As a founder, it is your responsibility to surround yourself with the right team, early adopters and investors, as they can make or break your business. However, it can be difficult to make these connections with an MVP, limited funding, and only a handful of clients.
There is a simple strategy that typically gets overlooked that can increase your startup’s chances of success more than anything else: working with a mentor.
When building a company, it’s beneficial to have battle-hardened advisors to help guide you through the ups and downs of a startup. A good mentor brings a different perspective to the table, provides invaluable introductions, and can save you days of work and heartache by providing you with informational shortcuts.
So the important question is: how do you seek out a good mentor and avoid the snake oil salespeople?
Think About What You Need Help With The Most
The first step is to take some time to think about what wisdom and insights you need most. Know that a mentor will not be your all-knowing Yoda, dedicating all their time to only you on an abandoned planet. However, like Yoda, a mentor can accelerate your growth and take you to places you never knew existed. Deep down, mentors are people who happen to have had success in industries and verticals that your company has chosen to focus on. What makes a good mentor unique is that they are willing to share their hard-won knowledge with you at no monetary cost.
Establish A Mutually Beneficial Relationship
This part is important: “no monetary cost.”
Paying someone to mentor your startup is a misalignment to the founder-mentor relationship. The entire reason for seeking out a mentor is to fast-track your way to a mutually beneficial goal. The goal is your unique reason for why you are dedicating your life to your company: why you are asking your early employees not to work at a big name company or another sexy startup. It is why you are asking investors to back you.