Find a mentor. Mentors can help you cut years off your growth curve. They can save you from making mistakes they made or seen others make. You are then free to learn from new mistakes.

A mentor is someone - perhaps a family member, friend or business associate - who is more experienced in the business who is willing to give you some of their time, advice and support. Mentors never do this for money. They enter into the relationship because they want to help you. They see some potential in you and maybe a little of themselves in you. They want to help and you must be ready.

Besides the advice and coaching, they can help you by opening doors - allowing you to use their name, or by introducing you to key contacts. They may include you on one of their projects, refer overflow business to you, or drop your name in conversations.

How to find a mentor
Just because you need a mentor does not mean you will find one. You must adopt a marketing approach to finding a mentor. Get out to business functions, get known in your community, associations, clubs, and industry. Watch the news for potential mentors - send them notes -thank you's and congratulations. Call them to meet for breakfast or coffee.

How to maintain a mentoring relationship
Respect their time, advice and experience. Ask them probing questions and listen - taking notes is good. Ask about the three smartest things they ever did - then try to do them. Ask what three things they would do differently if starting over. Ask what was the biggest obstacles and how they overcame them. Ask what was their dumbest mistakes. Learn from their mistakes. Ask what they wish someone had told them when they started.
Ask a lot, but take what is offered.
Russian Proverb

Ask questions, listen, then act on what you learned. Report back with the results even if they weren't great. At least you listened and tried. That's what they want to hear. Never blame them if it doesn't work. On the other hand give them credit for the successes. You get some credit for doing it - but express your appreciation and respect. Thank them for their help - and be sincere. Never waste their time. Give back to them - with your ideas, thoughts and help.

The relationship can end for any of the following reasons;
You outgrow the mentor.
You waste the mentor's time.
The chemistry goes out of the relationship.
The mentor puts you down instead of helping you up.
You lose respect for each other.

The worst thing that you can do to a mentor is to ask for their advice - then ignore it. Use what you learn from them. Try it - even if you put your own spin on it.

Be not afraid of growing slowly: be afraid of standing still.
Chinese Proverb

Author's Bio: 

© SG George Torok is co-author of "Secrets of Power Marketing: Promote Brand You". To arrange your keynote speech or training program call 905-335-1997 Visit http://www/ To receive a free copy of 50 Power Marketing Ideas® and your free subscription to monthly marketing tips visit