Email Updates to Your Mentors: Why You Should Send Them and What to Include

Jillian Canning
Jun 6 · 3 min read

Even more important than meeting mentors is keeping them engaged with the latest news about your startup. And one smart way to do that is by sending regular updates about your business. At both Techstars and WeWork Labs, we have our startups send mentor updates on a regular cadence from day 1.

Mentors and advisors who aren’t directly involved with your business day-to-day still want to know how things are going. Make it easy for them to continue to add value and stay engaged with you and your team by creating a list (like a Google group) and sending updates at a set cadence. Many founders find it helpful to send a bi-weekly update while they are rapidly growing and iterating, then switch to quarterly updates when they’re more stable. The key is to make sure you clearly ask for help in key areas you could use guidance on and to direct the ask towards a specific mentor on your list, if possible.

The format for your emails

Follow this outline to keep things structured, concise, and clear:

  • Shout outs — Recognize the mentors that have helped you since your last update. This will encourage more people in the group to chime in and lend their expertise.
  • KPI updates and milestones — Insert charts to show your quantitative growth since your last update.
  • Wins — Share any other wins that are not quantitative, i.e. you signed a major customer, added an important new feature, etc.
  • Struggles and asks, with mentions of specific mentors you’d like help from — Ask for help with projects. And be specific with both the project or topic and the mentor you want help from. For example, “I need help with Google AdWords. @MentorName — can you introduce me to xyz to help with this?”
  • Upcoming goals — Share your goals and what you’ll be working on between now and your next update.

Here’s a sample update email:

As you can see, John’s mentor update is formatted it in a way that’s easy to digest, has specific asks, and provides both quantitative and qualitative updates. Also note that he created a google group with Mentors@ his domain name to avoid putting mentors in bcc and risk being flagged as spam.

By getting into the practice of regularly sending these emails to your most valuable mentors, you’ll keep them in the know on what you’re working on, which makes them more likely to raise their hands when you need help.

To go a step further, you can get fancy by using products like kpiReady ;)

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Twitter: @jilliankcanning

Originally published on WeWork Labs Insider

Jillian Canning

Written by

Sr. Portfolio Strategist @WeWork Labs. Former Director @Techstars NYC.

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