Want Help Fine-Tuning a Business Idea? Find a Mentor Header

Want Help Fine-Tuning a Business Idea? Find a Mentor

  11 months ago (Mon, Jul 10, 2023 at 03:06 PM)

Fine-tuning a business idea isn’t easy. While fairly course-grained ideas are rather easy to develop, like creating a cell-phone that’s designed specifically for elderly people, fleshing out the details is where experience helps. This reality puts first-time entrepreneurs at a disadvantage. While there are many books and Web sites about new business ideas, what many first-time entrepreneurs find most helpful in the idea generation and perfecting stage is to find a mentor to guide them through the process.

A mentor is someone who is more experienced than you and is willing to be your counselor, confidant, and go-to person for advice. There are two ways to find a mentor. First, you can work with your network of acquaintances— professors, business owners, coaches—to determine if there is someone available that you trust, has experience helping first-time entrepreneurs, and is willing to become your mentor. Many first-time entrepreneurs are surprised by the number of talented and experienced people who are eager to share their expertise and enter into a mentoring relationship. The second way is to utilize one of the growing numbers of Web sites and organizations that help match business founders with people who are willing to become mentors. One Web site is MicroMentor.org, which is a nonprofit that matches business founders with mentors. You can go to the site and fill out a profile about yourself and your goals, and then search profiles of potential mentors who match your needs. Once a match is made, the mentoring can take place through e-mail, via Web conferencing, over the phone, or in person. There is a tab on MicroMentor’s Web site that provides access to “success stories” of business founders who have had excellent results using its service. A number of organizations provide a similar service. For example, the National Association for Women Business Owners has over 7,000 members in 70 chapters across the United States. Some chapters sponsor mentorship programs.

There are also Web sites and organizations that do not provide mentorship services per se, but provide entrepreneurship-related services and advice that can help entrepreneurs fine-tune business ideas. An example is PartnerUp, a site that matches entrepreneurs with associates and business services. A particularly useful Web site is Buzgate.org, where you can hunt for reputable organizations based on your specific needs and location. This aggregator site provides explanations and links to associations such as local SCORE chapters, Small Business Development Centers, small business incubators, and so forth.

The ideal situation is to find a mentor in your own community so you can meet face-to-face. Still, the online options provide a wide range of mentors to choose from, which may result in a better match. Online mentoring and counseling relationships are becoming increasingly common. For example, nearly 40 percent of all the counseling and mentoring done by SCORE counselors is now done online.

Similar to any relationship, a business founder should be careful and only share private information with a mentor once a trusting relationship has been established. 

Reference: Entrepreneurship   


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