It’s no secret we are passionate about mentoring around here. God created us to be better together, and we love the spirit of abundance when people are willing to teach from what they’ve learned and experienced to help others.

So if your business or ministry is at a point where you need to learn more in a certain area and you’re considering hiring a business mentor, congratulations! That’s a really exciting step.

But if it’s not the right mentor, that relationship could end up being more of a burden than a blessing. So to help you in your process, here are the top three factors I’ve found most helpful in selecting the best business mentors:

What are their values/priorities?

Bottom line: The best business mentors won’t just make your business better; they’ll make the scope of your life better.

Because of this, your values and priorities should look very similar to that of your business mentor. Since all of my businesses center around ministry, it’s critical for me to have someone who is publicly unapologetic about their faith in Christ. I also need someone who understands that if I have to choose between family and business, I will choose my family every time.

These two values alone make business mentors much harder to come by, but they’re out there, they’re worth it, and I’m grateful for them.

Even if this seems to be the least “business-related” of the three factors, it’s the most critical. No matter what success they’ve had or promised you if you work with them, fewer things are worse than being put in a situation where you feel pressured to change who you are to get ahead.

What is their personal track record?

Forget the line from The Wedding Planner: “Those who can’t wed, plan.” It’s not even a little bit true for business!

If the person you’re considering as a business mentor does not operate a successful business themselves, run the other way as fast as you can. (Unless they’re retired, of course.)

Thanks to fancy Facebook ads and easy website building, it’s much more simple to appear successful these days than may be true in reality. Anyone can snap a pretty picture in front of a laptop at a coffee shop and claim to be a business mentor.

If their own success story in business is hard to find, there’s only one reason: they don’t have one.

There’s a lot about business you can’t learn from books, but you have to learn in the trenches. If you’re going to invest money in a mentor, you want one that can speak from both head knowledge and personal experience.

What success have they helped others have?

Some success is hard to duplicate. For example, think of your favorite comedian. Wouldn’t it be so awesome if they could teach you to do what they do? While they may be able to teach you some basic principles of comedic timing, vocal warm-ups and playing to the camera, it’s not going to do you much good unless you’re naturally funny and animated. Being a stand-up comedian is not duplicatable without some raw talent.

A business mentor shouldn’t just have a “quirky genius” aspect that has worked for them personally. They should be able to point you to others who have succeeded for themselves because of their mentorship. Most reputable business mentors will have a file of testimonials either easily accessible on their website or available by request. This question shouldn’t catch a quality business mentor off guard.

So if you’re looking to make the best investment that’s going to have continual payoffs, make sure your business mentor passes all three of these guidelines. We’re praying you’ll find one that puts Proverbs 27:17 into action for your life.