The Mentor Relationship
By: Russ | Published: April 22, 2010 | Filed under: Networking
No matter how much business experience you have, life will invariably throw you curveballs. If you’re just starting out, those curveballs look like they’re being thrown by Barry Zito circa 2002. Sometimes you even encounter a problem that the Internet doesn’t have an answer for! Having someone available who’s traveled the same path who can guide you is an invaluable resource.
So how do you find a mentor? In larger businesses, you’d look for people who have succeeded in advancing in your chosen career path. For a start-up or small business, however, the process is slightly more difficult. Many of the people who qualify will run businesses that compete with your own, whether tangentially or directly, and as such may not be so willing to give you the guidance you need. You’ll need to be creative, looking for business models similar to your own and reaching out to the owners.
On the flip side, becoming a mentor can have benefits outside of feeling good about yourself. It’s often easy to internalize lessons learned but never fully understand them. The process of explaining them to someone else can often help your own grasp of their ramifications. Furthermore, helping a business grow can lead to opportunities down the road. It’s never bad to have a successful business owner owing you a favor.
Businesses are built alone very rarely, in fact the likelihood of doing so is about the likelihood of a batter making solid contact with a 2002 Barry Zito curveball (note: this fact may or may not be true). The key is to turn Barry Zito into Jose Lima which is what a strong mentor relationship can achieve.
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