How (and why) to find the perfect mentor (infographic)

By Meredith Wood

Most entrepreneurs do what they do because they want to be their own boss. After all, nothing is quite as satisfying as launching your own venture and watching it grow into a profitable business. Maybe one day, your idea will evolve into a more robust operation. You could have a company with 500 employees. Maybe you’ll become the star CEO of your own enterprise. These are the dreams and ideals that fill the heads of aspiring business owners. What many fail to consider are all the complications and hurdles that litter the path to success.

For example, if it’s your first business, how do you assemble an all-star team? What qualities do you look for when screening applicants, and how do you identify red flags in your shortlisted candidates that could cause problems down the road? How will you secure funding for your business, or how do you create a workplace that draws talent? These are all questions many business owners don’t think about, but they are crucial factors that can determine the success or failure of your startup. This is exactly why you should consider finding a mentor.

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At some point, no matter how novel your idea, no matter how sound your business plan, you will encounter problems. But you don’t have to handle them alone. The most successful CEOs and business owners alike often have a mentor they consult in times of crises. Steve Jobs dubbed his senior partner, Mike Markkula, as Apple’s “adult supervisor,” claiming that Markkula’s cool head and vision for the company kept the brand on track.

Having a mentor also has other advantages: A recent study found that businesses with a mentor were able to increase profits by 83%. Another study by the SBA found that businesses led by an owner with a mentor were twice as likely to survive past five years. The benefits are evident, but how do you go about finding a mentor?

You definitely need to find someone you trust, and it helps when they understand and work in your industry. So, what steps do you take to find that perfect person? The infographic from below provides the steps you need to follow to successfully establish a mentoring relationship.

This is a general process that will likely look a little different for each situation. It’s also worth noting that this will take some time. For example, step two is something you don’t want to rush. The best way to identify this person is to think of business owners that you want to one day be like. If you could lead like them, you know that your business would run smoothly. Once you’ve taken the time to find the right person, it’s all about cultivating that relationship over time.

Meredith is Editor-in-Chief at Fundera. Specializing in financial advice for small business owners, Meredith is a current and past contributor to Yahoo!, Amex OPEN Forum, Fox Business, SCORE, AllBusiness and more.

How to Find the Perfect Mentor

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