Why it is Important to have a Good Mentor for Your Startup and How to Find Them

You’ve just started your very own startup, and are ecstatic and excited about the possibilities and challenges that lie ahead. Sometimes you may be overwhelmed by the workload or the demands that are required of you, and you may realize that being a startup founder is a daunting task. Hence, you may reach the decision to seek advice and help from a mentor, to make the journey easier to navigate.

As the saying goes, no man is an island. This holds true for startups, as you may have come across accelerator programs that look for strong teams in a startup instead of a single individual founder, as they believe that no single person can do everything that is required of running a successful startup alone. Indeed, having a strong support network when the going gets tough can be crucial for a startup’s survival. It is here that mentors can help you with their experience and knowledge, as well as enlightening you with alternative solutions and options that you otherwise might not have known. Besides that, a good mentor can help connect you to the right network for your startup to thrive.

A good mentor should be open and direct. As the adage goes, honesty is the best policy. When the going gets tough, you want a mentor who has your back, but who also isn’t afraid to tell you the truth, like telling you straight-up to abandon the idea and move on when it is the best thing to do. A trustworthy and honest person that won’t sugarcoat things, and who is willing to challenge you to grow out of your comfort zone to reach new heights, is a good candidate for being a mentor.

All things considered, it is beneficial to look for someone who has taken the same path as you are going through now and achieved success with it. So you may want to look for a successful startup founder or leader that has much experience in navigating the challenges of creating and raising a brand new organization or company. Choosing a senior manager or executive with corporate experience is fine as they can contribute with their management skills and expertise, but a mentor with startup experience and know-how can better relate to the challenges that you will face in growing your own startup.

It’s also important that you expand your network and professional groups. By attending conferences and events, or connecting with professional bodies or organizations, you will be able to meet face-to-face with important persons and experts that can help grow your startup and establish meaningful mentor relationships there. Taking advantage of the alumni network of your university or past company is another way to go. It’s also important to note that universities that either run incubator programs or entrepreneurship classes also often run mentorship programs as well, so you can make use of that.

A good mentor can help a newly formed startup go a long way towards achieving success. As with any relationship, it’s a two-way street, so a good way to approach it is to be a good mentee by being humble, putting aside your ego to accept constructive criticism when it is warranted, doing your homework, giving back to your mentor and putting into practise the advice that your mentor has given to you. 

Your brand new startup will go far under the guidance of a wise and capable mentor.