How to find a mentor
Behind every great entrepreneur is an even greater mentor who was on hand to show him the ropes. Even the mighty Richard Branson couldn’t get where he got without some outside help from Sir Freddie Laker, the man who pioneered the no-frills airline business. While his own endeavors didn’t last, the lessons he taught Branson saw the business behemoth soar to unforeseen heights and we aren’t just talking planes here. Nowadays, Branson is the one dishing out the business advice but if you can’t grab an elusive appointment with the man himself – and let’s be honest, who can? – try out our tips for finding a business mentor in the meantime.
TALK TO SOMEBODY IN YOUR TARGET INDUSTRY
We know what you’re thinking; why would I talk to someone in the industry I’m trying to break into? Isn’t that fraternising with the competition?
The key is to approach someone who runs a business in the industry but in a different area or at a level that means they aren’t going to be your direct competition. Or not in the near future at least, after all, who knows when you’re set for world domination?
Approaching mentors in the same industry as you sounds daunting but just remember that they were once where you are now. Be polite, tell them you love the way they do things and ask if they’ve any advice on breaking into the business. They’ll almost always find the time to chat.
FIND YOUR PEOPLE
Sometimes the best mentors happen by accident. Find your community, the like-minded crowd that shares your creativity and you’ll probably stumble across a mentor or two in the process.
You could start your search at Helm. We don’t just make a cracking brew, we also offer help to those looking to start or grow a business. From a one-off chat to a full mentor programme with the professionals to give you an extra push. Our free monthly Creative and Entrepreneur Meetups are the perfect place to start if you’re after a taster.
The age of the internet means you can find your tribe online too. From TED Talks to entrepreneurial forums and the endless YouTube content available, the old World Wide Web is a hive of business inspiration and it’s invaluable if you’re a bit shy about asking for advice. And if all else fails, it’s time to throw it back to the good old days and get an Amazon order in for books by the world’s greatest business brains.
GIVE NETWORKING EVENTS A GO
If you’re something of an introvert, advice to give networking a go might just make you recoil. But hear us out, because networking events in your industry area deliver endless inspiration and mentorship crammed into a short space of time.
When you’re starting out, contacts are everything and you never know who you might meet at that networking event you force yourself to step out of your comfort zone to attend. Make sure you have a mini pitch prepped in advance too, just in case the industry bigwigs happen to cross your path and you’ve got but seconds to impress!