While reading the most recent Startup Genome Report, I discovered the fact that Silicon Valley has again come out on top as having the most influential startup ecosystem worldwide. While I was looking through the factors that have made Silicon Valley the best, I noticed a key detail. Silicon Valley has the most significant number of mentors and serial entrepreneurs compared to other ecosystems for startups around the world.
That brings me back to the topic of mentors being a necessity for entrepreneurs.
The term “Mentor” is misunderstood phrase in relation to our lives. What exactly is a mentor, and what exactly does a mentor do? What is the reason we require a mentor? Are we able to do without the help of a mentor? Does it have to be a necessity?
Oxford Dictionary defines a mentor as “An Experienced and Trusted Adviser”.
Since the beginning of time, each successful leader has had an advisor. For family-owned businesses, the mentors were typically one’s uncle or father or any trustworthy person who was responsible for the health of the household. Famous politicians had mentors. Emperors had mentors.
The word “Mentor” is age-old.
In the current era of business, mentorship has taken on the word mentor has been given a more broad meaning, but its principles remain the same.
Then why should an Entrepreneur be able to have a mentor?
1. Entrepreneurship is a lonely journey
Whether you have friends, you have a life partner, or your girlfriend/boyfriend, the path of entrepreneurship still looks pretty lonely. It is also the case that no one in the people in your “social” and “personal” circle will understand the feeling of solitude you feel. A mentor can make it much easier to speak to someone else and help you navigate your way just a bit
2. You must have someone to answer to.
In the business world, you’re your boss. You need to establish your own goals and adhere to them. You are the only one you have to answer to. The customer is indeed the only person to whom you’re accountable, but unless and until you adhere to the standards that you’ve defined for yourself, you will not have customers. A mentor can help you become more accountable
3. You are constantly fighting personal battles.
Entrepreneurship is about external events, but it is an internal battle. In reality, I would suggest it’s more of an internal struggle than an external one. There will be an array of emotions that no one can fully comprehend. The presence of a mentor makes it much easier to conquer those battles that you have to fight for.
4. There are times when you’re not sure
There will be moments when you’re not sure about what you should do next. What you should do is decide if you want to build “this” feature or “that” feature, whether you should alter your marketing strategy, or if you should focus on an entirely different segment of customers. A knowledgeable mentor can assist you in navigating in the proper direction.
A mentor who has been around for a long time is a person with a wide range of contacts. These contacts are required often to provide you with the time you need to develop.
What should you consider when choosing the right mentor?
You must consider taking your time when selecting the right mentor. A few of the qualities to consider are:
1. Do you have a great bond with your mentor?
2. Do you feel comfortable sharing your personality with your mentor?
3. Are they regarded as a respected mentor in the field of expertise?
4. The mentor may be giving you tips that you consider valuable to your personal growth
5. Is the mentor sincere in his relationship with him?
6. The mentor may have a competing interest with the mentor.
7. What do mentors offer to you that you cannot do on your own?
What is the best way to engage an instructor?
Find the ideal mentor. Mentorship is not a “profession”. It’s about someone volunteering his or her time for you because they believe in you and your goals. If you have conversations with people, you’ll be able to tell people who are genuinely interested in your work and who aren’t. Engage in multiple conversations. Talk to them, take a drink and discuss your business. Pay attention to the things they say. The more you listen, the better you’ll be able to comprehend your mentor.
Do not agree to a retainer-based model in the beginning. Evaluate each other’s strengths prior to entering into a formal business agreement. If you find value in someone, you’ll desire to keep that person. Therefore, wait until you have the same value.
Is your mentor your saviour?
No, never. Don’t expect them to be your salvation. You are accountable for your own company. Take the initiative and accept the responsibility for your decisions. A mentor is someone who uses his or her experience to assist you. However, he/she isn’t god. Err is a human being. Err is a human.
Where can you find these mentors?
The best tutor is someone in your family. However, chances are less likely that your father or mother will provide you with an impartial view regarding your business. This is why a person unrelated to your business will work better unless you have a family-owned company.
Find others working in the same business like you, who have had success. Participate in and network on occasions. Connect with the top and most dedicated individuals in the business world. The most effective mentors are usually the quietest and most discreet ones. Make sure you find them.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
I’m the co-founder of FounderMates which lets entrepreneurs get advice on business from experts and mentors for no cost. We’re a social enterprise focused on fostering the spirit of entrepreneurship. We assist entrepreneurs with one-on-one guidance and advice online.