The Washington Magazine

The Washington Magazine

The Five Best Ways to Find a Mentor for Your Start-Up Business

Finding a mentor isn’t as difficult as you might think, but it does take some work on your part to make it happen. If you can be proactive about finding someone who can advise you on your new business, you can save yourself a lot of time and heartache along the way to making it successful. Here are the five best ways to find a mentor for your start-up business.

Don’t try to go it alone

Starting a business can be incredibly stressful, especially when you’re on your own. Without a mentor or coach, your dream of founding and growing your start-up may simply never materialize. Don’t try to go it alone; find someone who can help you with each step along the way. If you don’t have anyone in mind—don’t worry, there are many ways to make connections in your local area and establish important bonds that can help propel your business toward success.

Join an online community

Many entrepreneurs who are trying to get their businesses off of the ground will find that joining an online community can be extremely beneficial. These individuals have experience in various aspects of business, and can offer you advice based on their own experiences with entrepreneurship.

Have connections in your industry

Think of everyone you know—friends, family, former colleagues—and ask if they’re willing to meet with you on occasion. It’s important that your mentor be someone who has experience and expertise in your industry. (And it might be nice if they have connections in yours.)

Go in person

No, seriously. If you don’t have anyone in mind that you can ask to be your mentor, go into your local chamber of commerce or an industry association and talk to someone about it. Make sure you give them your elevator pitch about what kind of business you’re starting up and see if they have any contacts or good suggestions that can help get you started.

Join an incubator program

Incubator programs are business accelerators that provide mentorship, office space, and funding to entrepreneurs. The benefits of such programs include access to financing and private capital, networking opportunities with other members of your local startup community (which can be crucial when looking for new talent), as well as support in areas like accounting, human resources, and legal issues.