Beltsville, Maryland-based construction company, MAXI-CON2 scored success by having a more seasoned business as its mentor, to offer guidance and support when it was necessary. Convincing a large company to take such a vested interest in your business isnâ€™t easy, says Julie Elliott, president and CEO of MAXI-CON2. â€śA small business has to prove it has the capability to manage and perform the work,â€ť she explains. It also has to differentiate itself from its competitors in the eyes of the potential mentor. Elliott offers some ways to make your business a more attractive mentee.
Amass an all-star staff. Look for people who are standouts in their field. â€śIf you have a project manager who has a phenomenal history, that person becomes part of your businessâ€™s rĂ©sumĂ©.â€ť Elliott says. Tout those employees to the potential mentor just as youâ€™d tout your own accomplishments.
Get references on board. Find former clients and colleagues who would be willing to vouch for your businessâ€™s work. Let them know what youâ€™re trying to do so they can be ready to speak to the potential mentor on your behalf.
Embrace vulnerability. If a larger business is going to mentor your small business, you have to be willing to share your companyâ€™s successes as well as its blemishes. The mentor may be able to help you turn around some of your liabilities.
Strike when times are good. A potential mentor wants to see that your business is well-managed and has a good reputation. â€śIf your company is on shaky ground, thatâ€™s not the time to approach a mentor company,â€ť Elliott adds.