This is part 2 of the 4 part series for achieving success in your entrepreneurial endeavors. The series was created by a business professional who draws from 40 years of experience working with Fortune 500 companies and high-growth startups. He writes under the pen name J.T. Jamison and Barcinno will publish a new chapter in his series each Wednesday (hump day) during the month of March. If you missed part 1 of the series, please click here.
It is often said that “every journey begins with that first step” and today, finding your mentor is the most important first step in your new business journey. Who is a mentor? What do they look like? Where are they? AND most importantly…what characteristics should I be looking for in my mentor?
Before attempting to climb any major mountain peak, the accomplished climbers seek out the Sherpa because they know the mountain and have taken the trip before. Likewise, the top criteria for your selection of a mentor should be someone of strategic and practical business experience that “has done it before.” This could be a respected business owner, a senior manager in a larger firm, a university professor that has worked in the private sector or even a serial entrepreneur. Think of all those individuals you believe to be wise and have a high respect for their judgment. Mentors come from all walks of life and there is no golden rule that you only have one mentor.
Look for an advisor that has a breadth of multifunctional experience and knowledge in the arena of your business. Consider someone you respect, that you feel is wise and has expertise in areas you do not. Seek out those individuals who believe in you, in your business concept and inspire you. The best mentors are those that are great listeners, willing to share their professional knowledge and a real desire to help you be successful. Look for advisors that can tactfully pay “devil’s advocate” and still motivate you. Most importantly, you must totally trust your mentor. Trust is critical because you must be able to share almost everything with them for them to be truly effective in helping you.
As in any important hiring process, don’t rush to select someone as your primary mentor. It is one of the most important decisions you are making for your new company. REMEMBER: When up on the mountain, in those moments of doubt, when the weather is horrible, the winds pick up, darkness and bitter cold test the very core of your being, you want to know that you are not alone. You have with you the confidence in a trusted guide that can assist you in your journey to the summit.
Stay tuned next week for Part 3: “Maximizing The Mentor Relationship”