Some entrepreneurs may make it look easy to talk your way into the good graces of a great role modelwho will help you grow your business, but it isn't always easy to find that one special person. In fact, suggestsKathy Kram, an associate professor of organizational behavior at Boston University School of Management, puttingall your mentor eggs in one basket can be a mistake. "I think people really ought to think in terms of multiplementors instead of just one," concludes Kram, the author of Mentoring at Work. And they don't all have to begrizzled business veterans. "Peers can be an excellent source of mentorship," she says.

Once you've identified a mentor candidate, how do you persuade him or her to sign on to your cause? Would-bementors are most receptive to people who ask good questions, listen well to the responses, and demonstrate thatthey are hungry for advice and counsel, Kram says.

In the best of all worlds, it's not just the proté gé who benefits from the relationship. The mentor, as well, shouldsee the opportunity as one for personal growth. "In today's context, mentors learn new skills and competencythemselves," observes Kram. "It's a chance to revitalize their own learning." --Karen Dillon