Most startup entrepreneurs tend to focus their efforts on product development and fundraising. Unfortunately, their lack of experience and knowledge becomes a major roadblock to their success in the fast growing startup ecosystem.
A valuable mentorship can bridge this gap. A mentor can become your guiding light in your entrepreneurial journey and propel your venture in the right direction.
Some of the most famous founders credit their success to mentors. Mark Zuckerberg's mentor was none other than Steve Jobs. Bill Gates found his mentorship in Warren Buffet. Richard Branson had Sir Freddie Laker as his mentor.
Seeking help from a mentor doesn’t reflect your inability as an entrepreneur. Rather, it is business wisdom that will reap results in the long run. Let us elaborate.
Reasons Mentorship is Valuable in the Fast Growing Startup World
Mentors can have a positive influence on you and your startup in several ways:
Act as a Strong Pillar of Support
Mentors are your go-to people whenever you need to bounce off your business ideas or need advice to fix your problem. They will bring their acumen, expertise and experience to help you make informed and smart business decisions.
You can trust them to give you the right advice and valuable insights when needed. They are your anchor during the rough waters of entrepreneurship. They can become your inspiration, motivation and emotional support.
Prevent You from Making Mistakes
You are vulnerable to making several startup mistakes, especially as a first-time entrepreneur. You may not conduct enough market research. You may spend money on the wrong things. You may not hire a team at the right time. You may not have written a startup business plan.
Such mistakes can prove fatal and shut down your business before it takes off the ground. Mentors can help you flag these mistakes or nip them in the bud.
Give Candid Feedback
Mentors don’t just do and tell only the nice stuff. They won’t hesitate to show you the mirror which you didn’t know you needed. They will be straightforward and tell you the truth as it is. Their critical feedback can pinch you, but it will allow you to reflect upon many things as an entrepreneur. They will also challenge your ideas, decisions and perspectives.
Their feedback also comes in handy when you lose sight of your vision and passion or start questioning your potential.
Bring Network Connections
When you need access to investors, top talent, suppliers, collaborators or other business resources, mentorship comes to your rescue. Mentors can facilitate networking by introducing you to their industry connections. You can tap into their connections to establish your foothold in the fast growing startup world. They will also give you helpful networking tips if you are an introverted entrepreneur.
Mentors will also create a buzz about your startup in their professional and social circles. They can give visibility to your startup.
Build Your Character
Mentorship is not just about building your entrepreneurial skill set but also about moulding your character.
Anthony Tjan, CEO, managing partner and founder of the venture capital firm Cue Ball, highlights this point in his article ‘What the Best Mentors Do’ published in Harvard Business Review. He writes that mentors should focus on character rather than competency in their mentees. They should help people shape their character, values, empathy, self-awareness and capacity for respect.
So, mentors can keep you humble and grounded, which is crucial to success as an entrepreneur.
Finding the Right Mentor
A mentor can be a serial entrepreneur, industry expert, investor or business coach. You have to decide the type of mentor that would serve your purpose based on your business goals and needs.
You can find a mentor who is an all-rounder and can be your single contact point for all issues. Alternatively, you can look for a mentor with expertise in a specific domain, such as technology, leadership, networking, fundraising or business strategy.
You may need different mentors at different stages of your startup growth.
Mentorship can go a long way to boost your venture’s chances of success in the fast growing startup industry. You can expect substantial time, money and effort savings with mentorship.
Having said this, your mentors must be a perfect match for your startup. Their personality, experience and skills should match your passion and vision. There should be mutual trust and respect for each other. There should be healthy chemistry and camaraderie between you and your mentor.
Scalix, a platform dedicated to startups, can be instrumental in helping you find the right mentors who can validate your ideas and offer personalised advice on your growth strategy.
We also offer resources, programs and products to nurture and prepare startups for sustainable and long-term growth. Join our Early Founder Programme to know more.