Become a Mentor
Mentoring is an easy way for small business owners to give something back without costing a fortune.
Running a small business is far from easy, so oftentimes small business owners look to fellow business owners for advice.
Becoming a mentor to another small business owner can help to create a one-of-a-kind development opportunity for them. In particular, entrepreneurs that are just starting out can benefit from the advice of someone who’s been in business for a while and can share some of the lessons that they’ve learned.
While the term has long been associated with the business world, it gets its origins from Homer’s epic poem, the Odyssey. Mentor was the son of Alcumus, and a trusted friend of Odysseus. When Odysseus left to fight in the Trojan War, he left Mentor in charge of his palace and his son, Telemachus. Athena later disguises herself as Mentor to encourage Telemachus to go and search for his father.
Today we use the word to describe a trusted counselor or teacher. Mentoring is an easy way for small business owners to give something back without costing a fortune.
Smallbusiness.com has come up with the following tips to follow in order to succeed at mentoring.
Tips for becoming a mentor
* Find a good match. Create a strong relationship with your mentee. If your relationship is all “shop talk,” planning mentor meetings will feel more like a dreaded obligation than a fun time to help a new business owner get his or her feet on the ground.
* Have confidence. No matter how large your company is or how much revenue you generate each year, you have one thing your mentee lacks: experience. In order for your relationship to work, you must have enough confidence to share your past experiences and offer sage advice.
* Get committed. A strong mentoring connection requires ample communication and flexible availability. You can plan times to meet, but small business owners inevitably find themselves faced with unexpected crises that could require emergency meetings or phone sessions – even late at night or in the wee hours of morning.
* Make meetings frequent. Schedule 15-minute meetings or conference calls once a week, and prepare for longer planning and Q&A sessions once a month. By making yourself available, your mentee will feel more comfortable asking you for advice or sharing their ideas.
Finding a business owner to mentor
* Check out professional trade organizations to find a new business owner who needs your experience to stay afloat, or think of people in your community who could use some business advice.
* Consider getting involved with the NFIB Young Entrepreneur Foundation’s Entrepreneur-in-the-Classroom program. Designed to bring entrepreneurial experience into high school classrooms, the program gives students a peek at the risks and rewards of entrepreneurship.
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