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According to Gerlinde Herrmann, CEO and president of the Herrmann Group and former chair of the board of directors for the Human Resources Professional Association of Ontario (HRPAO), the increasing complexity of the business environment is fuelling the need for mentors.

"There's so much that an entrepreneur needs to know to be to be able to run a business whether it's technology or tax laws or investments. You have to set up a marketing plan and be fairly sophisticated right out of the gate."

Her suggestions for finding a mentor include:

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If you want someone really dedicated to you, you should be willing to pay for the service either by financial compensation or by volunteering your services in some other way.

A good starting point is any professional or business association you might be a member of.

Online 'hook-ups' such as LinkedIn which can help you search out mentoring and discussion groups. Ms. Herrmann compares this to online dating with the Internet dialogue with a potential mentor perhaps leading to a real life meeting for coffee and further discussion.

As part of due diligence, references should be checked but most important to finding the right mentor is finding someone you feel comfortable with and trust. "You won't really divulge what the big issues facing your business are unless you feel personally comfortable," says Ms. Herrmann. "This is even more important than in other relationships."

Special to The Globe and Mail

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