If you own your own business you are probably constantly on the look out for new relationships that will benefit your business. It can be difficult to establish and keep these relationships. So I found some tips to help you out:
1. Take initiative
There’s someone you’d love to have in your corner, but you’re not sure how to make that happen. Do you place yourself somewhere where they make the first move? Don’t be afraid to make it yourself. If you’ve already met the person at an event or through another contact, invite her to coffee. If you haven’t, still — invite her to coffee. Emphasize what you’d like to learn and ask your would-be mentor to meet so you can hear her story. People love to talk about themselves. And they all have to eat.
2. Come prepared
Everyone likes a good conversation, but no one wants to feel like they’re wasting their time. When you’ve set a meeting with a potential mentor, be ready. If it’s a coffee meeting, look him up, know where you want to look for intersections and advice and prepare objectives for the discussion you can stick to. “I’ve gone as far as to send questions ahead of time. If it’s your first interaction, make sure it doesn’t have to be the last. Can you connect on LinkedIn? Can you send him an email? Can you pass along something interesting you talked about? Don’t let the interaction end without exchanging contact info, and ideally, making an ask.
3. Look for chemistry
Mentor networks connect young professionals to senior advisors by career path or interest. But in the end, good mentor-mentee relationships can’t be calculated. It’s like friendship. If a sense of camaraderie develops, you’ll feel it click. From there, candor can build. Machala’s best mentors let her talk about anything. They made it safe.
4. Give back
How does a conversation become a relationship? With regular contact and an exchange of knowledge. Don’t feel you have anything worthwhile to share with your mentor? That’s nonsense. There’s always something to make it a win-win. Somewhere in the course of your conversations your would-be mentor shared an interest or a question about something she’s curious about. Know a book that informs the topic? Read an interesting article or heard of a group that discusses it? Send it along.