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Starting out as a new business owner is an intimidating path to navigate alone. More and more, we are seeing entrepreneurs turning to a startup mentor for guidance.
The early years of a new business are make or break, and according to Entrepreneur, 70% of business owners who receive mentoring see their businesses surpass the crucial five-year mark - double the survival rate of entrepreneurs who choose not to find a business mentor for their startup.
Placing this much trust in one person can be daunting. So, we have put together some advice on how to find a startup mentor that you can rely on.
When deciding who your startup mentor should be, turning to someone you already know may seem like the obvious and less strenuous option. But often this person will not meet your expectations.
You could approach an ex-colleague or acquaintance who just happens to be a business owner. But this person is unlikely to be as willing or available to become your startup mentor as you might have hoped. Or, you could turn to a friend or relative who will be happy to set aside time for you. But your personal relationship may interfere with the frank, open and unbiased conversations that you need from a startup mentor.
Most crucially, by limiting your search to existing contacts when trying to find a business mentor, you may find that this person’s skills and experience are somewhat irrelevant to your business.
Get acquainted with what a credible mentor looks like, and be wary of those who over-promise and under-deliver. If something seems to good to be true, be on the lookout for ulterior motives or holes in experience.
The Academic Medicine journal found that a lack of experience is a leading factor in the failure of mentorship. Placing blind trust in a startup mentor is therefore a very risky business. It is crucial to find a mentor that caters to your startup’s best interests, so don’t be afraid to ask questions about their skills, experience, and background.
When you breeze past the five-year hurdle, you will be glad that you went the extra mile to find the perfect mentor for your business.
When you think you have found a suitable startup mentor for your business, it is important to start slow. Find common ground and build a rapport before jumping into to a more formal mentorship program.
An informal chat over a coffee or video call is a great way to see if your values align. This way you can be sure that you are making the right decision before paying a fee or committing to a schedule.
From there, you can start to build a more formal plan with your startup mentor. Having structure, regular meetings and goal-oriented discussions will benefit your mentoring relationship and your business.
When trying to find the business mentor that is perfect for your startup, it helps to listen to your gut. If you don’t feel that the individual draws out the best in you, then it just might not be right.
A great business mentor will want to improve themselves while helping you. This kind of balanced mentor-mentee relationship can evolve into a solid, enduring, and mutually beneficial connection.
At Wiseup, we have consolidated all of these steps, and cracked the code on how to compare, research, and meet potential mentors for your business all in one place:
We have an extensive database of brilliant mentors, meaning you don’t need to rely on your existing contacts, and you can save time trawling the web for reputable sources. Just use our search filter to find exactly what you need.
Wiseup mentor profiles offer a fast and reliable way to research their skills and experience, helping you to make a confident and informed decision on which business mentor is right for you.
A free virtual coffee with your potential mentor gives you the opportunity to start with an informal chat to ensure that you are happy with your choice before continuing with a full session or regular meetings.