PRABODHANA VRIKSHA

Do I need a mentor!

Mentorship

08 January 2019, India, WAY2WORLD:

DO I NEED A MENTOR! Is it worth it! Having a mentor is a pain! He never agrees to what we say and always argues with me! It’s my idea, why do I need a mentor! I can master the strategy by googling, where is the need for a mentor? Hiring a mentor is a costly affair, I cannot afford it…..OMG thousands of questions crop up in the minds of StartUp Founders. Some might not even have an idea to seek mentorship,

However let me tell you how we missed out on this initially, like most of you and what happened. Late 2007, after deciding to take a diversion from my advertising career for a prominent newspaper, I was planning to take up a venture that would serve my passion of creating value addition to the present job scenario.

It’s a well-known fact that the number of professionals being churned out every year and the quantum of jobs available are no match. This is where I wanted to pitch in and encourage entrepreneurship among students, visited many colleges and universities in South, with zero outcome.

In 2009, I sat down and realised that I made no headway in my endeavour. With dwindling revenues and let down by my departed co-founders, I was clueless. Then I realised dependence was my biggest weakness and started my journey as a solopreneur.

After pondering over my continuance for sustenance, I decided to start a portal that would document the developments in the ecology so that it would encourage more to follow the trends.

Was I successful! Miserably no! Only motivational articles and very few stories, where what I had on the agenda. Reluctantly I looked towards other options for living, and lost a few years in the process.

Though I was updating the developments, not many stories came up….however again in 2015 the environment suddenly turned electrifying and there was no looking back since then.

Today we are connected to almost 2000+ StartUps across the country, 4000+ ecosystem stakeholders, 2000+ investors, 50+ events, personally an advisory on a dozen boards and what not……OMG! What a transformation almost… every day a new StartUp calls to narrate their unique journey……

The morale of the story! Even after this overwhelming success, I was pondering what took the silver-lining show up after such a long strenuous tenure. It was because I had designed a product at the wrong time, defeating the product-market-fit strategy and defying market validation.

Then I did not know how to take things forward and was stuck at cross roads, so I took to writing. Though initially I wanted to make a live #shoutout, eventually it was restricted to a virtual one. The irony is today I am invited by various organisations to speak on StartUp related issues.

Above all, I took a long path to reach this stage, because I had no mentor nor did I ever feel to have, one. Today as the world is emerging at a rapid pace, without the guidance of an external mentor, moving forward to keep up with the pace might be beyond possibility.

How a Mentor helps Mentee succeed:

  1. Technical mentors help you understand the developments in the domain
  2. They help you perfect the product
  3. They help in designing a perfect strategy for trouble-shooting technical glitches
  4. Strategy mentors help you in understanding the markets well
  5. Assist in designing a perfect pitch in gaining investor visibility
  6. Give you a third-eye view to the strategy designed
  7. Help you achieve optimum levels in execution
  8. Connect you with other stakeholders of the ecosystem to scale up
  9. Help to turn into a brand faster
  10. Be a pillar of support in crisis or when you are bogged down
  11. Believe in your dream as much as you believe in it

What should a Mentee look in a Mentor:

  1. Mentor must be interested in the vision of the company
  2. Easily accessible
  3. Allocate regular time spans for discussion
  4. Well-connected
  5. Not very demanding
  6. Must have a unique portfolio with no duplication
  7. From entrepreneurship background with a learning curve in the resume, an advantage
  8. Should be able to carry the brand at necessary meetings
  9. Well communicative

Should I pay the Mentor: Well nothing is free, why should someone spend their valuable time on us? However the industry has many trends of paying a Mentor. It could be a fixed fee per month or a consultation charge per meeting.

However, if there is zero budget, maybe some commercials to take care of their conveyance and a small equity in the StartUp, would be an ideal proposition. By giving equity the Mentor would have more ownership responsibility and strive harder to monitor the growth hacking process. Having a mentor on the board also plays a vital role in attracting investors in the funding rounds.

With due reverence to esteemed mentors, the underlying quote for the day is by having a mentor on board, half the battle is won, but the rest depends on shear innovative smart work only.

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