A business mentor is someone with experience in running a successful business who acts as a guide to an aspiring or new business owner. Their role is to offer advice, support and guidance to help their mentee succeed. This can be in the form of face-to-face meetings or online interaction, or a combination of both. Meetings can be as casual or as formal as you like, and they may include discussions about general business topics or specific strategies, tactics and goals for the mentee’s business.
A mentor can also give an extra set of eyes to a business plan, and they may be able to point out areas for improvement or suggest solutions that the mentee had not considered. They can also give valuable tips on how to deal with challenging situations and provide a sense of emotional support, which is often needed by new entrepreneurs.
They can answer your questions about starting or managing a business, and they can recommend local or national resources for further training. They can even provide referrals to workshop or event attendees to fill in the knowledge gaps that your business might have.
It is possible to find a business mentor by attending networking events or joining a professional association for your industry, such as EO (Entrepreneurs’ Organisation) or NAWBO (National Association of Women Business Owners). Some departments of the federal government, such as the Small Business Administration and the Commerce Department’s Minority Business Development Agency, also offer mentoring programs at their offices nationwide. You can also use online resources, such as LinkedIn or CareerOneStop, to connect with potential mentors in your area.