Who’s a mentor? Why is a mentor important? When do we need one?
Entrepreneurs range from “I know everything, I don’t need any advice” to “Hey, I’m stuck and could do with some help”.
A mentor can help (the latter category).
So, who is a mentor?
Mentor: An experienced person who works with mentees in a positive, constructive manner towards a specific objective, within a set timeframe. In an entrepreneur eco-system, this includes senior entrepreneurs who assist in providing advice on ideas or business, offering frank feedback and providing alternate/different perspectives.
And in most cases, just being there – to listen!
Why we need a mentor?
We are on our way to being Supermen, but aren’t quite there yet!!!
A helping hand is therefore necessary – to listen, comment and share experiences; all towards strengthening your business. Someone outside looking in will be in a better position to spot issues and offer advice!
Note: A mentor can be a mentee as well. Situations/Experiences define!
Different mentors at different stages
Ideation – validation – establishing – fund raising – growth – scale – exit
Different phases of a company/division need a mentor with specific experience in that phase. A startup mentor is different from a scale-up expert.
Finding a mentor
It is a dating session, “Comfort” being the key word. The mentor and mentee need to be comfortable with each other, to be open, frank and direct. The mentee needs to be open to receiving feedback, comments and criticism. Mentoring has expanded to the virtual world and is being done via mail/Whatsapp/Skype. A relevant Linkedin group is a good place to start apart from mentor-matching sites. I recommend a start with a mentor you can meet with, on a regular basis – and then move on the virtual world.
- Be clear in your need/objective.
- Define the timeframe of mentoring.
- Don’t be a mentor-hopper, going around and talking to “n” folks.
- RESPECT the mentor’s time investment.
In the quest for a mentor, let’s not become… a TORmentor!!
Pravin Shekar is a startup specialist, parallel entrepreneur and motivator. www.pravinshekar.com provides additional info.
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