Small Business Tips and Tools

5 Ways to Find and Strengthen Business Mentorships

September 8, 2020
2 min read

The journey of an entrepreneur can be full of stressful challenges, and it can be difficult going it alone. That’s why mentors are there to offer support, guidance, and wisdom during the highs and lows.

But how do you find your mentor? In last week’s newsletter, we asked owners from the Hello Alice community to share their tips on seeking out and working with a business mentor. 

1. Look for Business Mentoring Programs

This founder says that connecting with mentorship organizations allowed her to find the right person to help her out:

“I found a business mentor through SCORE and marketing and financial assistant at SBDC. I so wish I would have found them years ago — they have been a lifeline we have needed.  I plan on volunteering with one of the organizations as soon as we are back on our feet.”

— Elizabeth Welborn, Stick & Ball

2. Mentors Are There for Knowledge — But Also Emotional Support

One owner shares how her mentor helped her during a time of need:

“I think the best advice recently had to do a lot with resilience. There was a moment where I was tired of fundraising, and I asked a mentor about it, and she told me to do your steps. She has a friend that tells her ‘Are you out of options? Whenever you have a bad day, it will be a bad day. But if you have more options, then do the next steps. Keep on going.'”

— Vi Nguyen, Homads

3. Lean on Mentors for Feedback and Support

Another founder told us that mentors are crucial in the early days of starting your business:

“There was a one year process where I was trying to figure out if I was going to do this, how am I actually going to do this. It took a lot of mentors, friends, and family members giving me their feedback, trying to work with me, trying to help me build my branding, my website – all the minute details needed to launch a business. Reaching out to co-working spaces, other entrepreneurs in the area was really [helpful] for me because it led me to people who had gone the same feelings that I was feeling at that time.”

— Eliana Cardeno, Kiyomi Beauty

4. Build Your Network

Networking can be intimidating. But one owner notes that building a strong network can help you and your business grow:

“If I could, I’d go back to my 20-year-old self and coach her on the power of networks and how to nurture them. Networking is so much more than just showing up and exchanging contact information — a good network can accelerate your success and personal development as well as give you valuable opportunities to mentor and be mentored.”

— Jen Keefe, Happy Healing Arts

5. Always Enter a Mentor Relationship with a Clear Goal

This founder notes the importance of establishing your “whys” when it comes to mentorships:

“For me, the best time [to seek out a mentor] is after you figure out how to make your product. Not 10 units at a time but hundreds so that you can ask your mentor about strategy and options for a path forward. Saying ‘I don’t know how to make my product’ is not a good use of their expertise.”

— Hannah Hong, Hakuna Brands

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