Last week I suggested mentoring as an option for inexperienced, new owners of businesses in the digital and graphics industry. The concept doesn’t fly of course without mentors – usually knowledgeable, experienced, current or retired members of the industry willing to pass on their wisdom to less-experienced members of the industry, particularly small business owners.
The mentoring to which I’m referring is offered free of charge. This makes it accessible to small businesses without the budget for consultants and coaches. It usually involves access to a mentor for a couple of hours a month when the mentee can raise issues and receive advice from the mentor.
Space here doesn’t permit a detailed explanation of the concept of mentoring but a little research on the Internet will turn up a lot of information. The key elements that a mentor brings to the relationship are, as already mentioned, knowledge and experience but, in addition to this, trust and a generosity are essential. The mentee must feel that he or she can trust the mentor and that the time and advice is offered generously without any expectation other than the satisfaction derived from giving. Then there is of course also the satisfaction derived from seeing a mentee benefit from the relationship.
So, if you’re willing and ready to mentor, how do potential mentees find you? Word of mouth is one way. Let your industry colleagues, suppliers, and customers know that if they hear of someone looking for a mentor, you’d be willing to consider it. Then wait to be approached. You may even be approached out of the blue on the basis of your profile and reputation in the industry alone. If you are, please consider it seriously.