Startup Mentor: How to Choose The Best One
You might have tons of books to refer and you might have a 1TB hard-disk full of inspirational videos, but nothing comes near to the right startup mentor.
In Star Wars, Luke had one of the best mentors. Yoda helped him prepare to fight with Darth Vader.
Are you ready to fight with fierce competition around you? Do you have a mentor like Yoda to train you, counsel you, and prepare you?
Well, my friend choosing the right mentor is not easy. In today’s post, I am going to discuss 7 unsaid rules of choosing the right startup mentor.
Without further ado, let us dive in:
1- Find Out Exactly What You Need
Before you start your search for a startup mentor, you must determine what exactly you want from a mentor. Do you want him/her to advise on financial matters, do you want him/her to guide you when you are planning marketing strategies, or do you want him/her to walk you through a product launch?
Remember, my friend, you might need a startup mentor for reasons that are entirely different from your fellow entrepreneur’s reasons.
So, knowing beforehand what you want to learn from a startup mentor makes it easy to find one.
2- Pick Someone from the Same Industry
After determining what you want to learn from a startup mentor, the next comes where you should start looking for a mentor. The golden rule is,
You should find a startup mentor from the same industry.
Why should you choose a mentor from the same industry?
The reason is simple. Picking someone from the same industry means he/she will understand your business problems, difficulties, and challenges more aptly and can provide you with effective solutions.
Sumi Krishnan rightly explains about industry-specific mentor on Entrepreneur,
“This type of mentor has already walked in your shoes; he or she can help you with industry-dependent challenges like managing finances and choosing suppliers.”
3- Experience Matters a Lot
As Albert Einstein said,
“The only source of knowledge is experience.”
My friend, experience matters a lot.
Look for a startup mentor who has long experience in the same business domain. Why?
A startup mentor who has years of experience in the same industry means he/she has gone through most of the challenges and difficulties that the industry presents. He/she will be able to guide you better and help you make informed business decisions.
However, when choosing an experienced startup mentor from the same industry, you must make sure that you do not choose a direct competitor of your business if you plan to take an experienced businessman as your mentor.
4- Pick the One With High Success Rate
You are going to choose a startup mentor because you do not want to fail. So, it is imperative that you should search for one who has high success rate. How can somebody guide you to succeed if they have failed in all their endeavors?
I agree that you can learn a lot from somebody’s mistakes, but a mentor with high success rate will double the chances of your success.
Also, if you choose a startup mentor with high success rate, he/she will inspire you to do better.
So, always go for one who has established him/her at the pinnacle of success.
5- Go for a Good Listener
Do I really have to tell you why you should go for a startup mentor who is a good listener?
You are going to pick a mentor because you want someone who can provide you with a reality check when you need it.
How will it be possible if someone is not a good listener?
Being a good listener is a must have quality for all mentors.
As rightly pointed out by Debby Carreau,
“Mentors need to help mentees overcome their challenges without taking the reins directly. This comes back full-circle to empathy and communication skills — in the form of listening.”
Go for someone who is a good listener.
6- Mentor Should Challenge You
Your mentor should challenge you to do better than what you are already doing.
You are going to have a startup mentor because you want to do everything in the best possible manner so that you can get the most out of everything. This cannot be done ever if your mentor does not challenge you.
Whether you are going to scale up your startup or you are going to launch a new product, challenges are always there. A mentor with complacent nature is not going to help you much.
So, my friend, you should always seek a startup mentor who can challenge you.
7- Go for Someone Who Aligns with Your Value
As a business owner, you must be having some core values and business goals. There will no benefit if your mentor does not align with your values and business goals.
A mentor should help you achieve your business goals. How can someone do that if he/she does not align with your values and business goals?
Choose your startup mentor wisely; make sure you and your mentor are on the same page when it comes to goals and business values.
Choosing the right mentor is an uphill battle in the rainy season. A good startup mentor can make your startup and a bad one can break it. Follow these unsaid rules when you are searching for a mentor, I am certain that you will find the right mentor for your startup.
What about you?
Do you want to share any tip on finding the right startup mentor? Leave it in the comment section. I would love to hear about it.
This article was first published on YourStory.