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

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

4 keys to choosing the right mentor

How a mentor can help you navigate the career landscape.

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

You’ve heard about the power of mentors, but honing in and landing the right one can be difficult. While some programs, like University at Buffalo’s Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership, provide help in connecting mentors to mentees, they typically match people based on industry and skills.

Although there are tactical benefits to this approach, it overlooks what might be the most important factor in a mentoring relationship– the chemistry between mentor and mentee.

The best mentors:

1. Put the relationship first.

For real mentorship to succeed, there needs to be a baseline chemistry. Studies show that even the best-designed mentoring programs are no substitute for a genuine, interpersonal relationship between mentor and mentee.

Mentoring requires rapport. At best, it propels people to break from their formal roles and titles (boss versus employee) and find common ground as people.

Pat Whalen, director of Niagara Global Tourism Insititute, said “Chemistry is important, and it doesn’t happen with just anyone. What my mentors had in common was that they cared about me. They saw something in me others didn’t.”

When the relationship is the foundation, both parties will invest more in helping one another to be accountable and to make one another proud. All of which drastically improves the final outcome.

2. Focus on character rather than competency.

The best leaders go beyond competency and skills, focusing instead on helping to shape other people’s character, values, self-awareness, empathy, and capacity for respect. They know that, in the long run, these soft skills are the basis of leadership and lead to success, and that mastering others is strength, but mastering yourself is true power.

3. Are optimistic, but will challenge you.

Mentors should help you consider both why an idea might work as well as why it might not. They should challenge your way of thinking and ask you the hard questions, but then help you sort through different ways of attacking the challenge.

Matt Pelkey, partner at Colligan Law, shared this, “My best mentors have always pushed me outside my comfort zone. They challenged me to take risks in my career and to be the best version of myself.”

4. Seek first to understand, then to help.

The best mentors recognize that the best way to inspire others is to be fully and selflessly committed to the best interests of their colleagues and employees. They don’t seek only to uncover their mentees’ strengths; they also look for their underlying passions to help them find their calling.

At its highest level, mentorship is about being “good people” and having the right “good people” around us — individuals committed to helping us become fuller versions of who we are.

Mentors are teachers and leaders

Original post in Upstart NY

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.

Contact us for a free consultation to discuss your training needs and how we can help

 

Ten Insightful Quotes (and Great Leadership Lessons) From Seth Godin

Why bother searching through the usual list of famous quotes when one man, Seth Godin, shares plenty of insight on business, marketing, and leadership.

 

A Buffalo success story, Seth Godin is a renowned author, master marketer, and a thought leader. Seth’s family are Buffalonians vested in the community.  Seth’s heartfelt introductions from his sister, the Buffalo Jewish Federation, and the proud director of the Albright-Knox art museum made this event very personal. The Godin family was praised for their contributions, support, and endowment in memory of their mother.  As I l watched Seth from across the room, his smile and face eluded a true sense of gratefulness.

  • A sold-out event of 350 community leaders joined together
  • A small enough venue for direct eye contact and quality networking with anyone in the room
  • The slide deck paired with Seth’s artsy, practical and fresh perspective had an audience of all ages sitting attentively, engaging often, and laughing more than expected

If you are reading this, you are probably like me, a fan of Seth. I have read and applied teaching from many of his books, including: Permission Marketing, Tribe, Purple Cow, The Dip, Linchpin, and Small is the New Big.

My personal draw to Seth is his thought leadership and our shared passion for challenging the status quo.  In everything I do, I believe in challenging the status quo. I have failed more times than I care to admit. But I have felt gratification, and tasted the fruits of my labor when I execute a project against the odds. Boy does that feel good. It’s that feeling that keeps me coming back to entrepreneurship time and time again.

In my latest project, CollegeCPR, I challenge the education system and offer a better way for families and young professionals to approach career planning. At times I receive opposition, but most times my story resonates and receives burning support from those who recognize or have experienced the challenges faced by today’s college graduate.  Despite any challenges, CollegeCPR recognizes the problem is real and we are committed to impacting change. The below excerpts from Seth’s book, “What to do when it’s your turn” apply to our approach.

“THE AMERICAN PEOPLE ARE SUCKERS.” 

“Many powerful organizations fear a truth teller. They work hard to avoid being confronted by an individual who sees the world as it is and by a person who cares enough to change things.”

While developing CollegeCPR, I became a student of social media and digital marketing in order to grow my business. I looked to experts like Seth as a teacher, studying his work. Since that time, I have developed a team that is constantly running tests and tweaking strategy based on customer feedback.  Our recent focus is the science of marketing – social psychology and why do people take action. One key to creating content that converts is audience engagement.  Our strategy is founded from advice of Kevin Kelly and Tim Ferris when they talk about 1000 True Fans.

Below are 10 of our favorite quotes from Seth on Business, PR and Marketing, Fear, Coaching, and Presenting.

Business

“Selling to people who actually want to hear from you is more effective than interrupting strangers who don’t.”

“There’s no shortage of remarkable ideas, what’s missing is the will to execute them.”

“Don’t find customers for your products, find products for your customers.”

 

PR and Marketing

“People do not buy goods and services. They buy relations, stories and magic.”

“In a crowded marketplace, fitting in is a failure. In a busy marketplace, not standing out is the same as being invisible.” 

Seth Godin 

 

 

 

 

Fear

 “If failure is not an option, then neither is success.”

“The best the timid can hope for is to be unnoticed. Criticism comes to those who stand out.”

Coaching

“The problem with working with a coach isn’t that we don’t know what to do. The real problem is that we don’t want to change our mind.”

Presenting

“You can spend your time on stage pleasing the heckler in the back, or you can devote it to the audience that came to hear you perform.”

KEYNOTE AUDIENCE

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bonus Quote from Stop Stealing Dreams #manifesto

“The good jobs of the future aren’t going to involve working for giant companies on an assembly line. They all require individuals willing to chart their own path, whether or not they work for someone else.”

“Large scale education was not developed to motivate kids or to create scholars. It was invented to churn out adults who worked well within the system.”

 

Learn to incorporate these quotes into your thought process and you will unleash your true potential beyond what you thought was possible.

What is your favorite Seth quote? 

 

Do you want to learn the career activities that your college and university don’t want you to know.

Do you want to learn the skills that employers wish they taught you in college?

 

To engage with Mike Spence:coaching performance results. Who is Mike Spence?

Follow Mike on LinkedIn

Find CollegeCPR on Facebook

Email: mspence@collegecpr.com

 

 

 

4 Reasons to Optimize your LinkedIn Profile

REASONS WHY YOU SHOULD BE ON LINKEDIN AND YOU SHOULD OPTIMIZE YOUR PROFILE

  • “Linked In is not a platform to forget about it. Microsoft purchased for 26 billion dollars so they won’t let it slide away”
  • “It’s the go-to platform for professionals, particularly in B2B space.”
  • “Pay attention to your personal brand on social networks. Current or future customers might checking you out on LinkedIn and probably all networks.”
  • “It’s a great way for you to create personal leverage for yourself from a professional standpoint.”

In January 2017, LinkedIn the platform for professionals just had its biggest desktop makeover. The new design now features seven core areas, home, which is your feed, messaging, jobs, notifications, me, my network and search. Below is the new page layout.

It’s important that you leverage the content “above the fold.” The most valuable real estate on your page is your headline and opening summary statement.

EXERCISES TO HELP YOU CREATE YOUR PERSONAL BRAND:

  • Get your Elevator Pitch – what makes you interesting and different (iTunes has a new show called Return of the Apps where it’s like Shark Tank but for Apps – they call it an Escalator Pitch).
  • Elaborate in detail – Who you are, what you do, who you do it for, and what they’re going to get out of it. But keep it to 3-7 sentences.
  • Brainstorm on key words for yourself – what search terms would people use trying to find you (i.e. names, skills, products, services, or even industry jargon)?

TIPS FOR LINKEDIN PROFILE SECTIONS:

  • NAME: Use your real name, save the cool trendy fun for other platforms
  • URL: Reserve your vanity URL on LinkedIn – should be same as your real, full name if possible
  • PHOTO: Ditch the photo from college and get a professional headshot
  • HEADER IMAGE – Use an image that illustrates what you do, with something that pulls through your brand or illustrates your skills

HEADLINE:

  • Your professional headline is the line that comes up next to your name when someone searches so you can go deeper than just your job title.
  • Try to incorporate the keywords you came up with in the earlier brainstorming – take advantage of your space.
  • This is where you have to stand out with a condensed version of your elevator pitch

SUMMARY:

  • This is the place where you can take a deeper dive into who you are, what you do and who you help.
  • Start with the paragraph you created earlier in the exercises – incorporate your key words here
  • Speak to who you’re trying to connect with
  • Be sure to break this up! No one wants to read multiple long paragraphs. Use bullet points and white space so they can easily pull out the key takeaways.

EXPERIENCE:

  • Elaborate on your experience
  • Put former employers
  • Highlight achievement
  • List services
  • Personal differentiators
  • Add media like presentations or created content – visuals are great for social media (you can also put under your summary section)
  • The media can be documents, presentations, videos, photos – be sure to use pdfs rather than Word documents
  • Schooling – go deeper here into achievements, awards, etc.
  • Even if you got a degree into what you do today, that’s okay because that is part of your story and it can also be a connecting point into who you are

FEATURED SKILLS & ENDORSEMENTS

  • This is your opportunity to show your credibility and thought leadership in your space
  • You get 50 skills – use this wisely – you want to be relevant skills to what you do
  • Don’t just write “Microsoft Word” as a top skill since that won’t separate you from others
  • This is like SEO for your personal brand
  • Pay attention to the Top 10

ADDITIONAL ITEMS:

  • This area is more for freelance and contract work
  • List your publications, i.e. guest blogging gigs, or featured articles, but you don’t need to feature every single post), especially if they have gone viral or are more evergreen and relevant
  • List and Organizations & Volunteer work –

Suggestions To Make Your Profile Better:

LinkedIn isn’t forgetting its core service with its new update. The site will now offer suggestions to make your profile stand out based on what recruiters are searching for. LinkedIn will suggest what skills you should add, as well a summary created by LinkedIn based on your experience.

Contact Mike Spence for help optimizing your LinkedIn page, crafting a brand story, and growing your business using social media: