By: Katarina Kovacevic

A proper mentor can help take your business from good to great, but the outcome of this working relationship depends 100 percent on its foundation. Before you reach out to a potential mentor, here are three really important questions to ask in order to set yourself up for success.

How Much Work Am I Ready To Put In?

A mentor is not someone who will make all of your decisions or do all the hard work for you. A mentor is there to help guide you through the ups and downs of business, but, ultimately, results depend on how much effort you’re willing to put in. Maximize this beneficial relationship by coming to every meeting or phone call prepared with questions, issues you want to troubleshoot and ready to discuss any other pressing matters that you’re dealing with. Take the reigns, but remain open to their wisdom and expertise. Not only is this respectful of the person’s time, it also shows that you value this opportunity and are taking it seriously.

What Is My Plan Or Ultimate Goal?

For a truly rewarding mentorship experience, you need to have a clear perspective on what exactly you want to get out of this relationship. Yes, it’s nice to just have a mentor “there,” but you’ll see better results in your work and career if you get specific about what you’re looking for guidance on. For example, do you need someone to help you through writing your business plan? Do you want a mentor who will help level-up your sales and marketing? Or, maybe, you’re looking for someone to help take your business to the next level? Having a plan in place helps you ask the right questions and get the best outcome.

Where Do I Find The Right Mentor For Me?

You may already have a specific person in mind, but if not, there are plenty of avenues for you to find a mentor. First, consider your existing network. Is there a person whose work you’ve been long admiring or engaging with? If you work within a larger company, does it provide a mentorship program? In general, Fairygodboss recommends identifying 3 or 4 people who are about 2 or 3 steps ahead of where you are career-wise. They should represent a place you want “to go” or a level you aspire to reaching. A word to the wise: It’s almost never a good idea to ask a complete stranger to be your mentor. Instead, find ways to connect and build an organic professional relationship. Once you’ve established at least some rapport, then you can come out with “the ask.”

Have you worked with a mentor? What’s the biggest benefit to result from the relationship?

Katarina Kovacevic is the owner of Redefined Communications, a company offering blogging and ghostwriting services for women in leadership, and female-focused and purpose-driven businesses. She’s also the founder and editor of RUBY Media, a digital media company that promotes female camaraderie, supports sisterhood and inspires women to make a difference in the world. You can connect with Katarina on Instagram or LinkedIn, or with RUBY on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter.