Aug 232010
 
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You don’t need to reinvent the wheel.  And you are going to need plenty of moral support.  The fact is that there are likely to be several people who have done exactly what you are trying to do, or at least something close enough that you can benefit from their experiences and not make the same mistakes they did.  Most everyone worth having as a mentor is likely to be quite busy, so once you’ve identified the short-list of people you’d like to have as your advisor(s), you still have some work ahead of you in convincing them to work with you.  The best approach in my experience is to be very direct and let that person know that you respect what they’ve done and you’d like to learn from them.  The most likely first question is, “how much time will it take”?  While there is no certain answer to this question, let them know that you will be respectful of their time and at all times, you will schedule meetings and telephone calls to work with their schedule.  Do make the point though, that sometimes there will be an “urgent” matter that you need their opinion on right away, but that you’ll limit these times to very high priority situations.  You will find the path to growing your business much smoother with the support of one or several mentors..

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  • Great article. I agree that proper time management and respect is critical. Thanks for the insights.

  • Thanks for your comments, Paul. Agreed — time management and respect are very important. Typically anyone you would want as a mentor is extremely busy. That said, with good communication and respect, the relationship can work quite smoothly. I’ve learned so much from mentors throughout my career, that I highly recommend them to everyone. Probably much like yourself, I’m more often the mentor than the “mentee” these days, so it feels good to give back as well. Paul