Where to find your best mentor

Editor’s Note: This is the second in a two-part series on mentorship.

A mentor can be the key to your growth as an entrepreneur, but it’s important that you find the right person to develop a successful mentor/mentee relationship, keeping in mind that some of the best of these relationships are informal.

Mentors are teachers and leaders

How to find a mentor

Start by thinking about your business goals and identifying a few leaders who have your dream job. They can be individuals who work in your organization or people in the community you admire. Then, ask them to meet you for a casual lunch or for coffee a few times to see how you connect. Remember, selecting a mentor is a lot like a job interview—you should be qualifying your mentor to be sure that it is a good match for both of you.

Once you have found one or two individuals with whom you feel comfortable, begin to build a relationship with them. Schedule informational interviews with them, shadow them for a few hours to see how they work and interact with others, and intern or cross train with those you can learn the most from.

Whether or not you establish a mentoring relationship, be sure to follow up with everyone who shares their time with you. Reflect on your experience and let them know what you learned from them. Always be grateful and appreciative–this goes a long way!

Where to find a mentor

SCORE: The Buffalo-Niagara chapter offers more than 70 experienced and skilled business mentors for face-to-face, email, and telephone counseling. All counseling is free and confidential. Check out SCORE Mentors in your city.

Executives you know: Although high-profile individuals may have less time to engage in a formal mentor relationship, you can learn a lot without direct one-on-one interaction. Observe how they work, and ask good questions if you get the opportunity. Marcus Anderson, a TedX speaker and author on adversity, says, “The best lesson learned from my mentors was not something they told me, it was what they showed me. Seeing my mentors put in the hours while working with passion and purpose was the greatest lesson I could ever learn.”

College: Your alma mater is an ideal place to network. Contact your alumni services office to connect with fellow alumni, or use a tool like LinkedIn to identify alumni in companies you aspire to work for.

You are likely to have many mentors in your life. As your career changes, your needs change as well, and you will want to find other individuals who can teach you along the way. And, ideally, you will become a mentor for others, as well, paying what you learned forward to help develop the next generation of successful leaders, entrepreneurs, and business owners.

Read more articles on UpstartNY by Michael Spence.

Michael Spence is a speaker, trainer, and business consultant focused on people, performance, and profits. He learned much of what he knows about business and technology by leading a young telecom sales organization to 400% growth and being listed on the Inc 500; everything else he picks up from interviews with business leaders and influencers. Sharing his lessons, Mike trains organizations on managing a multigenerational workforce, soft skills, and sales enablement. https://www.linkedin.com/in/mwspence

To see upcoming posts from CollegeCPR subscribe below, or you can request more information at mspence@collegecpr.com

5 Lessons on Entrepreneurial Mindset I learned during Startup Weekend

The Gig economy and a new way of thinking about work is driving many young people to turn to business ownership as a preference over traditional careers.

Let’s be honest, entrepreneurship isn’t for everyone, it’s really hard work. It takes years of sacrifice and personal development. But it can be a great decision if you have what it takes. It all starts with an entrepreneurial mindset

entrepreneurial mndset training Michael Spence CollegeCPR

Entrepreneurial Mindset for Generation Z, and anyone considering entrepreneurship

The good news for the Z Generation, those graduating high school now, is that it’s never been easier to earn online. Technology has lowered the barrier of entry to almost no experience and a few hundred dollars.  The earlier you get started, the better your likelihood of success.  You will most likely fail, do it now. Learn from it and try again. It is much easier while you live at home and have low expenses.

Before I jump into the 5 lessons on entrepreneurial mindset, I want you to know that it is not as easy as it looks on social media. Lots of fluff out there, people selling you a dream they haven’t accomplished themselves. Be wary of people showing you the houses and cars and talk of 6 figure sales funnel launches. Slow down there.  There is a BIG difference between a “wantrepreneur” and entrepreneur.

entrepreneurial mndset training Michael Spence CollegeCPR

Start-Up Weekend

Where can you spend 54 hours with hundreds of aspiring entrepreneurs, business coaches, and venture capitalists?

Welcome to Buffalo Startup Weekend, an event designed to provide superior experiential education for entrepreneurs. Beginning with Friday night pitches and continuing through brainstorming, business plan development, and basic prototype creation, participants create working startups during the event and are able to collaborate with like-minded individuals outside of their daily networks. All teams hear talks by industry leaders and receive valuable feedback from local entrepreneurs. The weekend is centered on action, innovation, and education.

Here are five entrepreneurial lessons I learned:

Lesson 1: People are your greatest resource, but communication is key.

I’m a student and practitioner of behavioral psychology, so this event was like a social experiment for me. The audience was primarily millennials and multicultural, a diverse group of marketers, engineers, developers, coders, and software engineers. They represented the four distinct personality types, each with their own strengths, weaknesses, and motivations. Some are self-starters who take initiative and execute. Others are task-oriented and prefer a list to work from. Some follow up, others need to be managed. Some are focused, others easily distracted. When you have a team that comprises the full spectrum of these personality types, working together for the first time, communication can be a challenge, because they won’t tell you how they prefer to work. But this diversity can be a benefit, if you have collaboration, communication, organization, delegation, project management, people management, time optimization, emotional intelligence, and leadership skills.

Lesson 2: When planning, research is your friend.

Use market data to prove you know your industry inside out, including key competitors and market opportunity, and reference social proof and market intelligence from people in the field.

You can use analytics tools to extract your competitors’ marketing tactics, tools, costs, and traffic trends in a matter of moments. Tools are your friends, and analytics are awesome, if you know how to search, sort, and filter the results.

Lesson 3: Presentation matters.

Use the 10/20/30 Rule of PowerPoint. It’s quite simple: a pitch should have 10 slides, last no more than 20 minutes, and contain no font smaller than 30 points. Other keys to a powerful presentation:

  • Use a clever intro that speaks to the problem in the form of a question and uses the customers’ language.
  • Keep it simple. Use high-quality graphics and appropriate charts that show trends and peak emotion.
  • Know your audience and engage them from the opening slide.
  • Have a sequential and strategic flow. Explain the customer journey in the form of a story where you answer the most common objections.
  • Use customer voice (testimonials, survey results) to prove market demand and perceived value.
  • Practice your pitch so you have a comfortable pace and smooth delivery.

Lesson 4: Be a student.

The best students are the best teachers. If you document your process and ask for feedback early and often, your growth during the startup process should be rapid, if you are willing to learn and keep an open mind. Be agile, nimble, and ready to pivot. It’s important that you have a strong belief and integrity at your core. There will be countless ideas, opinions, and suggestions coming your way, and you’ll need to know which best align with your vision.

Lesson 5: Community and connections can make all the difference.

The startup and entrepreneurial scene is a small circle. I tell college students to go out and show people how they work, instead of telling them. This same advice goes for entrepreneurs.

Through experiential learning and networking, you meet people you would otherwise never meet. You showcase your vocational and social skills. You become member of a community that may cause you to collide with a future co-founder, employee, contractor, customer, or friend.

 

During Startup Weekend, business coaches, successful entrepreneurs, and venture capitalist are waiting for you to ask questions, so be sure that the questions you ask are open-ended and probing. Actively listen to the answers you receive, take notes, and reflect on what you hear. Engage these experts’ minds, challenge their thoughts, and pull knowledge out of them.

Remember, it’s easy to start a business. It’s much harder to offer a product/service that people will pay for. Learning from lessons like these can help you develop a minimum viable product/service that you can bring to market, acquire customers, and build a team and culture that supports your business goals. Then, you can ride off into the sunset of profitability and prosperity.

It all starts with mindset, an entrepreneurial mindset.

 

To see upcoming posts from CollegeCPR subscribe below, or you can request more information at mspence@collegecpr.com

Read other articles by Michael Spence on UpstartNY.

Michael Spence is a speaker, trainer, and business consultant focused on people, performance, and profits. He learned much of what he knows about business and technology by leading a young telecom sales organization to 400% growth and being listed on the Inc 500; everything else he picks up from interviews with business leaders and influencers. Sharing his lessons, Mike trains organizations on managing a multigenerational workforce, soft skills, and sales enablement. https://www.linkedin.com/in/mwspence

Breaking the mold, for higher ed to survive things must change

Higher ed is facing a major cross roads, the value of an education is severely discounted due to the disconnect between what business need and what education provides.

Colleges and universities need to start operating like a business, or they face down sizing, consolidation and extinction. Breaking the mold, for higher ed to survive things must change

Hard Truths About Higher Ed:

  • Students lack direction
  • Majority of graduates are not prepared for a career
  • Curriculum is outdated or not aligned with job outlooks
  • Many return for a masters degree to figure out and fix everything they failed to do in their first 4-5 years
  • Lots of paper degrees with minimal experience devalue education
  • Graduates are lacking the skills, experience, and connections needed

30 years ago you’d send your kid off to school, maybe they’d join a fraternity or sorority, then they’d come back home and get a real job.

Higher ed should prepare students to get good jobs and it should provide an environment in which they can find themselves socially.

CollegeCPR soft skill training and career coaching

Growing Gap Between What Businesses Need and What Education Provides

The Gap

Generation Z is the generation of students which is now graduating high school and moving into higher ed.

The gap between the millennial generation and the Z generation is as wide as the gap between baby boomers and the Z generation… so how higher education institutions think and operate has to be very different.”

This current generation is walking into a job market that supports a “gig economy” where there are more contract opportunities than ever before.  This generation has an entrepreneurial mindset and a large percentage of incoming students “have started their own business, they don’t want to work for anyone else.”

However, the slow-to-adapt nature of higher education is falling behind the needs of both students and the workforce, and therefore isn’t really helping anyone.

This is why CollegeCPR was founded, to educate higher ed leaders and empower students for professional success by bridging the gap between what businesses need and what education provides.

 

Breaking the Mold

Most universities are like elephants. They’re big, they’re slow, they’re bureaucratic, and they don’t want to change. This will be the death of of many education institutions.

Many traditional higher ed institutions are:

  • Focused on admissions and course registration, and not career goals
  • Inflexible
  • Not focused on student outcomes and placements
  • Paralyzed by process
  • Resistant to change
  • Status quo

Your institution can be different, as an educational leader, be a change agent.

As a student, you have many options. Choose an institution that is different.

Higher ed needs to break the mold and start operating like businesses.

Ways your institution can operate more like a business:

  • Be agile, competitive, innovative and scrappy
  • Be focused on user experience and customer outcomes, your customers being students
  • Embrace technologies and social media to engage your audience and advance learning
  • Partner with employers and industry associations to identify and fill hiring and skill gaps
  • Remove silo’s and tedious decision making process
  • Respond to market demands with products and services that are needed

 

Higher ed needs to be able to map the language of academia to the language of the job market.

There’s already a long tail of credentials that have no value with employers. Higher ed is administered based on the majors a school has available, forcing students to choose a path based on what’s being offered.

If education took an entrepreneurial mindset, they would approach higher education where employers are hurting — there are specific areas where the supply chain is failing them and they can’t get the talent they need. So identify those gaps and you might get a “credential” which is actually valuable to the workforce.

Imagine a flat organization of higher education that moves towards organizing around centers and institutes that immediately respond to the challenges of today, rather than boxing students in by majors.

Higher ed is still a good choice for most. Parents, students, and educational leaders have a greater responsibility to be proactive in making the college experience work.

Breaking the mold, for higher ed to survive things must change

CollegeCPR takes a tactical and practical approach to improve career exploration and planning. Providing a focus on extra curricular activities, service learning, and skill development that prepares students for professional success.

Educators

We train administrators, faculty and staff in coaching skills to help students succeed in college, career and life. We support both K12 and Higher Education institutions in creating a culture of coaching on campus through a variety of training and certification programs

Students (CollegeCPR)

We bridge the gap in career conversation through guided activities focusing on career exploration, personal strengths, and gaining the skills and experience to successful transition from student to professional.

Soft Skill Training for Everyone

Across all industries, employers and industry leaders are identifying soft as critical skills for both employees and job hunters. Yet, these core skills are relatively absent in the traditional education model. We teach this “missing curriculum” to help people become more employable and more effective leaders and contributors.

 

To see upcoming posts from CollegeCPR subscribe below, or you can request more information at mspence@collegecpr.com

One tip to standout on LinkedIn

Do you want to connect? 

Personalize your connection requests. Say something to stand out.

This week, I received 295 invites, 12 had a personal note 

 

Do you want to make a new #connection meaningful?

Talk to me, don’t talk at me. Be #authentic

 

Do you want to do #business with me? Show me how you can add #value. Show me you can solve a problem I’m experiencing.

Don’t just ask for my time. Realize there is a line. Our time is valuable. Start with getting my attention. Then keep it.

 

Do you want me to give you a #referral?

Make an #introduction. Be a #connector. Show me you’re an expert and reliable

 

You can build bridges or you can burn them.

The choice is up to you

Will you put the person before the profit?

The choice is up to you.  What will you do?

Be human. Be authentic. Be real. Be helpful

👇 CHECK OUT THE VIDEO’s BELOW FOR TIPS 👇

 

 

LinkedIn Training That Will Boost Your Brand and Business

LinkedIn is the #1 Social Selling platform

One of the easiest ways to boost your brand and your business is by partnering with an expert that will walk you through the steps of optimizing your profile

  1. Learn to use Linkedin effectively and responsibly with Social Selling Boot camp Training.
  2. Learn how to use Linkedin for business, how to use Linkedin for job search/recruitment and get tips on how to use Linkedin for social selling in this comprehensive online social media training course packed with training videos and tutorials.
  3. Leverage the world’s largest online professional network with more than 200 million members in over 200 countries and territories, 2 million company pages and corporate hiring managers.

What Will You Learn?

  • How to Optimize your Profile
  • Tips and Tricks for Accelerating the Growth of Your Network
  • How to Hide Your Connections
  • How to See Who’s Been Viewing Your Profile
  • Group Networking Best Practices
  • Generate Leads
  • Embed Profile Badges on any Website
  • Embed Share Buttons on any Website
  • Crowdsource Industry News
  • How to Use the Linkedin App
  • Branded B2B Social Networks
  • B2B Social Networking Strategy
  • Managing B2B Social Networks
  • The ROI of B2B Social Networking
  • And much, much more

LinkedIn Training To Boost Your Brand and Business, find HELPFUL tips by visiting this link

Do you wan to boost your brand using LinkedIn, just complete the form below

How prospects find you on LinkedIn…

A while back LinkedIn came out with a new feature that I initially didn’t put much stock into.

It’s called Search Appearances and it was initially positioned as an insights tool for job seekers to see what search keywords other LinkedIn members were using to come across their profile.

But while the original context was for finding a job, this tool is even more powerful for business owners who use LinkedIn for prospecting and lead generation.

Here’s how. Use your “Search Appearances” data to update your profile with additional keywords and business information to improve the serviceability of your LinkedIn profile.

Because the more prospects that see your profile, the more potential sales opportunities you have.

You can find your “Search Appearance” in your dashboard below the header section of your profile. This is my dashboard for 10/31-11/7:

 

As you drill down into your search appearances you see more detail, where searchers work, searcher titles, and keywords searchers used

The first step of any LinkedIn lead gen campaign is optimizing and polishing your profile. Use this information as a good place to start. But keep in mind, optimizing your profile is just the start. From there, it takes proactive effort to get consistent leads and clients.

This article shares Six Reasons to Optimize your LinkedIn Profile

If you’d like to skip all the trial and error, we can optimize your profile, build out your authority platform, map out and execute on your messaging campaigns, and do all of the ongoing, consistent, daily work FOR you…generating an ongoing stream of sales appointments for you or your team every month.

Aside from some initial discovery meetings with your account manager on my team, all you have to do is take the appointments. We can do all the rest.

Or we will teach you to do it yourself.

If this is something you’d like to hear more about, click here to book a planning call with me to put together a customized plan for your business.

If you’re looking at your goals right now…and you know that you need more leads and clients to hit your numbers…

…we should talk.

Unleash your LinkedIn super powers

Invest in yourself with a LinkedIn profile make-over or Social Selling Boot Camp for yourself or your team.

LinkedIn Training That Will Boost Your Brand and Business

LinkedIn is the #1 Social Selling platform

One of the easiest ways to boost your brand and your business is by partnering with an expert that will walk you through the steps of optimizing your profile

  1. Learn to use Linkedin effectively and responsibly with Social Selling Boot camp Training.
  2. Learn how to use Linkedin for business, how to use Linkedin for job search/recruitment and get tips on how to use Linkedin for social selling in this comprehensive online social media training course packed with training videos and tutorials.
  3. Leverage the world’s largest online professional network with more than 200 million members in over 200 countries and territories, 2 million company pages and corporate hiring managers.

What Will You Learn?

  • How to Optimize your Profile
  • Tips and Tricks for Accelerating the Growth of Your Network
  • How to Hide Your Connections
  • How to See Who’s Been Viewing Your Profile
  • Group Networking Best Practices
  • Generate Leads
  • Embed Profile Badges on any Website
  • Embed Share Buttons on any Website
  • Crowdsource Industry News
  • How to Use the Linkedin App
  • Branded B2B Social Networks
  • B2B Social Networking Strategy
  • Managing B2B Social Networks
  • The ROI of B2B Social Networking
  • And much, much more

LinkedIn Training To Boost Your Brand and Business, find HELPFUL tips by visiting this link

Want to discuss your needs, complete the form below