5 Key Tips for Engaging a Startup Mentor

A business mentor has more entrepreneurial and domain expertise than you and can help in improving productivity, streamlining marketing initiatives, build better business relationships and in retaining key human capital for your Startup. Read ‘Importance of Business Mentoring’ to understand the relevance of a mentor. 

Finding the ‘right’ mentor is not always easy and requires some research and hard work to get the best fit for the founders and the Startup. Here are five tips on finding and choosing a mentor for your Startup. 

  1. Ask around for recommendations from your past & present colleagues, contractors, accountant, lawyer, and among your professional friends. The startups that I have mentored have all come through such recommendations.
  2. Mentors have a variety of expertise. To get the best out of them, you need to brainstorm the areas of guidance you need a mentor for. It can be from business structuring to helping with financial planning, or product strategies and marketing plans, to overall growth and development of your Startup.
  3. Once you have zeroed in on few choices, you need to thoroughly discuss the areas of engagement to guage their views and see if they match your work principles. Before you meet a potential mentor either physically or virtually, prepare a set of questions and topics that you will discuss during the meeting. Don’t hesitate in asking for feedback on your business idea and status.
  4.  An effective mentor helps you develop your own capacities and resources to undertake management challenges. It’s important that you and your mentor clearly understand the roles and therefore be vocal about what you want right from the beginning. This will ensure harmonious relationship with the mentor and you will achieve focussed results.
  5. Robust relationships are built on trust and honesty. Big names may not always be the best fit for you. You do have to make a judicious decision while choosing your Startup mentor. And so finally believe in your instincts when you finally have to make the mentor choice.

All the best for your search!

2 thoughts on “5 Key Tips for Engaging a Startup Mentor

  1. Anirudh Motwani

    Nice read. In my experience, the first step is the hardest, and most articles that I’ve read are ambiguous about how you go about finding a mentor. It is easier said than done unless one is a serial entrepreneur with a large network.

    I believe the other steps about identifying and choosing the right mentor and making it work are more instinctive but any advice on how to find a mentor is invaluable. It’d be great if you could specifically focus on that aspect in a future article.


  2. Rene D. Petrin

    I would also recommend that those seeking a mentor think of a mentor as a “facilitator of development”. This will avoid looking for a mentor simply on the basis of their background and experience. A mentor can be great even in areas they are not expert in by facilitating a link to someone who does or showing the mentoree how to locate an expert. Also, by thinking of a mentor as being a facilitator, you’ll also be thinking how you best learn and the style a mentor should use that would work best for you.


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