An entrepreneur’s life is tough and unpredictable. Often, you are faced with many doubts and challenges. At times, you even find yourself lurching from problem to problem! Against this backdrop, having a mentor or two on board your venture can benefit you tremendously.
A mentor is a priceless resource for any company, especially for companies that are in the startup stage. However, in India finding a good mentor is difficult. In fact, I’d even say that entrepreneurs in India can probably access funding more easily than they can find good mentors!
A good mentor can add enormous value to an enterprise. If an entrepreneur can benefit from mentoring, his/her chances of success (and the scale of success) are very likely to be higher than otherwise. At a nationwide level therefore, we need thousands of very good mentors to support our booming base of entrepreneurs. This is true especially now, when the startup scene in India is seeing explosive action.
As an entrepreneur, you may be wondering: ‘how exactly will a mentor add value to my company?’
Here is how.
If there is something wrong with the business (such as a weak process, poor accounting standards, and a bad marketing plan, whatever) he will point it out to you and nudge you to take corrective action.
A mentor’s questions could pertain to the business model itself, the definition of target customers, the customer acquisition cost, the delivery times and SLAs, the time taken for the business to break-even, the extent of capital investment needed, the systems and processes being adopted, ….anything. For instance, I have seen mentors advise entrepreneurs to temporarily apply brakes on their efforts to develop the ‘perfect’ product and instead, go get their first set of paying customers.
The mentor will also pat you on the back once in a while for a job well done or for a milestone achieved, thereby egging you on further.
The mentor has a big role to play in calibrating your tempo, curbing your impatience and helping you keep the faith.
In sum, a good mentor keeps his cross-hairs firmly on the interests of the business and from time to time, gives you the necessary inputs. And so, if you haven’t brought a mentor or two on board your company yet, do it right away!
(In referring to mentors, I have used the masculine gender merely for ease of writing and not because of a gender bias!)
Ganesh Vancheeswaran is a Marketing professional, writer and mentor to entrepreneurs. BHAAG!, his book on student entrepreneurs of India, was released recently. It is available on flipkart.com, amazon.in and bookadda.com. Ganesh lives in Bangalore and can be contacted on thewholehog(at)gmail.com and facebook.