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9 Ways to Find a Business Mentor

The Huffington Post The Huffington Post 18/03/2016 BusinessCollective

A mentor has a huge influence on how you run your business. A mentor guides you in ways you never would have thought about, helping you make smarter decisions and connecting you with other industry experts. Finding the right one, however, isn't always easy. Here's how you can start:

A. Keep Pitching

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Pitching the business idea creates a myriad of opportunities for encounters with potential mentors. On occasion, the passion behind the idea is equally met with enthusiastic yet succinct questions. Make an effort to continue discussions with those that exhibit expertise through intelligent responses to your pitch. Through continuous dialogue you will understand the fit of an excellent mentor. - Brian Chiou, Enigma Systems LLC

A. Network at Local and Trade Events

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The best mentors for me have always been those I've met at trade shows or networking events through colleagues or general conversations. Getting out there and meeting people face-to-face will give you a better chance of finding someone who's your perfect mentor match. - Jaime Derringer, Design Milk

A. Reflect on Who Has Already Been There for You

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You might have one already and you don't realize it. If you reflect back on your past experiences with the added benefit of time and perspective, it should be pretty clear who has been there for you beyond just getting a job done. It's those people who take the time and patience to grow and push you into a better version of your professional self that'd I'd deem mentor-worthy. - Michael Wasilewski, Frank Collective

A. Read Books

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A great mentor is someone who's lived an adventurous life filled with experiences that are relatable to your journey. What is a book but a collection of an exceedingly successful person's experiences? Reading a book by Peter Thiel or a biography of Elon Musk is the equivalent of having a rock-star entrepreneur share their secrets to success. - Zimin Hang, Ultradia

A. Try Your Old Professors

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If you've been to college, then there's a good chance you've already met one. Think back to your professors. Did any of them stand out to you as particularly passionate, skilled or knowledgeable? Did any of them take a more active role in the development of their students than the others? - Steven Buchwald, Buchwald & Associates

A. Connect With Contractors

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The important mentors and advisers I have were all originally contractors I hired. I connected with these experts professionally and I got to see them up close and personal and work their craft. Over time, we bonded out of respect and eventually became friends. It was very organic. - Adam Halper, Whatsgoodly Inc.

A. Ask for Referrals

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Understanding yourself is the first step. Knowing your strengths and weaknesses also helps, as does having an idea regarding how a mentor might guide you. Then be proactive and ask for referrals from people you respect/look up to (business-related or otherwise). - Jessica Baker, Aligned Signs

A. Be Assertive

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Often, people will ask my how I got food business luminaries like the founder of Numi Tea and the founder of ZICO coconut water to be on Kuli Kuli's advisory board. My answer is quite simple: I knew that they were perfect for my business and so I asked for a meeting. And then, when it felt like a fit, I asked them to be an advisor/mentor. - Lisa Curtis, Kuli Kuli

A. Find Someone With a Similar Passion

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Networking events and conferences are one of the best ways to make face-to-face meetings with big names in your industry. Instead of walking up to one of these big players and saying you enjoy their work, put in the time and research to explore what they are passionate about. Find something you both connect with and make a personal connection. This can lead to a much better and "real" connection. - Zac Johnson, How To Start A Blog‎

These answers are provided by members of FounderSociety, an invitation-only organization comprised of ambitious startup founders and business owners.

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