Even despite a brilliant idea, the beginnings of a startup can be sometimes difficult. It might seem that when starting a business, it is inevitable to use a trial and error method to eventually choose the best path for development. But what if it becomes possible to minimize bad decisions and focus on real profits? What are startup mentors, and why do you need one? Read our article and learn more about the concept.
Startup mentors – table of contents:
- What is the role of a mentor?
- Qualities of a good mentor
- How to find a mentor?
- Startup mentors – summary
What is the role of a mentor?
There are many definitions of a mentor in the business world. However, in a broad sense, such a person can be defined as an experienced entrepreneur who chooses to work with less experienced ones to pass on key knowledge. Such a relationship is often compared to the interaction between a student and a master in a particular field.
The primary task of a mentor is to support and provide guidance to help achieve the set goals. Based on their own experience, such a person knows what to pay attention to in the various phases of startup development. At the same time, taking into account their own bad experiences, the mentor is able to warn startup founders of the potential consequences of certain decisions.
The role of a mentor is most often performed by a specialist in a specific field with highly developed social and interpersonal skills. Such a person, apart from having a broad experience and knowledge, must be able to convey it in an accessible way to less experienced entrepreneurs.
Thus, the mentor becomes a kind of guide leading the startup along the best paths of development. The mentor is not just a teacher, but an authority helping to find the best solutions, while providing expert advice and business support.
Qualities of a good mentor
The success of mentoring greatly depends on the right choice of the mentor. When deciding on such a solution, you should carefully analyze the nature of your own startup, its structure and the stage you are currently at. There is no doubt that a mentor should have extensive experience and knowledge, but cooperation with the biggest business sharks can sometimes do more harm than good.
The nature of work in a startup changes as it grows. Therefore, in the early stages of development, advice from the most prominent businessmen will not bring the expected results. Moreover, the very vision of supporting such a small business may simply seem boring to such a mentor, making them insufficiently committed to their work.
Therefore, when choosing a mentor, it is important to pay attention not only to their area of expertise or achievements. An equally important aspect is to analyze your own current market position in order to reach out to businessmen who have been in a similar place quite recently. This way, you will receive the guidance that will actually come in handy.
How to find a mentor?
There is no single way to reach a mentor who will really help grow your business. One solution is mentoring through accelerator programs, but keep in mind that not every suggested candidate will be the right choice.
It is necessary to verify whether a given mentor has the right experience and qualifications. It is also helpful to meet with such a person. An open conversation about expectations and experience will let you precisely define the terms of cooperation and make sure that this is the person you are looking for. This is also an excellent time to set the main goals you want to achieve in the near future.
When looking for a mentor, you can also use your own network of contacts. Once you identify the areas you want to work on, create a schedule of meetings with the mentor and develop a method for measuring the effectiveness of introducing such a solution.
Mentoring most often takes the form of consultations, during which the mentor conveys their knowledge, tips and motivates you to work hard. However, such cooperation is not only beneficial for budding entrepreneurs. By spending time with creative, ambitious minds, startup mentors gain a fresher perspective on business, which can become a valuable inspiration for them as well. Even despite their limited knowledge, young businessmen also have a lot to say, and draw the mentor’s attention to areas that they would not have even thought of before.
Startup mentors – summary
Startups are often fragile and vulnerable to failure because they lack experience and resources. Startup mentors provide the necessary guidance, support, and advice to make sure that the startup will be successful in the long run. They also help new entrepreneurs develop better business plans, marketing strategies, or financial forecasts for their startups.
You’ve just learned what startup mentors are. Read also: 7 startup roles explained.