to it.

    Voila, you have a mentor!

    If you need additional advice on getting the right mentor for you, feel free to contact us at Thadomal Shahani Centre For Entrepreneurs (http://www.TSCFE.com)

    ABOUT THE AUTHOR

    Akhil shahani.

    Education Entrepreneur, MD - Shahani Group

    Passionate about building careers through education. Here’s how I can help you: 1) Recruiters: Are you looking to hire talented young people who have the right skills and aptitude for your open positions? At the Shahani Group of Institutes, we have closely integrated with recruiter needs and educate our students as per industry standards across our MBA, Executive MBA & Professional Diploma programs in Media, Finance, Real Estate, Digital Marketing, Event Management etc. We use industry type Assessment & Development Centres (AC/DC) to ensure that our students have the skills and domain knowledge that industry needs. 2) Industry Professionals: Would you like to engage with us and teach the next generation of India’s leaders in a visiting or full-time capacity? We are always looking for passionate, experienced people who enjoy sharing their wisdom with enthusiastic and intelligent youngsters. 3) Global Education Providers: India is a huge market for students. We have tied up with some best of breed international universities, colleges and training providers to bring their programs into India. We are always looking for more quality education offerings. 4) Non-Profit Organisations: I’m deeply passionate about the social entrepreneurship space with a range of useful contacts in this area. Am happy to share these contacts with those who need help growing their own NGOs.