Mentors are lifeline of a startup. If you are a startup founder or a small business owner and are dreaming to become a million dollar company then Mentors are the people who will make that happen faster. The question arises, HOW?
It does not work like this: that you go to your Mentor and say help me build a million dollar company. It just doesn’t, rather what you need to do is follow a step by step approach with the below 5 considerations in mind
#1 Know your weakness
Key functions in a startups growth are proper Planning, calculated Financing, detailed Development and aggressive Marketing. Founders continuously balance these four functions throughout the startup journey from idea to growth. Knowing your weakest function of the four will help you seek for the right mentors to compliment you. This will enable the founders to focus more on execution rather than spending lot of time(money) in learning the unknowns and avoid pitfalls due to lack of complete knowledge in that function.
#2 Know what you want from your mentors
Mentors have spent their whole lives in building their companies and are currently at the zenith of their career and with such an extensive invaluable pool of contacts and knowledge they have, you can be an instant hit in market only and only if you know what you want exactly from your Mentors
You need to brainstorm how your company is solving a problem and how can a Mentor helps you do it faster? Let’s assume that you have built a product X which connects unemployed people with job opportunities. So you need your Mentor’s network to reach out to the businesses who could post job opportunities on your platform. So you need be to very specific about what kind of businesses you are targeting, what is your pricing strategy and how fast can you do it?
At the end of the day everything comes down to how economical you are, how fast could you solve a problem and how consistently you can do it over and over again? This is what builds your image in market and helps you gain trust and build your own network. In all this process, the role of the Mentor is to facilitate you by connecting you with the right people and processes
#3 Discuss your strategy before you start execution
Another way to make most of the Mentors is by discussing your strategy/approach with them before execution so they may fix the loopholes to which you are blind to with their experience and network. Business is all about venturing into unknown territories, traversing the paths less travelled by and failing over and over again till you find the perfect mix. In all that process you need to evolve as a better entrepreneur by learning from your mistakes. You need to add value to the people you work with. Spending time upfront in planning your strategy right reduces stress in execution and gives further assurance of success.
#4 Focus more on Problems that concern you than progress you have made
Entrepreneurs love their product idea so much and the effort they put in to bring the solution to reality is enormous. The sooner they realize what has been done to date is less important before what has to be done ahead, they are better off. Occasional patting your back on your performance and efforts so far is good, but always thinking ahead is the key to success. When you meet the mentors, focus more on the problems you have solved, so as you could learn from an outsider’s perspective to avoid it in future and if it does repeat, how much faster can you fix it. Secondly discuss the current problems that you are trying to resolve, as your mentor might have the best suggestions which minimize the impact of problem or address them completely. You can then get to your next step faster in launching your startup. It’s is all about speed to market, if you are not first with your solution you would always end up playing a catchup game which is much more expensive.
#5 Share your success with your mentors and give them due credit in public
Give and give unconditionally to your peers and the budding entrepreneurs. This is what your Mentors have done and are doing. If you could replicate that attitude while you work in the market then you have made the most of out of your mentors. Mentors are not supporting you or your cause for financial returns, they are doing in the spirit of entrepreneurship and the best return you could give them is the due credit of your success to them as they rightfully deserve. This is what makes them going to support even more self-starting entrepreneurs just like you and will help bind a stronger relationship with your mentor where he is going to go all out of his/her way to support you meet your dreams.
Key Takeaways of today’s blog are
- Know what your weaknesses are and pinpoint what you want from them
- Brainstorm that how your company is solving a problem and how can a Mentor helps you do it faster
- Discussing your strategy with them before execution so they may fix the loopholes to which you are blind to