Going into anything alone is a daunting task, let alone starting a business. Without a co-founder, many founders are left to traverse the scary world of startups alone and having a mentor can be a real lifesaver. Mind you, even if you have a co-founder, the importance of having a mentor shouldn’t be squandered. Being able to bounce ideas, and talk about your problems with someone who has “been there and done that”, is essential. Finding the right mentor(s) can be as important as hiring the best employees or even finding the right co-founder and here are five reasons why:
1. They have dealt with personal issues
Most entrepreneurs have had to deal with the hardest battle of all, the personal battle. Being a founder is tough at the beginning (and the middle, and the end…). You spend night and day working and working because you’re so passionate about what you’re doing, and that’s great! However, it sometimes means your social life, family life and anything else that isn’t your work life, takes a bit of a hit. Having a mentor who has faced any or all of those personal battles is the perfect person to share your concerns with. A problem shared is a problem halved, especially when the problems you’re facing are shared with someone who’s overcome them before!
“To be able to grow a startup successfully with no challenges would be an impossible task, so having a mentor is essential, they can keep you one step ahead and allow you to take on the challenges with no fear!”
2. They’ve (most likely) faced the same professional issues
Having trouble hiring, managing, leading or even just progressing with your startup is tough going. Even tougher when you don’t have anyone to turn to. As a startup founder, professional challenges are going to come thick and fast, that’s just a fact. Having a mentor who is an expert in the areas you struggle in, or you know have faced similar challenges can often ease the pain associated with trying to become a master of all aspects of business management. They’re your best port of call if you have questions and want guidance on how to overcome your professional challenges, of which there will be many, I promise. If you’re having trouble with certain areas of the business, whether it’s the legal side, marketing, finance, product or brand, finding mentors with specific expertise can help take some of the weight off of your shoulders. No, I don’t mean you get them to do your work for you BUT they can give you tips and tricks to genuinely help you overcome some of the trickier areas of building your business into a success.
3. They’ve dealt with investors before
As many entrepreneurs know, one of the hardest parts of running a startup is getting that runway and investment. A good mentor will be able to advise you on best practice when approaching investors and maybe even introduce you to some. Let’s be honest, no one knows what they’re doing the first time they meet an investor; you don’t have that strong relationship yet, you’re just at the start of your journey. But having a mentor, who has the knowledge, the history, the connections and the willingness to help you deal with investors and investment, can be a vital tool.
“Every failure is a steep learning curve. Mentor’s can give you their first-hand advice and guidance to avoid the problems and failures they had, making your life as an entrepreneur a lot easier.”
4. They have failed (at something)
No one has ever gotten through anything without failing a few times. And that is totally fine. If anything, it’s what makes having a mentor so great. They will have failed at some point, faced the same problems as you and be willing to share their advice. Every failure is a steep learning curve. Mentor’s can give their first-hand advice and guidance to avoid the problems and failures they had, making your life as an entrepreneur a lot easier. Now, that’s not to say having a mentor will mean you’ll never fail, of course you will – and you should embrace it – you’ll just be able to avoid the problems they suffered.
5. They have succeeded
Most importantly these entrepreneurs – now mentors – have succeeded in their entrepreneurial journey and for this reason alone they are ready to pass on their wisdom to another generation of hungry entrepreneurs. Despite all the setbacks and “failures” that many entrepreneurs may have faced on their journey, they have come out on top and can confidently be qualified to be mentors. You know that the advice they’re giving you is coming from a good place, its advice you can trust that will genuinely help you out. Here at EC we are extremely proud to be in touch with such amazing mentors that have truly seen it all in their entrepreneurial careers!
If you feel that you are in need of some mentoring and advice to help out with your entrepreneurial journey, please do feel free to reach out to anyone in Entrepreneurs Collective, we would be more than happy to get you into exclusive contact with our mentors.