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What Women Entrepreneurs Should Know About Finding A Mentor

One of the biggest needs in the world of entrepreneurship is the need for a successful mentoring relationship. I constantly hear of startups and entrepreneurs searching for mentors and a relationship with people who are experts in their respective fields!

 

You do not have, because you do not ask. First identify the type of person you would like to mentor you – this should be either an expert in your field or someone who would be a good personal fit for you. Then ask!

 

Come with a plan. Sounds simple enough, but you have no idea how often this is ignored by entrepreneurs who just walk into the room with little or no preparation.

 

When you approach a prospective mentor, present them a short one-page bullet point proposal on what you are asking of them and what you are committing to do from your side.

 

There is a website about mentoring women in business programme where you can apply as a mentor or apply as a mentee. Whatever works for you, the mentoring is free across the world. You can try looking for a mentor at the http://www.cherieblairfoundation.org

 

The Cherie Blair Foundation mentors women to give them the chance to become financially independent and make the most of their talents, which is the key to achieving higher living standards and having a stronger economy.

 

Working in partnership with non-profit, private and public sector organizations, the Foundation develops programmes that build confidence, capability and capital in women. Empowering women to gain financial independence generates lasting impacts, since research shows that women tend to invest 90% of their income back into their families.

 

All women small business owners can benefit from having a business mentor. There are many women-helping-women organizations that have mentor programs but if you already know a professional who might serve as a good mentor approach the subject casually at first. Being a mentor can be time consuming and is something that must work for both mentor and protégé (you).

 

Before you ask someone to become your mentor make sure you are willing to take direction from them otherwise you will just be wasting everyone’s time.

 

Remember, you are looking for solutions, guidance, and concrete advice – not an executive to “wow” with how great your ideas are. If all your ideas are truly that great you do not need a mentor – you should consider becoming one!

 

To find a mentor in your industry contact a professional association or call your local social or human services department to see if free mentor programs are available in your area.

 

You can also register with Micromentor and see if they can match you with a volunteer mentor. The service is free but the application takes about 30 minutes to complete online. Try looking for a free mentor here https://www.micromentor.org/

 

If you are a startup, you really need to find a mentor to guide you. MicroMentor is a free, easy-to-use social network that allows entrepreneurs and volunteer business mentors to connect so they can solve problems and build businesses together.

 

Join a growing community that has already created thousands of mentor-mentee matches and continues to make an impact through the power of mentoring to help small businesses thrive.

 

Why Choosing a Friend to Be Your Mentor is Not a Good Idea?

While it is helpful if you and your mentor get along on a personal level a mentor’s role is to serve as your professional guide not as a personal friend.

 

It is critical that you be able to accept advice from a mentor and stay focused on the business aspect of the relationship and not the friendship aspect.

 

This is much harder to do if you choose someone already close to you to be a mentor especially if you see your mentor friend as a peer instead of as a professional resource to help you further your own business interests.

 

If you want to avoid conflict with your mentor, it is better to save friend and family resources for networking!  That way, if the mentor relationship does not work out you won’t have to “fire” your friends.

 

Here is a short list of the mentor programs you may want to examine if they are a great fit for you

  1. http://www.fwe.ca/programs/mentor-program/
  2. http://www.swc-cfc.gc.ca/initiatives/swo-mesr/ementor-en.html
  3. http://spice-network.eu/spice-womens-entrepreneurship/

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