Often when we think of mentoring, we think of teachers and students or organizations like Big Brother and Big Sister. But did you know there are business mentors as well?

A business mentor can be defined as someone with entrepreneurial business experience who can serve as an advisor, confidante, and teacher to someone just starting their own business.

What Makes a Good Business Mentor?

There are several characteristics that successful mentors should possess. They should:

-Be able to communicate clearly and effectively

-Set expectations up front and throughout the mentor/mentee relationship.

-Actively listen to their mentee’s concerns, thoughts, and ideas.

-Guide their mentee through the challenges and pitfalls of running a business.

-Provide insight into best practices and provide examples from their own experiences.

If you’re new to entrepreneurship, there are plenty of obvious benefits to finding a good mentor. Aside from gaining more knowledge about how to run a successful business, a mentor can also help their mentee widen their network. They can help grow their contacts and client base as well as introduce them to reputable service providers and industry partners. Mentors can also share their own past mistakes with their mentee to help the mentee avoid making the same missteps.

How to Get Started

In most cases, business mentors do not charge a fee for their time or advice. If you’re interested in either becoming a mentor or finding one for your own business, you may be wondering what steps to take.

There are several resources available. This Forbes article discusses why it’s so important to find a mentor, and this one details how to find one.

With social distancing still in effect around the world, remote networking is a convenient and safe way to develop a business mentor/mentee relationship. Score is a company dedicated to helping people find small business mentors or mentees all over the world. The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) is another great resource available to small business owners. Their mission is to “foster vibrant small business communities through mentoring and education.”

If you’re looking to support minority-owned businesses or working with minority business owners, check out the Association of Women’s Business Centers, US Black Chambers, Inc., the Asian American Chamber of Commerce, or the United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.

Whether you’re an entrepreneur looking for a mentor to help you navigate the ins and outs of running a business or an established business owner looking for a mentee to share your knowledge and business acumen with, there are more resources available than ever. Remote software and video platforms make it easy to connect and communicate with like-minded business owners all over the world.