A business mentor can be an invaluable resource to an entrepreneur who is just starting out. Business mentors can offer an experienced perspective on your business plans and current issues.
Make the most of your meeting with your mentor by asking direct questions about specific issues.
The following are some of the best questions to ask your business mentor.
Don’t waste time trying to impress your mentor with how smart you are. Tell him or her about your specific challenges and ask for recommendations.
This question opens up the door for your mentor to share his or her personal success story. Usually, an adventure-filled journey complete with mistakes and lessons learned is the norm rather than a smooth path to success.
This question allows your mentor to share invaluable experience and wisdom. His or her answer can help you avoid similar drawbacks and mistakes. Listen carefully and learn.
In addition to sharing with you his or her mistakes and challenges along the way, this question allows your mentor to shine. This answer gives insight into what is important to your mentor and suggests goals to which you can aspire.
A good mentor can help you sift through numerous business organizations and trade associations to find the best ones to join. Through your mentor, you may receive an invitation to a desired group.
The answer to this question can exponentially expand your network. Your mentor can connect you with other business experts and potential investors.
Rather than focusing only on what you can get from the relationship, offer to give back as well. You may be able to help with social networking, web design, or video production. When you are genuinely willing to give, you set yourself apart from others.
This lets your mentor know that you expect ongoing communication and feedback. Set a date before you leave the current meeting. If your mentor’s schedule is too full for a face-to-face meeting over coffee, schedule a 15-minute phone call for the upcoming week. Don’t allow too much time to pass before reconnecting.
Mentors are busy people. Respect their time and willingness to help you by being prepared at your next meeting.
What have you learned from your favorite business mentor? We’d love to know!
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Disclaimer: Please note that this is not all-inclusive. Our guidance is designed only to give general information on the issues actually covered. It is not intended to be a comprehensive summary of all laws which may be applicable to your situation, treat exhaustively the subjects covered, provide legal advice, or render a legal opinion. Consult your own legal advisor regarding the specific application of the information to your own plan.
Editor's Note: This post was originally published in June 2014 and has been updated for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.