Article: How to find a perfect startup mentor for your business?


How to find a perfect startup mentor for your business?

Most value-adding mentors are the ones, who have a successful entrepreneurial track record and they are grateful to share experiences of their failures,says Vineet Patawari, Co-Founder & CEO StockEdge.
How to find a perfect startup mentor for your business?

There is one critical element of leadership that cannot be forgotten in the midst of entrepreneurial hustle – the value of mentorship. No matter how incredibly your product is performing or how brilliant your concept might be, every startup needs at least one good mentor.

“A mentor is someone, who has walked the talk,” says Vineet Patawari, Co-Founder & CEO StockEdge, a stock market self-research tool for retail investors.  

Patawari says most value-adding mentors are the ones, who have a successful entrepreneurial track record and they are grateful to share experiences of their failures.

“They are the ones who will help you in navigating challenges, getting the right talent on board, tracking down the right financial investors and obviously guide the business in all aspects of growth, technology, legal and others,” adds Patawari.

In an interaction with People Matters, Patawari, who is also the Co-Founder of financial market training platform, talks about successful mentorship, qualities of a good mentor and shares ways to find a perfect startup mentor for your business.

What types of mentors do entrepreneurs need?

All successful entrepreneurs must have  three types of mentors in their corner. 

A Leadership Mentor

Leading a team is hard. It takes years of experience, intellect and character, and if you're a young leader it may not come as easily or as quickly as you hoped. Work closely with a mentor willing to share their leadership lessons – the pitfalls and the successes – to help train you in leading and inspiring your team to take it to the next level with expertise and compassion.

A Tactical Mentor

As a CEO of a growing startup, I’ve often thought, "I wish someone would just advise me what to do!" While you need to understand in-depth your market and business eventually, having a tactical mentor to help you out with operational elements and strategic decisions can help immensely. Whether you talk through your businesses' strategy or consider entrepreneurial best practices, a tactical mentor can help take the guesswork out of leading a startup as a budding founder. As you learn and grow, you'll be able to impart similar advice to others who come after you.

A Personal Mentor

When you are leading a startup, you need to make certain sacrifices for your company's growth from time to time. This means giving up your evenings, weekends or even opting out of extracurricular activities. But you need to remember that balance is key. A personal mentor, who also has an understanding of your professional life, is crucial in making sure that you are mentally at peace and healthy. If your business crashes, what's left? Making sure your spiritual, emotional, mental and physical health are in order is important for being an effective leader. This will also help you avoid the pitfalls of burnout.

What makes a successful mentorship?

The mentor-mentee relationship is a process based on trust and effort invested by both parties. You can’t expect that your mentor will magically remove all the obstacles on your way or rectify  all your mistakes. The mentor’s advice will be effective only if you’re willing to listen, learn, and implement.

A good mentor talks from experience, and shares it in a truthful way so that it can be of help to the mentee; listens to the entrepreneur and gathers all the information to give advice later on. The mentor-mentee relationship must be built upon these factors-

  • Trust and respect
  • Open and honest communication
  • Flexibility and understanding of other perspectives
  • Perseverance, especially to overcome obstacles

What are the key qualities of a good mentor?

Great mentors offer tried-and-tested ideas to help you achieve your goal faster and with less stress. Here are the main features to look for in a startup mentor-

  •  Visible, provable track record of accomplishment in the field in which you desire to grow. 
  • Open, friendly, and appreciate curiosity. 
  • Enthusiastic about their profession and skills. 
  • Thoughtful and respectful and don't make up confident replies to questions merely to look knowledgeable
  • Have been mentored in the past and realise how important mentorship is for someone starting out. 

Choosing a mentor does not have to be as stressful or difficult as it seems. Find one that is a good fit for you and work hard to make it a positive experience.

How to find a perfect startup mentor for your business?

  • Start by looking into your personal network. 
  • Get to know experienced entrepreneurs at meetups. 
  • Look in forums and online communities. 
  • Connect with potential mentors on LinkedIn. 
  • Explore your local Small Business Development Center (SBDC). 

In an ideal situation, a mentor becomes a good friend. They value you as a person and consider you as a valuable investment of their time.

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Topics: Entrepreneurship, Startups, Employee Engagement, Leadership

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