For startups, numerous questions arise at the beginning of their self-employment. Uncertainties regarding their business idea, the company presentation to potential investors, product management, and employee recruitment determine the everyday life of young startups. It is therefore advisable to seek advice from external industry experts in the early stages of a company.
See the startups mentor as a teacher and advisor who supports you with his experience and specialist knowledge and guides you on the path to success. In particular, in the technology industry, mentors are one of the decisive success factors for ambitious young entrepreneurs, as they share their wealth of knowledge with their protégés and identify the potential for optimization.
Functions and tasks of Startups Mentor
While working with you, your mentor assumes several roles and fulfills various tasks:
Adviser: The startups mentor will advise you on your everyday startup’s challenges and give you tips on establishing yourself in your company’s market. This involves both short-term measures and long-term strategies that pave the way to your success. For example, he’ll take a close look at your financial plan or show you more efficient product manufacturing processes.
Mission: The role model function is one of the most important tasks of the mentor. Orientate yourself to their demeanor, working, and management style to improve your skills in dealing with employees and customers. Accompany him or her to meetings and negotiations with business partners. Seeing your startup mentor in action will help you develop your personality for day-to-day business.
Coaching: Your teacher also takes on a coach’s tasks, as he or she has already personally experienced many ups and downs of a founder. The startups mentor can give you specific examples from his or her life if you have any questions about family compatibility and work and how to deal with setbacks correctly. Let yourself be inspired by how your counterpart found a way out even in difficult situations and got back on the road to success.
Sponsors: Business mentors have an excellent network thanks to their mostly decades of professional experience in management positions. You know the bosses and influencers of many companies. This enables them to open important doors. When communicating with new contacts, mentioning your mentor’s name often has the effect of building trust.
Core elements of optimal cooperation
When dealing with startups mentor, there are a few things to consider that are essential for a profitable collaboration:
Productive discussions: The communication between the sponsor and his protégé is one of the most important elements of successful mentoring. Treat one another openly, respectfully, and trustingly. Listen carefully to what your sponsor is telling you, and also bring up your ideas.
Regular exchange: At the beginning of your collaboration, determine when and how often you will contact each other. For example, regular meetings every two weeks for dinner are the quintessence of functioning mentoring. You should also agree on which other communication channels are possible so that both sides can adjust to the expected scope.
Critical ability: An important point of communication is constructive criticism from your sponsor. Praise is nicer, of course, but it’s ultimately about moving your company forward and establishing it in the market. Make yourself aware: A good startups mentor only uses criticism to drive optimization and lead your startup on the road to victory. React confidently and take the feedback to heart.
If you consider the basics of mutual exchange with your teacher, nothing stands in the way of successful cooperation.
Tips to connect with a Startups mentor for your Brand
For founders looking for a teacher, the first question that arises is where to go. Mentoring programs exist both in the private sector and at universities.
The profiles of potential candidates in professional social networks such as Xing or LinkedIn give you information about what the potential sponsors are looking for and whether your startup suits them.
Take the first step, act authentically, and proceed similarly to a job application. Don’t just think about what you want; think about what you can offer. Be clear about who you are looking for, both on a personal and professional level. You can only find good business mentors through a specific search.
Get-to-know conversations provide information about how well both parties can get along with each other. Formulate your business plans, working methods, and expectations towards the mentor very precisely. This is the only way you and your counterpart can assess whether he or she suits you and your startup. Ensure you have a high level of professional competence, industry knowledge, experience, trustworthiness, and availability. Also, your sponsor should have profitable contacts.
By the way, friends and family members can also take on mentoring tasks, provided they have the appropriate specialist knowledge and experience.
Depending on the scope of the areas of responsibility, one mentor alone can hardly cover all of the aspects mentioned. Consider getting help from more than one person. For example, one sponsor could help you with financial matters, while another could give you valuable product development tips. This is how you benefit from the special fields of each mentor.
Business startups benefit immensely from a competent industry expert’s advice who helps them get on the road to success. When you find a mentor who suits your startup, you will secure a decisive competitive advantage.