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How to Find a Professional Business Mentor: A Step-By-Step Guide

ABM

April 8, 2024

Finding a professional business mentor can be a transformative step for you and your business. But where can you find such a  person and how do you know they are right for you? In this article, we’ll take a close look at how to find a professional business mentor, why every entrepreneur and small business owner can benefit from having one, and how to find the right  mentor for your unique needs.  

How can working with a business mentor benefit you?  

As a business owner, becoming immersed in everyday challenges and responsibilities can make it difficult to see the wood for the trees. This is where your business mentor can support you!  

A professional business mentor does not only provide you with specific knowledge you need to succeed, like how to grow your social media following, increase sales or launch a new product. They also possess the empathetic skills to help you understand why you are facing your current challenges and how you can overcome them while shaping some of your own business instincts.  

One of the key roles of your business mentor is to help you take a step back and provide you with an external overview of your business. Your business mentor helps you to clarify your ideal future and how to achieve goals that can be transformational for your business. They support you in the development of your vision, values and purpose and help you plan appropriately to achieve a true transformation for your business.  

In fact, according to a study of 823 businesses across the UK, 66% of businesses that had received mentoring say it had helped them survive and three quarters (76%) say it had been key to business growth (Mentoring Matters Report, 2022).  

3 ways to find a business mentor  

Before you start searching for your business mentor, you ought to consider what you're looking for in a mentor. Your needs depend greatly on your current situation and your position in your entrepreneurial jouney . Start with mapping out your short- and long-term goals, followed by asking yourself what sort of mentor could help you achieve them. Do you require expertise regarding your specific industry, or rather concerning specific skills, e.g. leadership management or financial planning? Knowing your own needs and having a clear understanding of what you expect from your business mentor will make it much easier to identify your ideal mentor.
 

1. Utilise your professional & personal network  

Start your search by looking in your existing professional and personal network. They have seen what you do and your experience  and potentially have an understanding of how you could  improve.. Consider anyone from family connections to local small businesses. Join local networking events or start actively connecting with potential mentors in your niche on professional social media platforms such as LinkedIn.  As the main professional social media network, LinkedIn is an obvious choice to connect with potential mentors. You can search for specific skills or experience that you’re looking for in a mentor via the profile search function or connect with mentors via your industry-specific LinkedIn groups. Once you’ve found someone you like, you can either reach out to them directly with a connection request or follow them to learn more about their mentoring approach before contacting them.  

Despite the advantage of working with someone you know, you might face challenges such as their lack of mentoring experience and ability to get the best from your sessions, pressures on their time or priorities or closeness of personal relationship  
‍ Remember a poor Mentor is worse than no Mentor.  

2. Find a mentor via the ABM  

If you’re seeking a highly experienced, professional business mentor, the ABM is your “go-to” organisation. The Association of Business Mentors (ABM) is the only professional body for business mentoring in the UK and provides an essential link to reassure you that your ABM mentor is experienced and knowledgeable. When you work with an ABM member, you are engaging with an experienced business mentor who abides by the highest standards of professionalism with the level of skill and competency that business leaders expect from a professional business mentor.  

ABM members are experienced business leaders in their own right, spanning all business sizes and sectors.  Each member goes through a rigorous application process and has business ownership or c-suite experience, as well as a personal commitment to continuous learning and development.  

3. Get to know experienced entrepreneurs at meet-ups & online industry groups  

Expand your network and build connections with experienced entrepreneurs and business leaders in your niche during offline and/or online networking events. You might end up connecting with someone who could become your business mentor. You can find these events on sites like Meetup or Eventbrite and sign up for the ones that are relevant to you.  

Alternatively, you could research existing industry bodies and member groups within your industry if you’re seeking a business mentor with a similar background. Although some industry bodies are expensive to join, there are plenty of alternatives online. Search for your industry-specific terms on LinkedIn to potentially discover a number of industry focused interest groups which you can join for free.  

What to look for when choosing a mentor?

It is not necessary for mentors and mentees to have similar personalities, similar learning styles or similar backgrounds in order for the mentoring relationships to be successful. Each mentor will have different qualities, skills and attributes. They will also have their own style of working and their own way of helping develop you and your business. A good business mentor  will always help your decision-making process.  

If you require more formal support for your choice of mentor  then ask for some of the following.

Professional Accreditation

If they say they are qualified and or a member of a professional association such as the ABM then ask for proof.  If they are not members of an appropriate body or lack experience or do not have qualifications do you really want to pursue a formal relationship with them?

Professional Insurance

A stipulation of ABM Membership is that all our members have appropriate Professional Indemnity Cover. If in doubt please ask to see a valid certificate.

Case Studies & Testimonials

These are a great way of understanding what value a mentor can bring to your business, by understanding what they have achieved for and with other clients. Through case studies, you will gain a better understanding of the Mentor's abilities and style.  

Research the Market

One of the most important factors in a successful mentee-mentor relationship is rapport. Confidence, trust, role model, behaviours all have a part to play. It's always a good idea to 'interview' more than one mentor to ensure a 'good fit' with you.

How much does mentoring cost?

Mentoring fees can be around £100 a session to over £500 a session. There are many factors that dictate how much a mentor may charge such as business experience, sector knowledge, access to network, the level of contact and availability and so on. 76% of surveyed business owners in the study mentioned above agreed that mentoring had played an important role in their business’s growth. So, when compared to the value a great mentor can potentially bring to both you and your business then what may seem at first a pure cost can quickly pay for itself many times over by making a significant investment in 'you'.

Mentoring drives growth and development. Its impact is clear to see through the statistics outlined above and the countless examples we see on a daily basis of mentoring helping business owners to overcome challenges and develop opportunities that they see in every day business life. With that, investing in a professional business mentor is of huge value, not only to the indiviaul, but to their teams and their businesses.

It can be challenging to find a business mentor who you have a natural rapport with and provides you with applicable, actionable professional guidance. That’s why the ABM developed a professional business mentor directory, listing some of the UK’s most qualified and experienced business mentors. Find your business mentor via the ABM here.

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