Do you know what many successful startuppers have in common? The close relationship with a startup mentor. Warren Buffet was a mentor to Bill Gates, Steve Jobs to Mark Zuckerberg and Bill Campbell to Steve Jobs. Why is having a mentor so important when it comes to making your startup grow? In business, the line between success and failure is often very thin; therefore, the more you learn from those who have been on both sides of that line before you, the better your chances of staying on the right side of it. Below you will find out what this figure is, what he/she does, why he/she is important and above all who to contact to find the best mentor for your startup.
What is a startup mentor and what does he/she do?
According to the most common definitions, a mentor is a trusted advisor or guide, a person who provides support for your career in general or for your more specific work projects; in addition, he/she gives bits of advice on life. A startup mentor, therefore, combines the different attributes mentioned above and applies them specifically to startup founders.
Mentoring has existed since the time of ancient Greece and the word was inspired by the character “Mentor” from Homer’s Odyssey. Mentoring has played a significant role over the years in Buddhism and Hinduism as well. The idea then took off in the second half of the twentieth century in the United States and in the mid-1990s it went mainstream and was promoted as a way to achieve success in business.
Nowadays, there are all kinds of mentors, but startup mentors are of a “different race”. They are professionals in the sector with many years of experience behind them; they may be sales or marketing specialists, they might offer thought leadership, work in human resources or have an understanding of the investment market. They could also be successful founders who are now willing to share what they have learned. Some accelerators and VCs use mentors to evaluate startups, to accelerate their scaleup, and some of them are becoming key players being part of startup advisory boards, and sometimes they invest in startups themselves. And the numbers don’t lie: most entrepreneurs report growth and prolonged life of their business after interacting with tutors; in other words, mentors can become your secret weapon for success.
A startup mentor is, therefore, a person who possesses across-the-board experiences and knowledge that you are seeking to acquire. Mentors have already gone through many of the failures and successes that most startuppers experience, both through their professional and personal lives and they are able to share their acquired experiences and knowledge with new entrepreneurs who no doubt need these pieces of information.
More importantly, mentors have a genuine interest in your success, they have already found success and personal fulfillment, and they feel the time has come to pass all of that on. This is what makes the relationship unique and authentic.
Does your startup need a mentor?
Many startuppers make the mistake of believing they can do everything on their own. But the truth is, no one has all the answers in their pocket. There are situations in which, along the journey towards growth, you question yourself, hesitate and you might really need help.
If you want to grow, progress, and learn as an entrepreneur, you need to recruit a great mentor. This strategic advice gives you access to knowledge and privileged powers and increases the probabilities of success more than almost anything else.
A study conducted by Endeavor, analyzing data from CrunchBase, AngelList, and LinkedIn, confirms the importance of having a mentor. This study included technology companies from New York City and revealed that “the entrepreneurs driving these startups had strong personal ties to the founders of other successful companies.” For example, Nat Turner of Flatiron Health and Chad Dickerson of Etsy were led by other entrepreneurs like Brian O’Kelley of AppNexus and Caterina Fake of Flickr.
The result of these relationships is quite powerful: 33% of the founders who had mentors became top performers!
There are several benefits that come with having a startup mentor:
- Objective evaluation: A startup mentor will give you a serious and honest evaluation of your business and will show you without emotional involvement what works and what does not. Working with passion at building your business is a great thing, but you run the risk of limiting yourself to a partial view and losing some crucial points of view;
- Critical Analysis: A startup mentor will analyze your idea from every angle in order to understand its overall status. This can help uncover hidden aspects of your business and open up avenues that you may not be aware of;
- General framework: Often, working on small details can make you lose sight of the overview and its potential. A mentor can help you step back and stay focused on the core general aspects;
- New opportunities: As previously mentioned, a mentor can look at your plan from a different angle with respect to yours. As such, he will be able to see potential routes that you would not be able to find and open up new opportunities for you;
- High standards: The experience of a mentor can be invaluable when it comes to evaluating your startup, and he/she will know what to aim for. This will lead to setting higher standards for your business, so that it can grow into a successful scaleup;
- Motivation and patience: A startup mentor calls on his experience to guide you when you need to be patient. Furthermore, it is not uncommon to lose energy and feel unmotivated when the company goes through stormy phases. A mentor can be fundamental in motivating you;
- Knowledge and solutions: The knowledge of a startup mentor can be very useful in finding the right business models, the most appropriate tools and consequently the right solutions for any situation you may have to face while starting your business;
- Sounding Board: Mentors will be like sounding boards for your ideas. They can be wonderful catalysts for your personal growth;
Network: A successful mentor has an unlimited network of people who can benefit your career. Since they are already involved in your success, it makes sense that they allow you to tap into their network of people when the need arises.
- Network: A successful mentor has an unlimited network of people who can benefit your career. Since they are already involved in your success, it makes sense that they allow you to tap into their network of people when the need arises.
Startup mentor: why choose B-PLANNOW®
As you well know, the path for a startup is very difficult, albeit innovative but by its nature full of uncertainties. The role of B-PLANNOW® is first of all to make your path less uncertain and to make all the experience available over time to avoid, anticipate or at best solve possible problems.
Below is the startup mentoring program that B-PLANNOW® offers you:
- Analysis of the business model(s) with validation, analysis of the competition, the definition of buyer personas, and the creation of a lean-based MVP with proprietary tools designed ad hoc;
- Establishment of the company and/or of the innovative startup;
- Production of the pitch deck with proprietary tools designed ad hoc;
- Production of the business plan with proprietary tools designed ad hoc;
- Corporate identity study;
- Analysis of the e-commerce business model with proprietary tools designed ad hoc;
- Definition of the funding plan;
- Definition of the marketing plan;
- Opening of your own network to potential customers, suppliers, advisors, with whom the startup could work or interact;
- Connection of the fundraising activity with the ecosystem of investors (Business Angels, Club Deals, Venture Capital, Banks, etc.).
And referring to this last point, when the startup begins to enter the fundraising market to raise its first capital, investors look favorably on the presence of a mentor precisely because the perception is that of having taken the right direction.
Our mentoring service can be paid for using the “supply for equity” formula, which means that a more or less long path is defined at the end of which (or for advancement) the activity is converted into quotas defined ex ante.
Why choose the B-PLANNOW® startup mentoring program:
No matter how long you’ve worked vertically, running a business is a completely different mix of across-the-board knowledge. B-PLANNOW® will help you learn about best practices from all industries to keep your operations lean and efficient. Anticipating problems minimizes the business plan rework and helps you focus on helping your business grow now.
Creating a solid business plan at the beginning is the most critical aspect that most startups fail to create. You need to identify your business model, and revenue flows, and you need to turn your vision into numbers. This will help you create milestones, allocate expenses, forecast income, and raise funds. B-PLANNOW® will help you create a step-by-step plan to make your business profitable.
Competitive analysis and the collection of customer data will help you break down your vision into well-defined goals and create the right roadmap for it. B-PLANNOW® will help you set up your go-to-market strategy.
Knowing the market
A comprehensive understanding of the value chain or customer segmentation helps size the market and target customers. B-PLANNOW® will help you get a holistic and diversified view of the market.
B-PLANNOW® will help you identify and connect with vertical consultants, investors, or companies to partner with. They can help with national and global expansion that would otherwise be difficult and time-consuming.
Do things fast
Building a startup is a race against time. B-PLANNOW® will help you outsource certain tasks to vertical experts and in retrospect, you will find that this will have saved you countless invaluable hours.
Knowing what works and what does not
Your judgment will be clouded by the diversified workload and emotions. B-PLANNOW® will help you understand what works for your business and what does not. It will help you keep costs down and increase profits by identifying the operations and campaigns that need to be closed and those that need to continue or need further investing.
Vision towards the future
Once on the market, the game is only at the beginning. Times change and with them the surrounding environments and scenarios also change. B-PLANNOW® will help you build core values and a vision to work on building a company you had no idea could ever exist.
Data and analyses
You have access to your data and some others that you have collected over time. But B-PLANNOW® has access to many more data, it has already produced analyses for other startups and has thousands of case studies available that will more or less link directly to your business.
The consultants deal with companies of all sizes both national and international. B-PLANNOW® will help you understand the global perspective to build your product and target market.
Now that you know everything about what this figure is, what he/she does, why he/she is important, and above all who to contact to find the best mentor for your startup, all you have to do is contact us, submit your idea and find out if we can include it in our startup mentoring program!