How to find the perfect mentor

Finding the perfect mentor could be the only thing standing between you and a successful career. Yet most people don't bother trying to engage with mentors at all.

Don't take my word for it though: here's a few people who know what they are talking about on the virtues of mentorship...

Richard Branson has long advocated mentorship as a tool for developing entrepreneurs. He wrote on his blog recently: "Whenever I am asked what is the missing link between a promising businessperson and a successful one, mentoring comes to mind. Giving people advice on how they can best achieve their goals is something that is often overlooked."

Discussing his own mentorship, the Virgin Founder pointed out Sir Freddie Laker, who he credits as a major reason for the ongoing success of Virgin Atlantic. "If you ask any successful businessperson, they will always have had a great mentor at some point along the road," he added.

The first step to success in finding a great mentor is admitting you need one - not always an easy step for entrepreneurs used to making it on their own and working alone. Branson commented on the need to convince potential mentors who they should help you.

"If you want success then it takes hard work, hard work and more hard work. But it also takes a little help along the way. If you are determined and enthusiastic then people will support you."

Over on entrepreneur.com, Phil Drolet advocated the need for pre-planning to target a dream mentor. He said: "An ideal mentor for you will have achieved what you want to achieve and be someone you could see yourself going out for a drink with."

He also underlined the necessity to be forward, following up on initial conversations and showing enthusiasm for your mentorship. Send well-crafted emails, make calls and follow up thoroughly on advice. Don't expect a mentor to do all the work - if they are a suitable mentor then they will likely be extremely busy themselves.

Finally, think about how you would go about mentoring once you are a successful entrepreneur yourself (because it's going to happen, we believe in you!) Discuss what you would do with your potential mentor - it may seem a bit presumptuous, but shows ambition and will give your mentor direction on what you want to achieve from the relationship.

What do you think are the best ways to find a perfect mentor? Let us know on Twitter @virgin.

Image fromgettyimages

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