Mentoring Entrepreneurs: 5 Types of Mentors for Entrepreneurial Success

Asking advice and ideas and bouncing it off to colleagues every day is essential for entrepreneurial success. This can be mentally taxing, especially when entrepreneurs receive daily updates from operations, finance, marketing, and other departments.

Talking to someone or taking help alleviates the daily grind from becoming daunting and overwhelming. When entrepreneurs have access to mentors, it can significantly influence performance.

Here are five kinds of mentors that entrepreneurs must find to have a positive impact on their business.

The Successful Entrepreneur

According to Endeavor’s research, new entrepreneurs are three times more likely to be top performers when they take advice from successful entrepreneurs who would have learned the tricks of the trade.

The guidance they can offer can include critical skills in scaling the business, securing partnerships, and other activities. So, new entrepreneurs must actively engage with successful entrepreneurs for timely advice.

Did you know? 33% of the entrepreneurs mentored by successful entrepreneurs become top performers.

The Industry/Domain Expert

While new entrepreneurs take guidance from successful entrepreneurs in scaling up the business, on the one hand, they must parallelly network with industry experts to understand regulatory and technical challenges. Industry experts will offer strategic advice and introduce entrepreneurs to customers and partners.

For example, when a robot company Sphero launched its products, the robots supposedly lacked character. Their mentor Bob Iger, the then CEO of Disney, told them that people identified with characters, not technology.

Sphero learned to create an identity for their robots and leveraged Iger’s expertise in storytelling. Their relaunch was a hit among customers and catapulted the company higher. This resulted in a partnership with Disney to commercialize BB-8, a Star Wars droid.

The Sales Expert

Sales can be as equally challenging and mentally daunting as building a product. New entrepreneurs keep away from it as much as possible, especially those with a technical background.

Entrepreneurs must handle sales when the start-up is getting off the ground to gain experience. However, hiring a sales mentor who can offer critical guidance on strategies makes a huge difference.

Someone with the sales experience, such as a VP of Sales, can give critical advice to entrepreneurs on building an effective sales team, creating a sales strategy, A/B testing email messages and dealing with difficult clients.

Advice for entrepreneurs: Search for VP of Sales on LinkedIn to discover potential mentors. Next, introduce yourself or ask mutual connections to introduce you to each other.

The Customer

Entrepreneurs without a pulse into the customer side is not likely to secure a stronghold in the market. Adding a customer to their mentor pool will help them get early feedback, suggestions for improvements on products, and a pulse into the competition.

Adding value to customers’ input is always going to pay off. Even seemingly small improvements or add-ons can make a massive difference for them and will work wonders towards strengthening relationships.

The Therapist

Entrepreneurship is challenging at best. Setbacks, failures, and heartbreaks may lead to depression if not addressed early, and it roughly affects 30% of start-up entrepreneurs. Therapy sessions are as equally important for entrepreneurs as sales coaching or traditional mentorship.

Entrepreneurs could hire therapists with an unbiased perspective for mentorship. Many VC firms, according to CNBC, are recruiting therapists so that they can assist their portfolio companies. These therapists serve as advisors and help entrepreneurs combat burnout and emotional toll.

Different Voices, Different Perspectives

While the above list is an example of a formal relationship an entrepreneur can have, the most significant support in an entrepreneur’s life comes from the different voices and perspectives of the entrepreneur’s regular acquaintances. Let’s look at five examples.

  1. Lifelong friends – Talking to friends will keep entrepreneurs grounded and help them slow down. The reason is that friends teach about doing what you love and living the desired life.
  2. Critical colleague – When entrepreneurs reconnect with a colleague who is critical of them, it can give entrepreneurs the push they desire. They also get to explain their side of things to the colleague and receive constructive feedback.
  3. Fellow-entrepreneur – Finding a fellow-entrepreneur as a buddy to confide with will help entrepreneurs push each other, analyze each other’s jobs, moves, and decisions. The buddy system is also useful in passing leads and ideas to each other.
  4. The fourth group of people entrepreneurs can meet are those with skills, unlike theirs. This association could result in life-long learning critical to career longevity. It could be a humbling experience to determine how much coding or financial knowledge one may not have had.
  5. Meeting a friend who feeds a start-up soul is encouraging. They can reassure entrepreneurs that building enterprises are what they are born to do. They may give negative feedback when a product or a service is not up to the mark; however, they will celebrate every milestone or achievement.

Although finding a mentor doesn’t guarantee overnight success, it presents entrepreneurs with a better chance of surviving a rough journey. For more information and advice in finding the right mentor for you, contact Mentorcloud.