Guide to better mentoring and advising sessions

Like the start most relationships, connecting with a mentor is not something that happens overnight. To find a good mentor or advisor, you’ll first need to get to know each other (at least a little) and then, if it’s a good fit, you can lock it down and determine the relationship. So, before you get ahead of yourself and come on too strong, we recommend you set up an “Intro Meeting.”

What’s an Intro Meeting?

In our book, an Intro Meeting is:

  1. Low-stakes: It is a low-commitment way for you and a potential supporter to get to know each other.

  2. Short: It should lasts 30 minutes or less and can be conducted via phone, video chat, or face-to-face.

  3. Great practice: It gives you a chance to briefly and clearly explain your business idea to a new person.

  4. Open-ended and Face-saving: You should allow the other person a chance to think about the meeting before committing to anything further. You may waste valuable time if either party feels social pressure to continue with a bad fit. Better to keep looking until you find the right fit for you and your business!

  5. Always followed by an email: If you want to keep meeting with this person, send a follow-up to request a specific number of mentoring or advising sessions and then work together to set expectations for how often and how long you will meet. Even if it’s not the right fit for you right now, you should always send a thank you email. You never know when you might need their help down the road—plus, it’s the right thing to do!

So, now that you know what it is and how it can help you snag a great mentor or advisor, sign in and click on “Explore Community” to find a volunteer you want to connect with. If you find someone who seems like they could help you build your business, send them a message! (Just don’t send more than you can keep up with. Ghosting will not win you any points in life or in our community!)

Sample Message:

A sample message sent from an entrepreneur to a volunteer mentor or business advisor on

Preparing for an Intro Meeting

Now that you’ve booked your first Intro Meeting, what are you going to do to prepare? Oh, did you think that just because it’s short and “low-stakes,” you could just show up an wing it? Sure, you could do that, but if you are trying to win over supporters (which you should be!) you’re going to want to bring your A game and make a lasting first impression (in a good way).

So, here are a few things to think about before your meeting:

  1. Introducing yourself - Be prepared to share a brief background. Where are you from? What are you passionate about? And what about your personal history has made you who you are today?

  2. Introducing your business - Be clear about why you are building this business and what success looks like for your business? If you don’t have solid answers for this, check out our Launch4 Guide.

  3. Review of our program’s Community Guidelines - Be familiar with these so you don’t unintentionally break any of them. If any are particularly important to you (like, confidentiality, for instance), the Intro Meeting may be a good time to mention that.

  4. Identify the type of support your are looking for - What was the request for support you made on Is that still your most urgent need? If not, consider updating your profile and be clear about this in your meeting. Similarly, you’ll want to think about whether you need short-term help with a specific issue or more general, long-term mentoring. You might also be open to both! Find out if they are too.

You don’t need to follow this list step-by-step in your meeting. You should make room for organic, authentic conversation and connections. But having these answers readily available and making sure you hit on the main points, should help you walk away from a short meeting with the information you need to take the next step.

Speaking of next steps…

Check out our guide to creating your follow-up email!