The Entrepreneur.com article below, detailing various ways that entrepreneurs can find a mentor, is a tempting one to criticize. After all, I am no fan of Top 10 lists (or Top 7 in this case). Indeed, red-font-clicked, sarcasm-at-the-ready, I was fully prepared to start disparaging it . . . when an uncharacteristic thought struck me. What if I just added the “missing” three items to author Anna Johansonn’s list. Round it out to an even top ten. A less enjoyable undertaking perhaps, but certainly a more constructive one.
So, here goes:
Yes, SCORE still exists and is still helping entrepreneurs. I am currently working with two firms whose founders work with SCORE advisors and who consider them mentors. SCORE is an underappreciated resource. Check out the SCORE chapter in your area: https://www.score.org/
Legal and Other Advisors
Often, one’s legal, insurance or other service providers have a long history of working with startups, small businesses and their investors. They have invaluable contacts and, in my experience, most are willing to make introductions. In some cases, the lawyers or brokers themselves can serve as mentors. Believe me, they have “seen it all.”
I suspect that the author left “investors” off her list because she assumed her readers are entrepreneurs whose companies are not yet at the funding stage. That’s certainly understandable. I mention investors here because, too often, they are viewed as nothing more than sources of money. They can be so much more. When I first encountered troubles at Keurig, my lead venture capitalist put me in touch with a start-up coach, Jack Derby (http://www.derbymanagement.com). Jack’s advice was excellent, though I was not mature enough to implement it effectively.
Finally, were I to proceed further to Top 11 ways to find a mentor, I might suggest reaching out to someone online, someone whose article, book, site or webinar you appreciated. Entrepreneurship is a combination of hard work and, yes, luck. Send that email. You may strike up a lasting relationship.
Ever thought to look for a mentor at your fitness club? You’d be surprised at where the right person may be hanging out.
Peter has spent the past twenty-plus years as an acting/consulting CFO for a number of small businesses in a wide range of industries. Peter’s prior experience is that of a serial entrepreneur, managing various start-up and turnaround projects. He is a co-founder of Keurig.