Finding Your Tribe:
How to Build a Network of Mentors and Advisors for Your Small Business
Starting a small business can be an exciting but challenging experience. As a young entrepreneur, it can feel like you're on your own, with no one to turn to for guidance or support. But building a network of mentors and advisors can help you navigate the ups and downs of entrepreneurship, and give you the tools you need to succeed.
At its core, mentorship is about learning from someone who has already walked the path you're on. Advisors, on the other hand, are experts in a specific field who can offer targeted advice on topics like finance, marketing, or legal issues. By combining the wisdom of mentors with the expertise of advisors, you can build a powerful support system for your business.
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So, how do you go about finding these mentors and advisors? Here are a few tips to get started:
Look for local networking events: Attend events in your community that are geared towards small business owners. You'll meet other entrepreneurs who are facing similar challenges, and you may even find a mentor or advisor who can help you navigate those challenges.
Join industry-specific groups: Look for groups or associations that cater to your industry. These groups often have mentoring programs or can connect you with advisors who have experience in your field.
Leverage social media: Social media can be a powerful tool for building connections. Join groups on Facebook or LinkedIn that are focused on small business or entrepreneurship, and engage with other members. You never know who you might meet!
Reach out to your network: Don't be afraid to ask friends, family members, or acquaintances if they know of any mentors or advisors who might be a good fit for your business. You might be surprised at how many people are willing to help!
Once you've identified potential mentors and advisors, it's important to approach them in the right way. Be clear about what you're looking for, and be respectful of their time. Remember, they're doing you a favor by sharing their knowledge and experience!
As you build your network of mentors and advisors, it's important to nurture those relationships. Check in with them regularly, ask for feedback, and show your appreciation for their help. And don't forget to pay it forward – someday, you may be the one mentoring a young entrepreneur!
Building a network of mentors and advisors is a key component of small business success. By leveraging the wisdom and expertise of others, you can navigate the challenges of entrepreneurship and achieve your goals. So get out there, find your tribe, and start building your support system today!
Where do you find a mentor?
Start with your state and your industry. For Example, the state of Oregon has resources for small business listed on their Oregon Business Registry & Licensing page.
Building your business:
Local assistance at SCORE a partner of the U.S. Small Business Administration to provide support mentoring, workshops and other help with online and regional office throughout the state (and country).
Oregon Minority Business Development Agency MBDA Business Center.
And several organizations focused around assisting groups tied together on a regional, industry or tribal/ethnic basis.
Small Business Legal Clinic (SBLC) a project of Lewis & Clark Law School provides legal advice to “new and emerging businesses, primarily those owned by women/minorities/recent immigrants.”
One organization that is doing great work to connect people and help them build their business is Adelante Mujeres. They started by helping woman to build business and community and have branched out to help educate students and even have a programs to mentor the next generation of our political leaders.
Look for organizations in your field. Most industries have a trade or union organization. Your state may have a list on their official page or reach out to more experienced people you work around. The important thong is to ask. If you get a no, ask someone else. Their are people willing to help younger workers develop their skills.