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Are You Running a Start-Up? 3 Reasons Why You Should Embrace Mentorship

Is your start-up idea the next big thing or the new game-changer in the market? We are living in a “wow” era where every day there’s a new product or service being launched.

In the good book of life, it is said that there is nothing new under the sun. There are, however, improvements and adaptations to innovative technology.

Set yourself up for success by learning from others.

Learning gives creativity. Creativity leads to thinking. Thinking provides knowledge. Knowledge makes us great.” Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam, former president of India.

Let’s start by demystifying the fact that having a mentor or a coach means that you have problems in your company that you can’t solve and you need help.

Look at it this way: you may want to take your business in one direction, but in truth, you need to be going in the opposite direction. You need someone to help you call out to attention situations as they are.

Bouncing off ideas to a more experienced person will help you navigate through the industry to being an expert yourself.

So, if you have a great idea as a solution to existing challenges, it’s important to do research on existing solutions and see how well to improve your idea and make it a game-changer.

Only 37% of professionals have mentors, therefore to succeed, ensure you adopt these three principles.
Learn from experts
Survive and grow
Know that your network is your net worth

Mentorship and coaching are common practices in sports and Arts. Top-performing athletes and artists employ performance and psychological coaches to help them reach their optimum.
As a startup, you need to embrace the same model to help you achieve your business goals.
Why do you need mentorship?

The demand for business mentorship is driven by the changes in political, economic, social, and technological changes. All these are factors that will steer decision-making that will enable your startup to grow and thrive.

1. Learn From Experts to Thrive
Top savvy business leaders are reaping the benefits of adopting coaches and mentors. They are improving their organizational cultures and adapting new ideologies on becoming global leaders in their sectors effectively.

In his biography, Steve Jobs, the Apple founder, mentions that he mentored Mark Zuckerberg, the Facebook founder. Freddie Laker, a legendary airline entrepreneur, mentored and advised Richard Branson to make Virgin Atlantic a successful airline.

To be great, be open and willing to learn.

Experienced business coaches and mentors will offer valuable insights based on their real-life experiences. You get to know how they overcame challenges, what they did differently, and what they had to drop for them to succeed. They will profoundly boost your career trajectory.

All information shared should not be copied and pasted into your start-up. Adapt all valuable lessons and customize them to suit your business model. Your ideas should not be watered down.

Take in all that you can and make changes where necessary.

When searching for an expert mentor, it’s important to:

Evaluate their level of success based on what you are seeking to achieve for your start-up. They should be authentic in passing the baton and not feel threatened by your ideas.

Ask them the right questions and ensure that you mention upfront what you need from them.

Also, get a mentor who is aligned with your business goals. Their role should be advisory and not criticism. Bad advisors can lead to the death of your start-up.

2. Survive And Grow

As a start-up, your odds of survival in the market are up by 45%. Meaning, that your chances of closing shop are way higher than you may think.

As of 2021, 20% of start-ups fail in their first year of operation, 50% close down by their fifth year and 65% fail by their 10th year.

This should give you every reason to invest heavily in the right framework of mentorship and guidance to avoid being a start-up death statistic.

A good mentor will help you identify blind spots. They will ask guiding questions that will aid you in identifying the problematic areas in your business, as opposed to dictating what you need to do to fix the problems.

As mentioned above, searching for a mentor who is an expert in your field of interest will help you eliminate a lot of hurdles in your business.

A knowledgeable mentor will foresee and advise you on various policy frameworks, business practices, and strategies that will guide your business from infancy to growth.

Family businesses that have been existing for more than 100 years have embraced this art of mentorship for survival. Heimerdinger’s was started more than a century ago and still continues to operate under the founding families.

Their long-term approach is simply a business passed down from one generation to another, with 98% of employees being family members.

To ensure business growth, avoid being complacent. Embrace a mentorship culture in your business.
There should be a ripple effect in mentorship such that it’s not just founders who are being mentored, but there are employee-to-employee mentorship programs adapted.

Reverse mentorship is a gear ahead for your business and employee growth where senior employees train and mentor junior employees. These mentoring relationships have proven to boost employee morale and helped develop a strong sense of confidence in themselves.

With the gig economy, only 68% of millennials will stay at their current jobs for more than 5 years if they have a mentor and are satisfied with their jobs.

With the advancement in technologies, a lot more companies are embracing videos as a way to mentor, train, and retain business information for generations to come. This way, company traditions are passed down from one generation to another, thus the futuristic vision of any company.

For your company to survive,

Embrace mentorship as a stepping stone to modeling the right path for business growth. 84% of employees who are mentored offer more value and are happier and capable of making decisions

Be open to learning, advice, criticism, and adopting new ways of doing business

Don’t be rigid. Always look for opportunities to better your staff, better your solutions and don’t be afraid to make mistakes.

3. Your Network Is Your Net Worth

Imagine having a lunch meeting with your mentor and you mention how your business would benefit from the good press. You rumble on and on about how getting on Tv would boost your credibility and so on. He laughs and says, let me help you set up a meeting with one of the producers on a TV station.
Wow! just like that you said it and he helped you meet one of your company’s PR activities.

Mentors are resourceful. They will offer guidance not just on ideologies but on meeting the right decision-makers who can help steer your startup to great heights.

Ever watched Shark Tank? Whenever startups pitch their ideas to the four sharks they seek a mentor who will not just offer financial muscle but will introduce their business to their various networks of business moguls.

Some of these networking opportunities happen in a very casual and easy-setup meeting. Mentors will introduce their mentees to their friends and beam with pride whenever they appear knowing that they feel honored and respected.

Keep in mind that mentors are individuals who are well-connected and have circles of business support that can be extremely important to your start-up. Ensure you learn how to tap into their network.
Don’t be shy to ask your mentor for an introduction to anyone who you feel is a right fit for your business.

Whenever networking through mentors, keep in mind that:

Most business support happens through referrals. If introduced by your mentor to his friends, you are more likely to succeed by gaining new customers or investors.

If you have a good product or service, your mentor will advise you on what they feel would be a right fit for your business and what they can bring to the table to expand your business.

Being network resourceful is paramount to elevating your start-up, therefore, attend as many networking events as possible, especially if invites are through your mentor

It’s difficult to exhaust the importance of having a mentor for your startup. There are creative ways you can get to meet mentors, such as volunteering.

If you are looking for a long-term solution for your company’s growth, ensure you embrace learning and relearning from your experience as well as from people who have been there, done that, and succeeded.
Whether as a startup founder or manager, ensure that you seek and learn from experts. They will add value to your business.

To survive and grow your startup, make it a priority to focus on strategies that have worked in the past and learn from the mistakes. Take the key lessons and let them be a stepping stone for your business.
Lastly, who you know and how you know them will build your company.

Remember, some mentorship relationships develop naturally and in other cases, you may need to take a leap of faith and ask someone to be your mentor.

Ensure that your relationships are nurtured. Whether it’s investors, customers, or even mentors, they have the power in building your business through their networks if they feel that you have their interests at heart.

Wanjira Maganjo

Lover of life, writer, content creator, SEO business blogger, and copywriter. PR and Communication enthusiast! Experienced Commercial Coordinator with a demonstrated history of working in the media production industry. Skilled in Project Management, Team Leadership, Competitive Intelligence, Strategic Planning, and Marketing Strategy. Strong Communications professional with a Bachelor of Arts In Communication focused on Public Relations, Advertising, and Applied Communication from St Pauls University Kenya

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