Why do you need a mentor in the first place?
Starting a business can often feel like venturing into the unknown. You’re starting on a brand-new journey (which admit, you are ultra-excited about) but quite frankly, aren’t too sure where to begin just yet. Market strategy, potential business opportunities, financial resources…these are a few among many things you’ll need to get familiar with before you can venture off into your future pool of success. Even though you`ll surely experience a lot of uncertainty, it’s important not to get discouraged. You need to let the uncertainty fuel your motivation to get the guidance you need to be certain about any decision you make. A mentor can very well be one of these guides.
Know Yourself First.
If you read some of the other articles – you’ll realize that a big part of being an intrapreneur is truly knowing yourself on an interpersonal level. Your general likes, dislikes, strengths and weaknesses are probably things you can tell me right away. However, narrowing down your top 3 goals or explaining what inspires you to bounce happily out of bed in the morning might be a little tougher. As an intrapreneur, it’s also important to know what you value – both in business and in life.
It goes without saying that the intrapreneur’s credibility will be tested when he presents himself for the first time in front of his mentor. The intrapreneur will not only have to convince the mentor by selling their product (or service), they must also sell themselves and their personality. The key to doing so? Know yourself.
Also…Know your Business Plan!
A business plan is probably one of the most important aspects of your start-up and must be ready to present to any potential mentor. The intrapreneur must first determine the industry in which they want their mentor to work in professionally (ideally, an industry that reflects your idea). With this, the intrapreneur will be able to judge the future nature of their journey, IE: product or service? Even things like deciding between entrepreneurship or intrapreneurship? Or even whether you want to take a “start-up” approach or through a family business?
Step by Step: Find the Perfect Mentor
Step 1. For a young intrapreneur, it can be intimidating to get in touch with a president or vice-president of a large corporation. Although it could feel intimidating, remember that every president, vice-president or owner was also young, energized and ready to pursue their dreams. They too took risks by picking up the phone, giving their business card in the lobby of an office tower or asked to be referred by a mutual contact. Don’t be afraid to take initiative.
Step 2. The intrapreneur must understand that being a mentor will take time. The basis of any relationship (work or personal) …is trust. Both intrapreneur and mentor must learn as much as possible about each other in order to make the right decision. Do not expect the “match” to be perfect at the first cocktail or the first coffee. You must do things one step at a time!
Step 3. The intrapreneur must identify the exact qualities he or she is looking for in a mentor. It’s important to note that a good mentor will have more than experience and success. While these two qualities may seem like the most important qualities, it is also essential to find the right partner and the right business connection. For example, the mentor should be a great listener. That is, keep an open mind while listening to the intrapreneur. A good mentor will ask open-ended questions, in order to keep an active discussion and learn as much as possible about the business project. Not only will the mentor have to support the intrapreneur, but they will also have to offer ongoing encouragement.
As for the intrapreneur, he or she will have to give it their all, at all times, since they will be representing their mentor. Whether in the face of an investor, a supplier, a customer or any other business relationship, the intrapreneur will have to recognize the great value his mentor will have in his introduction.
Step 4. Finally, the intrapreneur will have to find a mentor who shares values similar to his. Indeed, the basis of any business project is the whole purpose and mission of the company. Whether this involves engaging family members in a family business, maximizing shareholders’ equity or implementing a specific innovation strategy, the mentor and intrapreneur must be on the same wavelength in terms of the values and guiding principles that will also guide future business decisions.
Whether it’s accumulating business cards (and potential contacts) at networking events, review your existing relationships on LinkedIn or start a new relationship asking questions over a cup of java- you, the intrapreneur must demonstrate, your initiative right now!