Start up mentor: why you need one and where to find one


Date: 1 March 2024

A first-time entrepreneur and his mentor discuss working strategies

When it comes to starting a new business, people often believe that all they need is to know how to do their job well. This is true, but simply possessing specific or specialist skills is not enough on its own to launch and run a successful business.

It sounds banal, but it's worth remembering that an entrepreneur is not only a technician who knows his or her subject matter well. They can also manage various other aspects of the business, from marketing to personnel management and prudent financial planning to the creation of all processes and procedures.

Often, those who decide to set up their own business underestimate this. In the grip of start-up enthusiasm, they think it's enough to imitate what they have seen others doing to create a successful business. Understandably, the thought of becoming one's own boss can trigger cognitive biases that cloud one's objective perception of reality.

It's also true that without targeted support, things become much more difficult. It is in this scenario that a mentor comes into play, ie a person who possesses the necessary experience and who has a 360-degree view of business and all its aspects.

A leap back in time

In ancient Greece, the mentor played a key role in the training and development of young people. The term derives from the mythological character of Mentor to whom Ulysses entrusted his son Telemachus before leaving for the Trojan War. Mentor took on the role of guide and advisor for Telemachus, helping him to grow into a wise and valiant man.

Just like today, Mentor was an educator but also an advisor. He provided protection and was an example for Telemachus to follow. Of course, times have changed and civilisations have evolved. The role of the modern mentor is to share knowledge, expertise, advise and support, nurture networking and provide constructive feedback to the entrepreneur, while always maintaining a role as an example to follow.

Why you need a mentor

There are many reasons why a mentor can be a valuable resource for you. First, an experienced mentor in your field can help you develop your skills, advance your career and achieve your professional goals. Your mentor can give you advice on how to improve your performance, how to build a network of contacts and how to overcome work challenges.

A mentor can also help you grow as a person, not just as a professional. A mentor can help you better understand yourself, your values and your goals. They can also give you advice on how to handle stress, improve your communication and build positive relationships.

In a certain sense, a mentor protects you because they can help you avoid making the same mistakes they made along the way. They can share the lessons they learnt with you and help you make better decisions.

Again, a mentor can motivate and inspire you to reach your goals. They can help you stay focused and overcome challenges and can help you build a network of contacts in your field. They can also introduce you to people who can help you reach your goals.

There are other advantages that a mentor can offer like providing you with constructive and impartial feedback on your performance. This can help you improve your skills and reach your full potential. Obviously, your mentor believes in you, helping you develop greater self-confidence. This is one of the keys to achieving your goals in both your professional and personal life.

It must be said that not everyone needs a mentor, especially if they have received management training. But even then, having someone to confide in can be very supportive and helpful. It is important to note that a mentor never judges, but merely takes note of situations and gives his or her opinion.

How to find a mentor

Finding the right mentor is not easy because you need someone with specific knowledge of your sector. For example, if you are opening a restaurant, it's unlikely that a mentor from the construction industry will be best placed to help you. They might be able to provide basic, universal knowledge that applies to all businesses, but they will not fully understand the context in which you operate.

Fortunately, there are various ways to find a mentor. Start by searching online. There are many websites and organisations that can help you find a mentor. You can also ask around your network of contacts. You may find that you already know the right mentor who is willing to work with you. Networking events are also a great way to find the right person. There are also many formal mentoring programmes available both online and offline.

Personally, I am a big believer in one-to-one mentoring. I think that every mentee will have specific needs and gaps to work on that will enhance what they already know so they can apply it in their professional context. Group mentoring sessions, however, can be especially useful for those who are unfamiliar with the notion of business management.

Choosing a mentor

Finding the right mentor is an important step in your personal and professional growth, which is why it is important to choose carefully.

It is important that you feel comfortable with your mentor and that you can communicate openly together. You should feel able to share your ideas, fears and challenges without feeling judged and without justifying yourself.

Your mentor should have experience in your field and be able to give you practical and useful advice to help you achieve your goals.

It's important that you share your mentor's values as this will help you build a relationship of trust and mutual respect based precisely on your shared values.

Since a mentor is a person with whom you share almost everything, it is important that you have good chemistry and feel comfortable in their company. And, of course, you should be able to learn from your mentor.

Perhaps, most importantly, your mentor should be committed to helping you achieve your goals and be willing to devote time and resources to support you on your path.

Here are some questions you can ask yourself to help you decide if your mentor is right for you:

  • Do I feel comfortable with my mentor?
  • Can I communicate openly with my mentor?
  • Does my mentor have experience in my field?
  • Does my mentor share my values?
  • Do I have good chemistry with my mentor?
  • Is my mentor committed to helping me achieve my goals?

If you are satisfied with the answers to these questions, your mentor is likely to be the right one for you. Remember, your relationship with your mentor should be based on trust and mutual respect. You should feel free to express your ideas and opinions without feeling judged.

If you are not sure whether your mentor is right for you, do not be afraid to look for someone else. It is important to find a mentor with whom you feel comfortable and who can help you achieve your goals.

Copyright 2024. Rolando Alberti of physiotherapy app Tepy. Get a 10% discount on an annual subscription to Tepy using the discount code DONUT10.

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