I need a mentor but I’m in a remote area and they’re in short supply. What can I do?
You probably find you need to travel in to city centres on occasion for face-to-face contact with various connections as part of your business.
You will need to lock in time with your mentor on these occasions. You can’t expect an unpaid mentor to travel to see you but you can expect that your mentor (once you locate him or her) will be happy to spare you time when you’re in their area.
Online technology will also assist with the distance issue, although I strongly recommend face-to-face contact with your mentor.
In terms of finding an appropriate mentor – that’s easy. Consider the people you find inspirational and look at the people whose business skills you would like to emulate.
Make contact with the people you think would teach you something and/or provide you with new insight for your business.
Your two businesses are quite different from one another. You may seek two mentors from those industry sectors or look at just one, perhaps in the environmental sector that has a nous for marketing.
It’s all about finding the right fit and seeking someone that you know will add value, not just finding someone who is like-minded.
But do be prepared to travel.
A personal coach may just work for some. I personally have never tried it.
I believe professional coaching and mentoring is where the true value lies. But I will emphasise now - the best mentors are those that don't need to charge a fee to mentor.
They do it because they like the person who has asked them and they want to help in some way.
Throughout my business life ,I've been mentored and have mentored many times over. I can easily say that I have personally mentored hundreds of individuals over the years and never for a fee.
I have had some fantastic mentors throughout my life too, from high profile business individuals through to longstanding business contacts.
Currently, I mentor around 40 people from all different walks of life and for some I have invested in their businesses through Deasil Management Group.
Most are based purely on personal relationships I've developed where I want to see the individual and/or their business idea grow and take shape.
I think if you're going to get real value from a business coach or mentor, you want them interested in you because of your personality and your business acumen and ideas - not because they are receiving a pay cheque.
I say the same about Advisory Boards. I strongly advocate inviting people to sit on your board in an unpaid role. This way you know their advice and their interest is legitimate.
You may ask why someone would want to mentor you without payment? Well, believe it or not, many highly successful people are happy to pass on their knowledge and their affiliation with you and maybe your business may even complement their own credentials.
Or believe it or not, they may just really like you. You may want to offer them some equity in your business - this is largely different from paying a fee or salary.
Make sure you weigh up your potential mentor's worth to you and your business before throwing equity at them.
All in all my personal professional development would not have been as successful without the support of the many mentors I have worked with.
I strongly recommend anyone to seek a mentor and reap the rewards of good advice, new perspectives and ongoing and active interest in your personal and business development.