Focus Your Goals with a Business Mentor

Richard Branson, Michael Bloomberg, Suze Orman - these leaders have vastly different backgrounds and philosophies, but all agree that mentors play an invaluable role in the journey from aspiring entrepreneur to business leader. Mentors benefit all fledgling entrepreneurs, but are particularly valuable for those with grand visions that they struggle to bring into clearer focus. Once you find the right business mentor, there will be no stopping you.

How a Business Mentor Can Help You Achieve Greater Focus

It's no secret that setting goals is crucial for aspiring business leaders; in a notable Dominican University study, those who set and wrote down clear and concise goals achieved far better outcomes than those who failed to make concrete plans. A good business mentor can play an invaluable role in the goal setting process, keeping you accountable and ensuring that your goals are sufficiently targeted.

Formal Versus Informal Mentorships

Most people have at least a few casual mentors, who check in from time to time and offer feedback on major life decisions. A casual mentor could be a more experienced friend, a former instructor, or even a beloved family member. While these helpful individuals play an important role in your development as an entrepreneur, much of your growth will be prompted by more formal mentorship relationships, in which you agree to meet virtually or in person on a regular basis.

During your first few meetings, your mentor can help you narrow your goals. As you make progress, he or she may offer advice on how to work towards your vision, or suggestions for tweaking your mission, if necessary. Avoid excessive exposure, as mentor-mentee burnout can and will occur if you spend too much time together.

Choosing the Right Business Mentor

Mentors exist in all walks of life, but your ideal mentor should be highly regarded in your industry. You don't have to have a strong relationship right now, but some familiarity may prove beneficial. Be choosy; while you can glean valuable insight from a variety of individuals, only the truly remarkable are worthy of taking on a formal mentorship role. Credentials alone are not good enough; your mentor should show a clear capacity for guiding inexperienced professionals through the complexities of the business world.

A notable study from the University of California San Francisco identified empathy as one of the most essential qualities in a mentor, so find someone who will identify with your journey and advocate strongly on your behalf.

How to Structure Your Mentorship Sessions

Before you work with your mentor to write goals for your business, you'll need to create a few clear goals for each mentorship session. What do you want to accomplish in the limited time you have together, and how can your mentor help? From there, your first few meetings should be structured as follows:

  • Clarify your current goals.
  • Determine whether existing goals align with reality. Your mentor's experience could play a huge role in completing this essential step.
  • Determine benchmarks for success: how will you know when you've completed your goal?
  • Develop workable strategies that move you towards your goal.

Your mentor could spell the difference between small business success or a fizzled career, so choose carefully. Ask your mentor for feedback on your vision, your execution strategy, and your benchmarks. Your working relationship could be the launching point for business success.

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