As the founder of PRIMUS Business Management, I have provided support to countless small businesses over the years. In all of my work, my goal has always been to empower entrepreneurs to see their businesses as the centers for economic growth in their communities. A successful local business can reduce poverty, change a neighborhood, and improve safety. Many entrepreneurs want to take the important steps necessary to change their communities, unfortunately, they’re not sure where to start. Developing a strong mentorship relationship like those I have with my clients can take your business from an idea to a thriving local establishment.
Creating a village of people around you that support your goals and dreams can be a game-changer. The sad fact is that your best friend might not be the person that can help elevate you to the next level. That’s fine, not everyone is cut from the same cloth. That said, if you want your dreams to come true you have to start creating a circle of people that want the same things as you. You can begin doing that by creating a strong relationship with a mentor that has already accomplished the goals you’re striving towards. The key to getting the most out of your relationship with a mentor is to be intentional with how you interact with your mentor. Being clear on what you want and need from your mentor will help you create a relationship that will take you beyond your greatest expectations.
Here are Four Ways to Find A Mentor and Grow Your Business
Reach Out to Your Community
It’s easy to think that you have to reach up to find a mentor. You might think that you have to find someone who is famous or wealthy, someone who has reached the top of the ladder. Truth is, you’d be surprised what you’d find if you reached across. There are people standing right next to you with the same goals and aspirations as you. Reach out to business owners in your community. Find out who the leading nonprofits are in your area and set up a meeting with the people who have founded them. Is there a local restaurant you’ve been patronizing for a while, ask to talk to the owner. Head to the social media world and ask if any of you followers are entrepreneurs. You might find out the people you’ve known forever have a great deal of insight to offer. Finding a mentor in or close to the circles you already frequent will help you build the community together and allows for a level of familiarity you won’t find anywhere else.
Set a Date
Once you’ve found your mentor set a time to meet. Pick a day and time of the week that is normally available to you. This way you have the ability to create a consistent meeting time should things go well. Choose a quiet cafe or library that you can meet at weekly. Creating a routine around mentorship will hold you accountable to your goals and allow you to grow from each meeting. You may choose to meet once a week, once a month or quarterly. Do what works for you and your mentor and stick to it. Having consistent meetings with your mentor will allow you to develop a rapport with each other and hopefully create a mutually beneficial relationship.
Like you, your mentor is busy. Come into each meeting with specific questions. Knowing what you want from the meeting will help you get the most out of your time together. Take a look at your work and see what areas you need guidance in. Where are you lost? Maybe you need help finalizing your mission statement or business plan. Take an hour to research the area you need help in and then write down the questions that you still have after doing your research. Don’t come into your meetings with questions you can find the answers to on google: it’s a disservice to you, your mentor, and it’s a waste of time. Instead of asking how to write a business plan maybe you craft your question around developing a plan that serves the community that you both are from. Think long and hard about what it is you want that you can only get from your mentor.
Now that you’ve created a routine and have strong, intentional questions; now it’s time to set actionable goals. You may come up with your goals before the meeting and work to achieve them while working with your mentor or you can come up with them together. Do what works best for you. Picking a goal for every meeting will allow you to chart your progress and tailor each meeting towards the areas where you still need improvement. Having a list of goals will also help you remain accountable for your own growth in between meetings with your mentor.
Being an entrepreneur may feel like a lonely journey but, there are people out there who want to support you. Learn how to find them and lean on them. You never know who might help you find your true potential. It only takes one incredible relationship to catapult you into the life you never knew you deserved.
If you’re looking for a place to start, connect with us at BCDAlliance. Our goal is to build a black economy that connects business owners with like minded people that want to learn and grow.
Janneh K. Wright