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3 Ways to Find a Mentor

Every startup founder can benefit from working with a mentor or coach. While ultimately you will be the one to execute and take action, a mentor or coach can help you at any stage of your venture by:

  • Providing relevant feedback and advice on your product or business plan.
  • Sifting through all the ideas in your head so you can focus on the right ones.
  • Saving you time and money by connecting you with contacts that would otherwise be hard to reach.
When you’ve decided that you’re ready to work with a mentor or coach, here are three avenues you should consider, each very different from the other.
1. Incubators and Accelerators
YCombinator, Techstars, and 500startups are well known startup accelerators and incubators in the industry. With each not only will you receive investment or working capital for your business, you’ll also, and more importantly, gain access to a group of very seasoned and exceptionally smart mentors.
Other groups like SCORE, Young Entrepreneurs Association, and other chambers of commerce in your area will often be able to connect you with a mentor or coach.
2. Coaching Companies
There are many independent coaches as well as coaching companies that may be a good fit for you and your business. Always make sure that any coach you hire has a track-record of success in the real world and not just a certification they’ve paid for.
Coaching companies include: Strategic Coach, Action Coach, Building Champions and many others you can find online through a quick search.
3. Targeted Relationships
Aside from applying and getting into an accelerator type of program, the best way to find a mentor or coach is to seek one out yourself. Figure out what you want to learn, who has that experience, and how you can meet them. Sometimes it’s as easy as sending them an email or giving them a call. Other times you’ll need to use your network to try and get an introduction.
Offering to take the person out for lunch is a great way to get the ball rolling. If you hit it off you’ll likely find that the person is more than happy to share their experiences with you and you’ll be well on your way to having your first mentor or coach.
Whether you hire a coach, join an accelerator program or build a relationship with a mentor of your choosing, you’ll be better equipped to handle the many and seemingly constant barrage of challenges you’ll face along your entrepreneurial journey.
This article was originally published by Killer Startups
Michael Zipursky is a direct marketing consultant, author and founder of Business Consulting Buzz and FreshGigs.ca. His work has been featured in FOX Business, Marketing Magazine, KISSmetrics, Unbounce, Financial Times and HR Executive.
Published: September 27, 2013

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