Having a mentor is great -- as long as you have the time to find them, meet them and listen to what they have to say. For a lot of small business owners, that may sound like more time than they have to give.
This is where social media can help. Salesforce has published Winning At Work: Success Secrets From 20 Top Influencers, which profiles a wide range of experts in sales, marketing and a host of other areas. Each one is listed with their Twitter handle, which makes it easy to build upon the advice they share in the book by continuing to receive their insights online.
For a little icing on the cake, what follows are five more top influencers who are living and working here in Canada. Add these to your Twitter stream to get a distinctly Canadian point of view on what running a small business really takes:
1. Rick Spence: The former editor of Profit magazine, Spence has built a career out of writing and speaking about entrepreneurship and helping build SMBs into revenue-generating powerhouses. Besides an ongoing column in the National Post, he also publishes regularly on LinkedIn. Check out his thoughtful ideas about hiring, creating an effective business plan and more. @rickspence
2. Sarah Prevette: First she co-founded Sprouter, a pioneering online community that helped connect small businesses with helpful advisors, which was later acquired. Next, she gave Canada the closest thing to TechCrunch with BetaKit, an online magazine about tech startups. Now she’s a managing director at BrandProject, a venture capital firm investing in tomorrow’s small business success stories. @SarahPrevette
3. Jeremy O’Krafka: The Seneca College professor struggled to find a mentor, and eventually realized the Internet was a great way to discover the expertise he needed. He’s since taken that concept and ran with it to become the founder of MENTORnetworkCA, an organization that organizes events and programs to foster a culture of coaching others across the country. @jeremyokrafka
4. Andrew Patricio: The CEO of BizLauch regularly conducts Webinars and events on search engine optimization, email marketing and other areas that bedevil small business owners. He knows his stuff, having started seven businesses of his own and having written two books, including Up and Running: A Guide To Running Your Own Small Business. His YouTube channel, BizlaunchTV, is worth watching too. @andrewpatricio
5. Victoria Lennox: She’s living proof that some Millennials are born leaders. As the co-founder of Startup Canada, she is creating both an industry association and a national movement to get more companies off the ground. Not surprisingly, she’s also become a policy advisor to the public sector. If the government thinks she’s worth listening to about entrepreneurship, shouldn’t you? @vlennox
Of course, tweeting questions or sending them through LinkedIn can be intimidating if you don’t know what to ask. Winning At Work: Secrets of 20 Top Influencers can help you out with that. It’s filled with ideas for conversation-starters such as “Where do you find inspiration?” and “How do you maintain work-life balance?”
Your next assignment? Download the book, hear what the experts have to say, then reach out to them and people listed above to start building your own circle of trusted advisors.