Entrepreneurs having big visions and dreams are looking for ways to make them happen but don't know how to do it. For successfully running a startup, an entrepreneur needs a positive mindset and a huge responsibility.
However, the major problem of every entrepreneur is that they are inexperienced when they start a business. And it is found that 90% of Indian startups fail within the first 5 years, mostly because of inexperienced founders. There is only one way to overcome inexperience quickly and that is by engaging in an advisor program or mentorship.
Mentors are extremely critical but how do you go finding them. Do not look for a mentor but mentors who are experts in different fields. Cause a single mentor cannot solve all of your problems. You'll need one mentor for handling finance, one for personal guidance, one for startups and so on.
Now the question comes - where can you find a mentor for your startup? So, I have prepared a list of places where you can find a mentor but before that let me tell you the key traits of a perfect mentor.
- Online Mentorship Networks
- Small Business Development Centers
- Volunteer Events
- Industry Meetups
- Social Media
- Fitness Classes & Groups
- Networking Events
Key Traits of a Perfect Mentor
Mentorship is an important factor that shows the way for startups to reach heights. A perfect mentor provides tried and tested ideas, fills your knowledge gap and helps to reach your goals with less stress.
There are so many important factors to the success of a business. It includes the cohesive force of your employees, the timing of the company, the strength of the idea, the cumulative experience of the team, the entrepreneurial experience of the person in charge, etc. Mentors help to maintain focus on business problems. Also, they provide alternative solutions to the problems.
Given below are some of the important traits of a perfect startup mentor.
1. Problem Solver
Entrepreneurs face so many problems while starting a business. So it is important to find a mentor who could provide a solution to your problem besides be able to reduce the pool of difficulties. A mentor can help an entrepreneur to create a better business by overcoming the barriers. They help you to understand the different possible pain points of the startup.
A perfect mentor must be aware of the industry to which the startup belongs. An entrepreneur can overcome all difficulties if they have a mentor who gives advice and generic ideas. So getting a mentor from the same industry is more suitable. They can help you to learn the different nature of the market, the complexities of the business, the processes, and the novelty.
3. Strong Networking
A good mentor should succeed in maintaining a strong network of appropriate people in the startup ecosystem. Being a mentor with good connections in the industry gives you the ability to work without interruption. For example, investors are more likely to invest in your startup if their inner circle of network mentions them. A smart mentor helps you to get customer trials, potential investors and customers, strategic engagements, etc.
A mentor, who has gone through the same processes of creating a startup and leading it to success, knows all the entrepreneurial activities required. They are validating your startup idea and leading the company into profitability. A mentor with an entrepreneurial background can help you to avoid barriers and identify all the possible options to prevent the problems.
Where Can You Find a Mentor
Finding the right startup mentor is hard, but not impossible. A right mentor is a fundamental factor for having a successful startup. As an entrepreneur, mentorship is an important resource for growth. Some of the places for finding a perfect mentor are given below.
Online Mentorship Networks
There are so many online programs dedicated to pairing potential mentors with professionals. MentorKart is an online mentorship network that connects the mentors and mentees who look for professional guidance. With typically a small or no cost, you can sign up and find upcoming advisors in your area of expertise. Also, you can chat with them or meet in person to start a partnership.
Small Business Development Centers
Small Business Development Centers are independent organizations that offer advice, expertise and resources for emerging entrepreneurs across the country. You can find free consultation from small business development centers by using state and local government funds, Small Business Administration federal funds, and resources from the private sector.
Volunteer events are another good place for meeting people. You can meet like-minded professionals. They may be looking for ways to use their knowledge and experience. You can use the online platform named Volunteer Match to get volunteering opportunities in your city. You can find opportunities as per your interests. This increases your contacts by attending volunteer events.
Industry meetups are the best place for finding mentorship in a specific industry sector. These events include networking events, conferences, speaking events, informal meetups and trade shows. It can be advertised through meetups or classified ads.
SCORE is an organization that works for helping individuals begin, run and grow their own businesses. Currently, there are more than 11,000 volunteers included in the program along with 320 chapters across the country. An entrepreneur can request a free face-to-face meeting with a mentor to discuss the business idea and also be able to create a more lasting partnership with them.
Social media is another good platform for finding perfect mentors for your startup. You can search for mentors through professional platforms like LinkedIn and public platforms like Twitter. There you can find professionals according to your requirements by using keywords for searching.
One can determine the reputation of a person and their willingness to talk with others by monitoring the engagement level and followers. Firstly, get to know your hoped-for mentor instead of going with an outright request. Also, try to offer something of value to start the relationship.
Fitness Classes & Groups
Business-minded people usually like to spend their time hitting the gym to relieve stress and maintain health. You can frequently find them in fitness-related groups and fitness classes. This could be a good platform to connect with people, get to know them and their businesses. Who knows you end up finding a perfect mentor for your startup.
Networking events are designed to make connections by bringing together groups of professionals. Try to talk to as many people as you can through these events and don't be too direct with your goals. Business leaders look for new contacts as they can be prospective partners, employees, or clients in the future. They attend these networking events to meet professionals in many various fields and expand their personal network.
It is inevitable to say that you can find a perfect mentor only at the above-mentioned places. You could potentially find them anywhere and anytime. Talk to people, your acquaintances, family, friends, or even strangers. You never know who could help you to choose the right path. Maybe the people are behind you or nearby your surrounding but you're looking somewhere else.
Winding up Mentorship
We all want to lean on somebody, someone who can guide us shows us the right path when we are unable to see it clearly, help us grow, and be a torchbearer for our business or career or life for that matter. People are lucky who have mentors in their life, a person who constantly pushes them when they are distracted shows them the light when they're in dark and always remains by their side. Be it business or career or life having the right mentor is very much helpful to sustain in this competitive world. A mentor is an experienced person and wise enough to calculate the risk while taking decisions.
FAQs related to Mentorship
How do entrepreneurs find mentors?
These are some places to look to find a good mentor:
- Find a mentor match on Ten Thousand Coffees
- Meet experienced entrepreneurs at Meetups
- Hop on a Clarity call
- Ask around in forums and online communities
- Connect with potential mentors on LinkedIn
- Form a Mastermind Group
How much should you pay a mentor?
Sessions (virtual, telephone, or in-person if the expert agrees) start at $50 an hour, though a quick look at the site finds that many folks charge more than $100 an hour.
Is a business mentor worth it?
The long-term cost of not finding a good mentor far outweighs any short-term costs. Mentors can help you to become the best possible version of yourself. They can also guide you through difficult patches when you're struggling to make decisions or lacking the experience to know in which direction to take your company.
How do I find a millionaire mentor?
Buy their friendship. If you're trying to become a millionaire by starting an online business, the kind of mentors you're looking for might have a blog or podcast that sells sponsorships. Go sponsor it for a month or more. It puts you on their radar and it'll help drive traffic to your business.
Who is a good mentor?
A good mentor is someone who can guide you when you deviate from your path. They take in what's happening, assess the path the mentee is on, and then guide the person onto the right track. Mentoring is as much about counseling as it is transferring knowledge and leadership skills.
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