Decision-making as a small-business/startup owner is very critical. You may find yourselves surrounded by risky opportunities, standing on tightropes, unprecedented challenges, with no obvious solution visible for a mile. In such circumstances, it would be great to bounce off a few doubts and questions with a mentor or an expert in your field.
But how well can a mentor help? Some qualities distinguish the best mentors from the rest. A few must-have attributes are:
– Relevant expertise or knowledge
– Enthusiasm about sharing their experience and expertise
– Capability to give direct and honest feedback.
Reflective listening and empathy are two essential personal qualities to look for, besides their background and reach.
As Founders, you may never run short on responsibilities; therefore, analyse your needs beforehand to save time and effort. While relying on the mentor for guidance and encouragement, also ensure that you continue doing what feels right for your business.
But know that the right mentors are always there to help!
Where to find such Mentors?
Did you know that there are several resources available online and offline where you can get in touch with an expert in your field, some for free and some for a fee? Read on…
LinkedIn is a valuable resource for seeking expert advice. By now, you must already have a LinkedIn account. It is very simple to sign up if you haven’t done so already. Having all the relevant information in your profile is the first step to making an impression on a potential mentor.
Depending on your area of interest, you can search for keywords, hashtags and follow experts in your field. Engage with their posts and send them a well-written personal message outlining your goals. Display your passion in your message so that you can grab their attention straight away. Don’t forget to write a striking subject line when using InMail.
Quora offers you a chance to ask questions and share advice with others. It allows you to follow the topics you are interested in. Several startup experts and entrepreneurs on Quora are ready to answer questions. Due to the free nature of the platform, you cannot expect to be assigned a mentor. However, Quora is a good place to start your research.
If you do not already have an account, you can easily connect your Google or Facebook profile to Quora and sign up. Choose the topics you want to follow, and get started.
Your feed will contain all the questions/answers related to the topics you follow and your interests. Find first-hand information as well as take advantage of the opportunity to answer questions for others. It is always humming with activity, with hundreds of questions posted and answered every day.
MicroMentor is a nonprofit social network platform available to users for free. It offers a medium to connect volunteer mentors to those entrepreneurs looking for startup advice.
Signup is easy. You can connect your Google/Facebook/LinkedIn profile to your MicroMentor profile. Ensure that your profile contains enough information about what you do and what you hope to accomplish. You can get in touch with members of this community via messages. Start a conversation about mentoring with them. You can then get on a call and discuss further.
MentorCruise is a platform that connects mentors and mentees in the tech industry. There is a 7-day free trial, and if you find the mentoring sessions helpful, you can choose to subscribe on a monthly basis or seek advice as and when you need it. These are one-on-one sessions, so you can get the most out of them. Based on your requirements, you can also search their website for the type of expertise you want your mentor to have. The pricing varies for each mentor and the type of sessions you decide to have.
FoundersNetwork is a great platform that offers peer mentorship to tech startups across the world. Membership is by invitation only; you can find the link on their website and fill in the necessary information about yourself in the following steps. If you pass the preliminary screening, you will be informed about the four membership options available. The pricing of these memberships varies depending on your level of experience.
You can learn valuable lessons from entrepreneurs, investors, and experts about the startup world. With a membership at FoundersNetwork, you can gain access to global startup events, tech summits, etc., but you will also be required to put in a lot of effort to benefit from it.
You can find your mentor offline as well by attending networking events, such as conferences, book clubs or book reading sessions, and at coworking spaces. Being a regular at such places can lead you to your mentor or startup advisor.
There is one more circle that is most often ignored – your social circle – family and friends. Sift through your network and try to have a conversation with someone you feel can help you out.
These are some of the suggestions we have for you. You can try them out and see who or what suits your convenience. Ask questions and analyse those answers, see where it takes you. But what is more important is how much effort you put into using the expertise and taking your startup to the next level.
If you are also looking to hire the right tech talent, check out CodeQuotient. Their courses are tailored to adhere to the current tech trends and make learners job-ready.
So, did you find a mentor and get advice for your startup using any of the above resources? How was your experience? Tell us in the comments!
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