Starting a new business (or striking out on your own) can be a daunting prospect. Most people diving into entrepreneurship for the first time could use some guidance, advice and answers about what they just plain don’t know when it comes to running a new business. While building a solid team of individuals with specific skills is important to getting your company going on solid footing (and important to potential investors who want to see more than just a person with a dream standing before them), having a great mentor is also vital. A mentor can put their experience and expertise in your corner to help you find the best path to your own success. Plus, it’s always good to have someone “in the know” to talk to! has a list of five tips for finding a mentor; here’s the list so you can get started right away:

1. What do you want from your mentor? A mentor will want to know how best to help you, and that means knowing your reason for asking them for help. Perhaps you need financial management advice, or marketing know-how. Maybe all you need is someone to keep you on track and thinking positive. Whatever your reason for wanting a mentor, be clear about it (to yourself AND to the potential mentor) so that they know what they’re in for.

2. Be ready with your info. A mentor will want to know all the relevant aspects of your business. Tell him or her what you’re trying to do, what your business goals are (short-term and long-term), etc. Paint a clear picture of what your business is and what you want it to be. Then you can start asking your own questions for advice and guidance.

3. Consider having more than one mentor. Just as you don’t know everything about running a business, most mentors won’t have all the answers all the time, either. Talk to multiple people and build a network of experts you can turn to if needed. The person you ask for help with marketing might be a very different person from the person you ask for help with tech issues, and that’s great.

4. No matter what your business is, keep an eye on your cashflow. For a start-up or growing company, keeping the cash flow at a reasonable level is vital for staying afloat. So when you’re choosing a mentor at these stages, try to look for someone who can help you plan for slowdowns, look into credit and make long-term predictions based on current sales. Your company will sink if the cashflow fails, so be sure to get the advice and guidance you need to prevent that!

5. Stick to experts in your industry. You wouldn’t ask someone with a pharmaceutical background to help you with the details of launching a chocolate shop. Find mentors who are specific to your field. That way, when industry-specific questions come up, your mentor will be of the most help to you.