Finding a Small Business Mentor
by Dustin Gresen
Your life-long dream is about to become a reality. You’ve decided it’s time to actualize your small business idea and become an entrepreneur. Before you put pen to paper and make any big decisions, consider looking for a business mentor or two.
A multitude of questions will come up as you pursue your small business plans and it’s priceless to have someone in your corner who has been there and who can advise you along the way.
But, where to start looking for a mentor?
Close to Home
One easy-to-overlook group is your family and friends. Who do you know who has owned a business or had success in leadership? They can be a great resource to bounce ideas off of and can provide a uniquely personal perspective because they know you and your life circumstances.
Perhaps you are a newlywed or a new parent. Your family and friends with prior business experience will be able to ask the right questions to help you envision how your new business will fit with your personal life – and even your personality.
Local Business Owners
Looking to open up nearby? Take a look at neighboring shops, restaurants, and other organizations and ask the owners about their experience. Not only will they have information on the area’s high and low seasons, but they can share their successes and failures marketing locally and how the local economy is faring.
You might also consider building a partnership with another local business to not only share ideas, but also share leads and promotions.
Another essential relationship to pursue is with a lawyer who specializes in small businesses. These professionals can advise you as you establish a business plan, can help with startup financing, and will ensure you have the proper licensing right from the start.
There’s nothing more comforting than knowing you’ve handled all the proper paperwork before moving forward confidently with your new business.
Perhaps the most important mentoring relationship to focus on is with your financing partners. They can really get your business off the ground by helping you create a budget and suggest ways to fund your new venture.
Once you’re up and running, a financial partner can also keep tabs on the health of your business and suggest ways to increase performance if you face any struggles. A small-business-minded banker on your side can be one of your best assets.
The best part about working with a mentor? It’s entirely free. So, what mentoring relationships can you establish before you get your business idea up and running?