I have an idea related to healthcare communications and am trying to find mentors/advisors who would be willing to guide my partner and I towards success. I live in Silicon Valley.
I was wondering where other struggling entrepreneurs have seeked help from (besides the internet). I feel a lot more comfortable pitching the idea to someone and getting feedback face to face.
Thanks a lot!
Network, Network, Network.
If you're not on it yet, create a LinkedIn profile ASAP. Use LinkedIn to keep track of connections you are picking up, and find hidden connections within your personal network. It will help you get introductions to advisers, investors, and employees.
Second, get out there. If you're in SV, you can't throw a stone without hitting another investor, or entrepreneur, so get out there, and start introducing yourself to people. This is a great way to practice your elevator pitch as well.
Third, start going to events. See if you can't find some in your specific industry, but if you can't don't worry. Start networking with other entrepreneurs, it doesn't matter if they are in your industry as not, they might know people that are. Spread out your social network like roots on a tree, and you are bounce to pick up some beneficial connections.
Another great thing to do is to go to conferences, and trade shows. These are great for picking up industry specific connections that can be helpful to you. Hanging around a university department can also get you a foot in the door with someone that has industry experience.
Since you live in Silicon Valley, you should be hitting the startup-oriented gatherings. A good place to start would be meetup.com. Enter your zipcode and search for "startup." Go to all that you can. More than a few will suck, but within these you will find people who have access to larger, more exclusive gatherings where the mentors spend their time.
In short, as bwasson said: network, network, network. What most people don't mention is that most of your network will be useless, only serving to get you to the next connection. (I have made numerous good connections where the only connection was we both knew awful connections.) The key to success is not treating your connections as such.