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How and where to find a mentor

Discussion in 'General Business Forum' started by Busy33, Dec 2, 2019.

  1. Busy33

    Busy33 UKBF Newcomer Free Member

    13 0
    I really want to find a mentor as I'm starting to feel that nobody understand me. I outgrew my friends, my parents don't completely understand,.... there's literally no one I can talk to to understand my mind and push me. I do listen to YouTube videos but that's not the same.

    Any tips how to approach mentors? They always say "before you ask for mentorship, ask them what can you give back". What on earth am I supposed to give back to a person who I'd learn from???

    It's so confusing.
    Posted: Dec 2, 2019 By: Busy33 Member since: Nov 11, 2019
  2. Clinton

    Clinton UKBF Big Shot Full Member

    4,939 2,103
    You can give them money.

    The problem with a lot of small businesses is that they are looking for some fairy godmother type figure - an experienced entrepreneur with the time and interest to provide free consultancy services.

    That makes these small businesses a prime target for some very dodgy characters. Take care out there!
    Posted: Dec 2, 2019 By: Clinton Member since: Jan 17, 2010

    JEREMY HAWKE UKBF Legend Full Member

    5,036 1,682
    I'm frightfully astounded
    Posted: Dec 2, 2019 By: JEREMY HAWKE Member since: Mar 4, 2008
  4. Busy33

    Busy33 UKBF Newcomer Free Member

    13 0
    Before assuming things and being rude, why don't you ASK things first for clarification?

    Firstly, not every person is a mentor or WANTS to be a mentor.
    Secondly, I posted a question to seek help not to give me your useless opinion and just be rude.
    Lastly, not every person just want money or is happy to do anything - if you pay them.
    Posted: Dec 2, 2019 By: Busy33 Member since: Nov 11, 2019

    JEREMY HAWKE UKBF Legend Full Member

    5,036 1,682
    If people would actually tell us about their business and their strategy then it might be a more receptive fountain of knowledge on here
    It has been said that the forum is hostile recently and what do people expect with this type of post
    I read this and if it was not a business Forum I would assume that is just a teenager moaning about something.
    What ever happened to just going out there and getting it
    Posted: Dec 2, 2019 By: JEREMY HAWKE Member since: Mar 4, 2008
  6. John Hemming

    John Hemming UKBF Regular Full Member

    258 34
    A lot of the opinions Clinton provides for free on this forum as in fact quite useful - even if you don't think they are at the time. Do be careful not to devalue things that people do for free.
    Posted: Dec 2, 2019 By: John Hemming Member since: May 23, 2019
  7. billybob99

    billybob99 UKBF Regular Free Member

    1,552 465
    R.I.P dreams of finding a mentor.
    Posted: Dec 2, 2019 By: billybob99 Member since: Apr 23, 2013
  8. fisicx

    fisicx It's Major Clanger! Staff Member

    32,736 9,705
    His post was spot on, not rude or useless.

    It might help if you told us what you need a mentor for.
    Posted: Dec 2, 2019 By: fisicx Member since: Sep 12, 2006
  9. Gordon - Commercial Finance

    Gordon - Commercial Finance UKBF Ace Free Member

    2,379 788
    I actually thought Clinton was quite gentle and helpful here. I was quite shocked.
    Posted: Dec 2, 2019 By: Gordon - Commercial Finance Member since: Jun 26, 2017
  10. Clinton

    Clinton UKBF Big Shot Full Member

    4,939 2,103
    Given what @JEREMY HAWKE said in a recent post, I reckon someone's changed the road signs somewhere and all the mumsnet traffic is coming here!

    I found this on quora today, here:

    Posted: Dec 2, 2019 By: Clinton Member since: Jan 17, 2010
  11. Mark T Jones

    Mark T Jones UKBF Big Shot Free Member

    4,579 1,682
    It would help if you were to clarify what you actually hope to achieve from a mentor, as there are many different ideas on what a mentor actually is/does.

    I actually hold a certificate in mentoring from the National Enterprise Network. It took nearly 3 hours to earn it. The serious point in there being that the course I attended wasn't what most people perceive mentoring to be - it was all about helping people to challenge their own assumptions (taking being challenged in a professional manner is a huge business skill), to set themselves realistic goals and giving pointers and signposts to good sources of information.

    There is a reasonable pool of volunteer mentors out there, many operate under Government schemes such as NEA and Start Up Loans; others are on sites like MentorsMe. Their reward isn't cash, it is in being appreciated and ultimately in seeing their charges make a success of their business.

    Sadly, there are far more start-ups who think they want a mentor than there are mentors - those who are any good will be highly selective in choosing their 'clients'.

    There were several reasons why I quit mentoring, a key one being that far too many mentees assumed that they were getting some kind of fast-track to success and hoped for magic bullets, big business insights even contacts/contracts. That's the stuff you earn and pay for.

    In one instance a mentee thought I was going to give them the business plan of a competitor I had worked with. On many, many occasions, having reviewed their 'business plan' and suggested areas for detailed research and study, they would come back 2 hours later having changed a few words saying 'is that better?'

    In a nutshell, are you looking for guidance in developing yourself, or are you hoping to be given business success?
    Last edited: Dec 3, 2019
    Posted: Dec 3, 2019 By: Mark T Jones Member since: Nov 4, 2015
  12. Stas Lawicki

    Stas Lawicki UKBF Regular Free Member

    329 137
    It's funny, I've just come off the phone to an MD who hired me in my first role nearly 20 years ago. The man is a living legend and although we are far from friends or pals, I did spend 20mins listening to his view on a particular topic. Do I agree with it all? No. Was he expecting anything in return? No. Did he get anything from it? Unlikely. Was a worth while call - absolutely.

    The problem with 'Mentors' is that they mean different things to different people. I did a long winded reply to somebody a while back when they posed the same question. You might be better off compartmentalising the problems and then seeking help for each one. If you are feeling low in mood and self-worth, speak to a GP/Therapist etc. If it is a business related problem, seek the advice of various friends/colleagues/business leaders and draw your own conclusions.

    A mentor doesn't give you answers. A mentor helps you figure out the answers for yourself and supports your decision making/ allows you to confined issues and concerns and helps you overcome problems. They will not lead you or your business out of a rut - that has to come from you. Mentors also don't expect much in return (perhaps doing things when you say you will and continuing a mutual trust/confidentiality etc), but certainly are not expecting you to offer up gems or wisdom that will benefit them.

    At times like this, I would get a piece of paper and a pen, sit in a quiet room and jot down the individual problems (the real ones) and draw a line off each to a potential solution. Make a plan to overcome or combat each problem and then get to it. It might be painful, it might be long-winded, it might even require doing things you never thought you ever would, but you should give it a go.

    If you do go looking for a mentor, don't pay for it, don't expect too much and do be prepared to put in the effort. If you are lucky enough to find a good one, you are extremely fortunate. Otherwise, back yourself, grab this issues by the proverbials and do something positive about them.

    Good luck and go get it...!
    Posted: Dec 3, 2019 By: Stas Lawicki Member since: Nov 14, 2017
  13. Socio South West

    Socio South West UKBF Enthusiast Free Member

    961 247
    Excellent post by @Mark T Jones above

    In my semi retirement I put aside half a day a week free of charge for small and start up businesses to help them get a different perspective on where they are at and where they are going.
    It's not technically mentoring, but most find it good to have a brainstorming session on their ideas to help them move forward.

    The overwhelming thing I find is that few understand the difference between critique and criticism - and I don't deny some sessions have not gone well, but those are almost always with people wearing rose tinted spectacles thinking they are going to build the next Google by Christmas with a pair of knitting needles and salvaged wool.
    Posted: Dec 3, 2019 By: Socio South West Member since: Mar 24, 2013

    MY OFFICE IN CHINA UKBF Legend Full Member

    5,535 1,293
    In order to find a person/mentor to help you, you should start with letting them know the following. (This is a short list, you can make it as long as you want to ensure any person/mentor can understand fully your current requirements.

    Your product category that you are planning on getting involved with and the reasons why you chose that category.

    Your current experience in the product category.

    The research you have done in the category.

    Selling to B2B, B2C or both.

    Your proposed selling platforms, if you know.

    What you know about marketing.

    The hours and commitment you’re prepared to devote to your project.

    The funds you have available.

    Your goals for the next 2/3 years.

    Your background, academic, social, age, previous work experiences . .

    What will a person/mentor expect from you?

    The truth in your initial representations.

    Expectation that you are ready to start a business and have done sufficient research before contacting him/her

    To listen and to follow their advice diligently.

    Your full commitment.


    A ‘good’ mentor will get satisfaction from assisting you in the right direction and lay a foundation to hopefully achieve your goals.

    Some maybe ‘hands on’, some will just offer advice, one stage at a time.

    Some may charge a nominal fee, not because they need it, but to ensure your full commitment and to not think they will be wasting their time.

    Do you feel you are ready for a mentor, or a mentor is in fact what you need?

    Good luck with your business development.
    Posted: Dec 3, 2019 By: MY OFFICE IN CHINA Member since: Nov 16, 2011
  15. Busy33

    Busy33 UKBF Newcomer Free Member

    13 0
    Thank you Stas! :)

    I was just a bit anxious when I wrote this post. Most of the time I feel like I can't relate to my "friends" anymore as I've completely outgrown them. My parents support me but they're not entrepreneurs so they don't really know what I'm going through and don't want to bother them...

    I guess I just wanted to find someone who could challenge me and perhaps push me.
    Thanks for your time and happy holidays.
    Posted: Dec 29, 2019 By: Busy33 Member since: Nov 11, 2019
  16. Jack92Jack

    Jack92Jack UKBF Newcomer Free Member

    7 0
    Actually, I was in same position.

    Where do you find a mentor question is impossible to answer because it's too broad, you need to specify for what exactly.

    In my situation where I'm focusing on developing my furniture hobby and hopefully turning it into a business in future I was fortunate enough to:

    1. Have a family members already having an experience with timber products (Direct)
    2. Find website (Indirect)
    3. Have Local institution providing free business advice & training (Direct)

    Can't you challenge yourself? I set myself goals and every time I achieve them I tend to do aim a little bit higher
    Posted: Dec 29, 2019 By: Jack92Jack Member since: Dec 20, 2019
  17. Busy33

    Busy33 UKBF Newcomer Free Member

    13 0
    Yes but it gets hard at times. I have nobody to talk to about my work.

    A stated previously, my "friends" are on completely another level and my parents don't really understand. Maybe they would if I'd tell them everything but I know they're too protective and don't want me to "suffer" so might say some advice that I'd find stupid and annoying.

    I also work in an entertainment industry where celebrities and big brands are involved so this make things 10x harder. I'm not in some "normal" business where you just start a business and make money. It's a lot more behind that.
    Posted: Dec 30, 2019 By: Busy33 Member since: Nov 11, 2019
  18. Talay

    Talay UKBF Big Shot Free Member

    3,832 800
    I recently offered to help someone who was struggling to develop their retail business overseas and whilst I offered, they had hinted some help would be appreciated.

    Each question I posed was ignored when the answer was difficult or required reevaluation of their economics and any suggestion as to an interim solution to a serious problem was met with thoughts they they knew best when clearly their best was going to drive the business into the ground.

    Asking is one thing, listening is another.
    Posted: Dec 30, 2019 By: Talay Member since: Mar 12, 2012
  19. Chris Ashdown

    Chris Ashdown UKBF Legend Free Member

    11,600 2,413
    It might help if you read your PM's
    Posted: Dec 30, 2019 By: Chris Ashdown Member since: Dec 7, 2003
  20. Clinton

    Clinton UKBF Big Shot Full Member

    4,939 2,103
    And he has already demonstrated in his first reply to me that he doesn't like listening.

    You've got to understand that he's superior to most people. He is far more intelligent than all the people he knows and, probably, than everyone in this forum. He has "outgrown" his friends. His family are too stupid to help him ...or even understand him.

    His parents give "stupid and annoying" advice. They are not as smart as he is. They are ordinary people like you, like me.

    You obviously don't understand about the superiority of his business either. It deals with celebrities, not the average Joes who you and I call customers.

    In any other business you just "start the business and make money". Like what you did, what I did. Simple. Easy. Not so in his business. His business is one in which - as you and other readers are thick I'll explain again - deals with celebrities & brands.

    His business is "10x" harder than your business, than my business. It's not just a little bit harder. It's 10x harder. As you all run easy businesses none of you will know enough to mentor him. So why don't you just give him a link where he can get away from you fools to someone who knows more than he does and who's desperate to give advice away for free?

    Why are we still talking here? Does nobody understand anything any more? Just give the bloody link, okay?!
    Posted: Dec 30, 2019 By: Clinton Member since: Jan 17, 2010
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