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Find a Mentor

Posted on: 27/10/2011

Mentors are a species difficult to find. And once you have found one, it is more difficult to understand him. But they are very important in the case of a start-ups and growing businesses until the time comes when the entrepreneur himself is ready to become a mentor.A mentor is neither a consultant or a coach. He is normally an experienced entrepreneur, who helps and guides another entrepreneur, without any personal gain in mind. Mentors bridge the gap of inexperience. A consultant would recommend for a fee, a coach would normally guide further specific steps. But a mentor is like a father-figure, holding hands, giving advice and getting the entrepreneur to grow in his own natural style. A mentor is important in the career of any person, be it a professional, an employee or an artist. But a mentor is most important to an entrepreneur.

Why is a mentor important? A Mentor can give you access to a wide range of resources accessible to him – technical, commercial, financial, marketing. Besides, he has been there, done that. So you get a jump-start your venture and not make the same mistakes, that he made, in the early stages of your career. Also, as mentioned earlier, a mentor is a father figure, with no personal axe to grind. So you benefit from pure unadulterated wisdom to further your own career path.

Finding a mentor
A mentor may be your next door neighbour or a faraway expert. How do  you go about finding such a person ? The best way is to connect to Online Groups which have interests which are common to the ones you have. You can find such Groups on LinkedIn or Facebook. Besides, there are a host of specialized Groups online – just do a Google Search. Once you have joined the Group, try and interact online and identify the seniors and the “wise” men in the Group. Correspond with them and if your interests and mindsets gel, you have found one !  It may also help to join organizations like WZCC, NEN and TiE who have a panel of mentors readily available for the area of your choice. The Center for Innovation Incubation and Entrepreneurship (http://www.ciieindia.org/) – promoted by IIM Ahmedabad – has a Nationwide Mentoring Program called Mentor Edge, which is extremely useful. www.msmementor.in (promoted by SIDBI and NSE)  is another meeting place for mentors and mentees. The general rule being – seek and you shall find !

Working With a Mentor

  • Choose a mentor whose area of activity is similar to your own.

  • Find a  mentor who has time to give to your relationship.

  • Take the initial step in establishing contact with a potential mentor since you are the one who will benefit the most from the relationship.

  • And, of course, be after him and find time to participate in the relationship with your mentor. The more you interact, the more you will gain.

  • Don’t bother him with day to day petty issues. Use a mentor’s vision to build your own grand dream and make it work.

Good and able mentors have changed the career paths of many an entrepreneur. Their astute knowledge and their widespread contacts could make a phenomenal difference in your career as an entrepreneur. So, go find one, and use his resources to your utmost benefit !

E-Series – Yazdi Tantra

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