How to find a business mentor / mentor?

    Some time ago I read the phrase “I don't know what I don't know.” I will illustrate it with two examples:

    1. I, as a man in the street, may not know how to make a jet engine of an airplane, but nevertheless I know about its existence and the principle of operation. (“I know what I know.”)

    2. I am an environmentalist, for a long time I have been struggling with the problem of environmental pollution with plastic. But at the same time, I don’t know that at the other end of the world scientists have already found bacteria that process it (“I don’t know what I don’t know”).

    In the head of the business owner there are the same "gaps" outside the field of knowledge. We will talk about them.


    The entrepreneur is a combine

    Take any modern entrepreneur. Who is this person? By and large, this is a combine that needs to know many things: business economics, marketing, communication and negotiation skills, management and team building skills, jurisprudence, accounting, and design. This set is endless.

    This raises a reasonable question: "Is not it easier to delegate?".
    It is possible and necessary to delegate, but before each entrepreneur will have to figure out himself in many ways. Somewhere superficial, but somewhere to dive thoroughly.

    If you don’t know how to develop negotiation skills, you won’t build a business.
    You can entrust the marketing to “young and ambitious guys,” who in six months will say that they did everything they could, but sales practically did not grow. After that, live with a picture of the world that nobody needs your product and marketing does not work.
    Well, if you completely give accounting to the outsourcing and do not delve into the issues, you can one day get the news from the tax with a substantial fine or even see a mask show in your own office.

    In order to close such “gaps” of an entrepreneur and get an outside view of their business in the West, there has long been a model of business mentoring. In Russia, this trend is in its infancy.



    Let's start with the concept of a business mentor, he is a mentor. What kind of man is this?

    A business mentor is an experienced entrepreneur who was able to build his profitable company and is ready to share his experience. A mentor, moreover, is also connections and useful contacts that have been acquired over the years in a business niche.

    From the definition above, it follows that a real business mentor is not an info-businessman or a coach who earns solely on selling his knowledge through counting landings. Here, the emphasis is precisely on the living experience of the business that the mentor has right now.

    Why should an entrepreneur become a mentor?

    I also asked such a question. If the owner has a running business that brings income, why waste time helping someone?

    After talking with them directly I heard such answers:
    - At one time, other people helped me, now I also want to return the “debt”.
    - In the summer (or in the autumn, in the winter, in the spring) I have no season in business, therefore I am ready to be a mentor at this time.
    - Giving - you get. No matter how trite it may sound, some answered with phrases that boiled down to just such a formulation.
    “It’s just interesting to me.”

    But there were those who refused to become a mentor, citing employment.

    Who needs a mentor:

    1) Start-up entrepreneurs in order to quickly enter the market, while making fewer mistakes. And mistakes in business are always a loss of money. I bought the wrong equipment, put the point of catering in the wrong place, ordered marketing from amateurs. There may be a lot of problems.
    2) Existing entrepreneurs. Communicating with different business owners, I see that many over the years have been beating their heads against the same gate. Profit only falls, employees work poorly, there is no marketing strategy. There simply is not enough view from an experienced person.

    Most recently met with the owner of the company, which sells air-conditioning equipment in a major city. Site man has not updated 5 years! It looks like a student's hand-made article: there is no catalog, no forms work, the design is from 2005. He says that due to the emergence of competitors profit fell sharply. Well, really!

    Who does not need a mentor:

    1) If you have a friend, a successful entrepreneur, not one who sells crushed stone through a landing page, but one who earns good money and is ready to dive into your business and give valuable recommendations *. This can only envy.
    2) Your business is flourishing and growing exponentially.

    * It may not work if a friend sells farm cheese in Moscow, and you, for example, make a start-up for the American market.

    How and where to look for a mentor?

    1) Ask around your friends and acquaintances, perhaps among them there is someone who wants to become a mentor to you.
    2) Look on Facebook for people creating similar (but not identical) product or service.
    3) Use the services to search for a mentor. For example, United Mentors

    Get ready that searches can take some time.
    In both cases, do not look for “business superstars”, a mentor is needed 1-2 heads above you, not higher, otherwise he will not be interested in working with you.


    What to offer the mentor?

    So what does a mentor offer in exchange for his time?
    1) Some mentors can be negotiated for free.
    2) Set a fixed payment once a month.
    3) Professional mentors (those who teach in different technological universities) may ask for a share in the company. But this should go only in the case of a person you already know. And conclude with this contract.

    How to work with a mentor?

    I can tell you on my own experience. With my mentor, I called each Friday at the same time. He asked what I did in a week, expressed my opinion, offered to refine some points, asked very necessary questions that allowed me to look at the problems and new facets in my project. And so on until next Friday.
    In addition, during the week I asked urgent questions in the messenger.

    If you are also interested in the topic of mentoring, write questions in the comments or drugs.

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