Who's the Mentor?
Too many cooks spoil the broth. But only one right cook can prepare a delicacy. How can you find that right ‘cook’ for your business?
So you have the partners and the money to start a business. What more do you need? You need a lot more actually. To kick-start things, you need someone to guide you. More specifically, you need a mentor who knows the market you are trying to get into, and can advise you. He could either have the theoretical or the practical knowledge about your startup; the more practical knowledge they have, the better it is for you. But how do you look for that person? Whose advice do you take? In a world where suggestions come from almost everyone, how do you find a few that might actually be of help?
Spot the mentor
Suraj Sapkota, co-founder of Picovico, says there are three steps to finding the right mentor.
Do your research
“When you look for a mentor, first have a clear idea about what you want. Try answering this question: What sort of experience would help manifest my idea? When you have the answer, you would have figured out what experience your mentor should have,” says Suraj.
There are already people who are experts in the field you are trying to work in. You need to find not only an expert who can understand your ideas, but also someone you are comfortable working with.
Find mentor(s) to begin with
For starters, you can meet some experts in your field to see whom you connect with the most. The next step would be to have a shortlist of probables who you feel can really help you drawing on the experience they have, shares Suraj.
This will not just give you options, but also the opportunity to network. As having too many mentors could confuse you in the long run, filter them as you go along.
Meet them, preferably in person
“Now that is done, get in touch with them. Here, your connections and network come in handy. Hustle a bit and arrange a meeting with them. Don’t hesitate to ask for introductions through your connections when required. During the meet (with your prospective mentors) pitch your ideas to them and ask for mentorship. Most people will be happy to mentor you,” shares Suraj.
You need to make sure your mentor can guide you well. This is possible when you meet him regularly to share ideas. “It’s crucial to communicate with them regularly. Discuss and build your business plan with them. Narrow down the communication gap,” shares Suraj.
Why Jobs, and not Gates?
And most importantly you need to ask what do they add to your venture? Suraj gives three things you can think about to see if you have found the right mentor or not:
Do they bring in a lot of values? In the early stage of a startup, motivation is the key. Mentors can be guardians who maintain the synergy of your startup.
Does their experience give your business a head-start? The mentors’ experience helps you determine the right path early-on and minimize risks. Knowledge earned is always better than knowledge learned.
Can they connect you with the right people? From finding early customers to organizing meetings with important people, having the right mentor can help you connect with the right people.