Even though you may have a constant stream of info through various sources based on which you make your startup decisions, but you may need wisdom of a business mentor to give the right direction and vision for your startup to steer towards the growth path. Mentoring can help improve productivity, build better business relationships and help to retain staff. Remember, a business mentor has more entrepreneurial business experience than you as they have ‘been there done it’ before.
However good your idea, there is no substitute for experience. A mentor will be your reliable sounding board, providing advice and guidance to help you overcome challenges as your business grows, and even give you emotional support in those dark times. Mentors can help you identify your strengths and weaknesses and can also provide you with some useful contacts when it comes to raising finance or finding suppliers, resources, or even developing your market base. Remember, that mentors are NOT consultants. They usually don’t charge any fee. Their motive is non financial, and most of the times they do it to sharpen their business skills or position themselves as strategists or teachers.
Finding the right mentor(s) can be hard for your business. Identify the key issues you want help with and look for people who have faced similar challenges and overcome them. Also look for domain expertise and the current networks they have. ‘Linkedin’ is one of the best places while searching for a mentor. Also, don’t hesitate in asking your friends, family, former bosses and business contacts if they know anyone with relevant experience. You can approach people you already know too – however be confident about differentiating between professional and personal relationship with the person. NETWORKING is the key to find the most suitable mentor for your startup.
You will need to put in efforts to build a good relationship with your mentor that creates a win-win ecosystem. This is important if you want to get the best out of mentoring. Communication is the key. Keep in regular touch over email. Do share your small glories, and make an effort to meet them for a face to face discussion when you want their help in solving key issues. Also, though you take key business advises from your mentor, don’t expect that a mentor will solve your every startup problem. Remember that it’s your own startup, and a mentor is there to guide you and not spoon-feed.