Five Tips for Startup Mentors

As a startup mentor, what can you do to maximize the value of a meeting, both for your mentee and for yourself? Check out these five tips for mentors:

1. Think of yourself in your mentee’s shoes

Remember what it was like to be just starting out, with lots of questions and a need for guidance. Take the time to listen to what they have to say, then imagine yourself as part of their company — what strategies would you take; what ideas would you try?

2. Share from your personal experience

Telling stories (and the lessons you learned from them) can be so much more illuminating for mentees than statistics, abstract theories or textbook knowledge.

3. If you can’t answer a question or you can’t help in that area, be up front about it

No one can solve every problem. It’s better to be honest about your limitations than offer less-than-accurate advice. Or, you could offer to introduce them to someone you know who could help in that area.

4. Try to keep the mentee on track through the meeting

Sticking to a structure helps keep priorities set during the meeting so that all the relevant topics can be addressed during the time frame. The mentee should provide an agenda. If it’s good, follow it! If not, propose alternative topics and stick to those.

5. Have fun!

Your mentee will be more open to your advice when they feel relaxed and are enjoying themselves. Similarly, they’ll be more open to sharing with you (and you could even learn something from them!). Feel free to show your personality and crack a joke or two.

What are your best tips for maximizing meetings with your mentee? Comment below to share your thoughts!

Are you an early-stage entrepreneur? You can find our Five Tips for a Successful Meeting with Your Mentor here.