Finding the perfect startup mentor is difficult, but not impossible. Having the right mentor is crucial and is the foundational component for having a successful startup. Mentorship is a valuable resource for your growth as an entrepreneur. But we always get it wrong while looking out for a mentor.
A great mentor that understands the goal you have and considers to help you achieve it is tough to find. Before you begin with finding the right startup mentor who can help you scale your startup endeavour, you need to recognise certain other vital aspects.
Building a new business from scratch involves huge responsibility and mindset. As entrepreneurs we lack the future sight and to avoid it, we require mentorship. One of the significant element is understanding your business proposition, its mission and goals.
It is necessary to keep track of the purpose and objective of the business you’re planning on bringing into existence. A well thought business or startup gives an elaborated idea of who can be the best mentor for you and your startup.
For instance, having a mentor from the same industry vertical and in the specific area of your startup will help you understand the troubles of your business and gives you general guidance to grow the startup.
Mentorship is the world’s biggest cheat sheet for an entrepreneur as a great mentor paves the way for perfection in reaching heights with the startup. Great mentors give you the tried and tested ideas and help you reach your goal faster and with lesser stress.
Key Traits Of A Perfect Startup Mentor
1) Problem Solver
As a startup, you will find yourself lurking in the pool of problems. Unless you find a mentor who is a problem solver, you won’t be able to cope up. A perfect startup mentor needs to be a problem solver and clears the pool of difficulties.
From overcoming the barriers to helping create a better business the mentor should help you understand the various possible pain points of your startup.
2) Strong Networking
A good mentor has put him/herself in your position earlier and has become successful in keeping a strong network with the appropriate people necessary for the startup ecosystem. Having a mentor with good connections in the industry gives you the leverage of operating without hassles.
For instance, investors are likely to make investments in your startup if it is referred to them by their inner circle of network. A brilliant mentor helps you in getting strategic engagements, potential customers and investors, customer trials, etc.
Having a mentor who has been through the same processes of creating a startup and leveraging it to the success, understands all the entrepreneurial activities required.
From validating your startup idea to getting money and steering the company to profits and through difficult times, a mentor with entrepreneurship background helps you in avoiding the barriers that might come and foresee possible options to prevent it.
As a startup mentor, it is essential for him/her to know about the industry vertical your startup belongs. Getting a mentor who gives generic ideas and advice might work out when there are difficulties.
Although, for having a perfect startup mentor, it is advised to have someone who knows the same industry. A mentor from the same vertical helps you in learning the nuances of the business, the different nature of the market and the processes as well as innovation.
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Now that you know what it takes to be a perfect mentor, it is time to give you the ways to find the right startup mentor who can help you scale your business.
7 Ways To Find The Right Startup Mentor
1) Discern your needs
Everyone looks for a mentor to help themselves grow and their startup but often end up on the wrong side when choosing the perfect startup mentor. Before looking out for a mentor, it is essential to learn the needs. Your needs will guide you to the best mentor. It is crucial to know what you require from a mentor. Unless you understand your requirement, finding “the mentor” becomes a difficult work.
Figure out by asking yourself questions based on your requirement. Do you want a mentor to guide you through marketing strategies, or for increasing sales, or do you want him/her to advise you with financial planning for your business?
It becomes easier to find a mentor once you discern the needs you have from him/her.
2) Find someone from the same industry
Most entrepreneurs while searching for startup mentors forget to look for in their industry vertical. It is essential that your mentor belongs to the same industry. Having a mentor from the same industry means he/she knows the business problems, difficulties and challenges while giving you the best possible solutions to avoid or overcome them.
A mentor who has walked the path earlier knows about the potholes that are ahead and guides you through it. He/She encourages you to build a better startup business ecosystem.
Experience in the same business counts a lot for a good startup mentor. With years of experience and practical knowledge, he/she can help you in almost all the possible problems you might face while scaling your business. From making informed decisions to having a better vision of your startup business, a mentor with practical knowledge helps you steal the show from your competitors.
3) Look out for a good listener
Having a mentor with excellent listening skills is like sharing half of your worries and stress. When you find a startup mentor who listens to all your queries and is pinpoints all that is essentials, it helps a lot in the growth of your company.
You need to choose a mentor that not only directs you the right path but also questions your mind at instances, necessary. He/She needs to give you a reality check whenever required.
A startup mentor that listens to your challenges, strengths and ideas and gets you the best advice to scale your business. The best possible way to find a mentor with superior listening skills is by having a meeting with him/her. You can directly get the perspective by the conversation you have.
4) Proven track record in past
A startup mentor helps you further your business goals. Mentors with proven track records in history are more likely to help you out. Having someone inexperienced or theoretical startup mentor won’t visualise your pain points.
Have a glance at your potential mentor’s background and make sure they are well equipped with tactics to help you in dire situations. With proven career records, you can learn whether the potential mentor is fit to advise you or not.
No one wants to fail to win their business. It is imperative to find a mentor with high success rate, who won’t fail you in your quest of success. With proven track record you can be sure of the mentor to help you double your chances of success and will inspire you to do better.
5) Fills the missing skill sets
Well, if you’re looking out for a mentor the best possible thing to look in a mentor is if he/she can fill the skills you lack. Choosing is a startup mentor who’s like you will not help you in learning those missing skills.
It is better to find a mentor who solves the puzzle with his/her skillset. The benefits of it usually are your learnings of new skills, different viewpoint and a better perception to scale high with your startup.
6) Evaluates your ideas
A mentor who agrees to every idea is a mentor you should avoid. A perfect startup mentor who can help you scale high is the one that questions your ideas and plans for your startup. He/She should tell you your idea is futile when it is necessary. If you’re wrong, he needs to say it to you.
You don’t need a mentor with whom you can have baseless conversations. You need someone who helps you grow with the conversations you have with him/her.
7) Should have similar core values
Values maketh man and business! As a startup owner, you need to choose a mentor who has the same core values as yours. It doesn’t work out as a mentor and mentee if there is a difference between core values and goals. It is essential for you to have a mentor who believes in the goals as much as you.
Remember, finding a mentor is difficult unless you apply the methods above. But it can be tricky at times. You may get a handful of unsuitable mentors before you win the perfect startup mentor.
If you want to make your hunt a bit easier, join a coworking community. Apart from offering beautiful and inspiring workspaces for you to co-work, co-create and network from, they also give you access to a wide pool of mentors from different walks of life. Coworking spaces like myHQ also organise frequent mentorship sessions and AMAs with industry experts so that your entrepreneurship and growth sail gets a little smoother. Try myHQ coworking spaces for free here.
If you have any suggestion, don’t forget to add them in the comments below.
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