In proper business theory, every CEO should have a CEO coach, advisor, or mentor.
They should meet either once a week, twice a week, or once a month. The coach can help brainstorm strategy, give feedback on various upcoming business decisions, and simply listen if the entrepreneur needs to vent some frustrations.
Experienced entrepreneurs understand the importance of having a mentor or a coach because when they look back at their experience of growing their companies in the past, they see many instances when they made mistakes that could have been prevented by some very simple advice. And business mistakes can be extremely costly. If you choose an incorrect strategy, it can take months of wasted time to execute that strategy, measure the results, realize that this strategy was faulty, brainstorm a new strategy, and start executing that new strategy.
We all hope that this wouldn’t happen to us. But this not only happens to everyone, but to most people, it happens multiple times throughout their careers as entrepreneurs. Experienced entrepreneurs think back to those mistakes and understand that if only they had a mentor who could have advised them, and steered them clear of that mistake, they would have been far better off. And first-time entrepreneurs don’t have the benefit of that experience. Unfortunately, most first-time entrepreneurs don’t ever get a mentor, and hold onto the hope that they won’t make those types of costly and preventable mistakes.
How To Get A Business Mentor
The best mentors are ones who have successfully built a business in your business niche, who want you to succeed, with whom you can develop a good working relationship and a working chemistry, and who has time to devote to meeting with you on a regular basis.
A person who fits all these criteria is extremely difficult to find. Most entrepreneurs never find such a great mentor or coach. If they do find such a person, their services are usually not free, and are quite expensive. So if you can get someone to mentor you for free, who has at least some of those qualities, that person can still help you tremendously throughout the time when you start and grow your business.
To find such a mentor, research some of the successful (or at least operational) companies in your business niche. Then reach out to the CEOs or other senior employees in those companies. Don’t ask to get mentored right away. That will just result in many quick no’s. First, just begin business relationships with those people. Try to
show humility, and an interest in learning. Additionally, as simple as it may sound, everyone likes it when you compliment something about them and their business. If you find that some of the people to whom you have reached out are responsive, and you have positive interactions with them, ask them to meet over coffee, or in their office. Remember, when you ask them to meet, offer to meet whenever it is convenient for them, for a short time, and at a location that is convenient for them. That is generally the right practice of asking people to meet from whom you are seeking advice or business help.
There is actually a small trick here. If you ask for five minutes of someone’s time, most people can pencil you into their schedules, almost no matter how busy their schedule may be. But if the two of you hit it off, and have an engaging conversation, that five minutes can naturally grow to ten, twenty, or thirty minutes. And if it turns out that there is really not much to discuss, then five minutes is just right because you can get in and get out without taking up much of that person’s time.
Most people will be simply too busy to help. I can share a personal case study. After having gotten hundreds of thousands of downloads to my Problemio mobile apps for entrepreneurs, and tens of thousands of views on my business YouTube channel, you can imagine how many people email me asking me to become their mentor. I get up to 50 such emails per week. While I would love to help everyone, I can’t possibly help them all in a mentor/student capacity. I am always happy to answer questions because that only takes me about a minute or two, but when someone asks to mentor them, which is something that would require hours, I am forced to charge them a consulting fee to determine how committed and serious they are.
The same situation that I just described may be the case with the people whom you will ask to be your mentors. They might want to help, but simply not have the time to devote to you in order to truly be of help. In fact, most experienced entrepreneurs love to help new entrepreneurs because they realize how difficult it is to be a new entrepreneur since at one point they themselves were new entrepreneurs. And most experienced entrepreneurs do try to help new entrepreneurs when they can. But they just don’t have the time to help everyone who needs help. So they need a filter to figure out whom to help, and whom to turn away.
So you must contact many people, and very importantly, don’t ask for favors right away. Forge business relationship first. Otherwise, you will be one of many people who asks something from them without first offering to help in any way, and they will send you to the back of that long line of people who constantly ask them for things, but themselves bring no value to them.
Let me explain to you some good practice things you can do to increase your chances of getting favorable responses. How I like to be approached, for example, is when someone emails me and tells me about how they were either using my apps, or watched my YouTube channel, and how they liked it, and what may have been missing. I like to hear insight rather than just compliments. Although honest compliments work well too.
That way, I know that the person who is contacting me, at least put some effort into trying to get the information they are seeking on their own. That gets me to respond more readily because it engages me more. In fact, whenever people comment on my YouTube videos, I always respond and offer help before that person even has a chance to ask me for it.
So try to use some of those patterns to stand out, and increase the chances to get people to be willing to mentor and help you.
If You Can’t Get A Mentor, Build A Network Of Peers
Whether you are able to get a mentor, or not, you should always be looking to build a strong network of your peers who are other entrepreneurs, or professionals within your business niche. The relationship you want to forge and maintain with them should be one of mutual help. If you need some advice or a bit of help, you should be able to reach out to your network of peers, and get the help you need. But the only way you can consistently rely on people’s help is if you consistently helping them when they need the help.
Join Our Mentor And Entrepreneur Community Group
Entrepreneurs need to get great advice and support in order to keep their confidence high and stay motivated. If you feel that you can benefit from getting some advice and support, I want to invite you to join our community of entrepreneurs where you will get advice and the support you need to start your own business and see it through to eventual success. Once you join our community, you will be able to get sound business advice from me. I am an experienced entrepreneur, and I have helped over 1,000 people in my business coaching practice as well as on my business apps. You will also get to join a peer network of entrepreneurs just like yourself. Here is a page where you can learn more about how you will get business help in our community. I personally look forward to helping you with your business.
Further Business Resources
For more business-starting resources, please take a look at our business planning mobile apps. Here is the iOS business plan app and here is the Android business plan app. Additionally, here is the iOS marketing app. And here is the Android marketing app. And here are our business apps on the Kindle. And here is an article where I give the argument that our Android apps are the best business apps on Android.
And please check out and subscribe to my YouTube channel where we cover many marketing topics.
Author: Alex Genadinik