This article is sponsored by TiEcon.
“The single-most important determinant of success is your ability to surround yourself with capable team members, advisors, and mentors.” - Dr. V. Premnath and Soma Chattopadhyay, Venture Centre.
As a startup founder or early-stage entrepreneur, when was the last time you felt you didn’t know what to do, but kept pushing on anyway? When did you last feel like some useful, timely counsel could have saved you time and resources?
An entrepreneur’s journey is often a lonely one, riddled with risk, frustration, and uncertainty. That’s when the role of a startup mentor becomes important. Whether it is evaluating your idea or advising you on business strategy, filling knowledge gaps or contributing a fresh opinion, a mentor - especially one suited to your business - could be what makes your journey easier and gives you that edge to succeed.
All businesses, more so early-stage startups, have immense value to gain from strong, experienced, well-connected mentors
Here are a few ways they can add value:
- Reaffirm belief in your ability to succeed
As a first-time founder, doubts about one’s own idea and the ability to take it to fruition are common. Friends and supporters can be few. A mentor is someone with firm faith in your ability to succeed. While they may not have all the right answers, they are the allies who could lighten your burden and make the path smoother.
- Offer a glimpse into the future
Mentors who have been in successful organisations will have seen a lot more of the world. Learning from their experiences is akin to time-travelling when you can get a glimpse of the type of challenges you will face at different stages. While every entrepreneurial journey is unique, good mentors, having lived through the entrepreneurial experience themselves, can help you identify known risks, avoid repeating the mistakes they made, and put your decisions in perspective by asking the tough questions.
- Forge connections to the right people
Mentors who have held senior roles and built and led teams in large companies are often well-connected and part of strong networks that a beginner could surely benefit from.
- Offer objective feedback
While your mentor is your personal coach and guide, they are also outsiders to your business, and thus capable of assessing it objectively and delivering unbiased judgment. They are better able to review your concept, identify your successes, and point out your shortcomings keeping their own lessons and your long-term goals in mind.
- Fast-track decision making and action
As an entrepreneur in a race against time, you are often forced to make decisions that could be hit or miss propositions. Good mentors are those who can use their own experience and knowledge to help you better gather and process information, weigh the long-term value of a decision and act on it quickly with less uncertainty.
MentorConnect - TiEcon 2016’s exclusive mentorship opportunity
TiEcon acknowledges the difference that the right mentor can make to a startup’s operational success and its efforts to scale. It employs this understanding to help conference attendees, especially startup founders and entrepreneurs, leverage the wealth of business prowess and experience of its delegates to boost their own ventures and add to their learning.
TiEcon brings together accomplished industry leaders, spanning the spectrum from senior executives of mature companies and technology professionals to high-ranking executives of global MNCs and experienced entrepreneurs who have lived through the entrepreneurial experience and are willing to share their knowledge and expertise.
Mentor Connect at TiEcon 2016 is a networking opportunity of another kind. It gives attendees an invaluable opportunity to meet with mentors – experienced entrepreneurs, TiEcon speakers and TiE Charter Members ready for the challenge of mentoring. At Mentor Connect 2016, entrepreneurs can pick an expert mentor best suited to their domain from among global leaders in the hottest industries, introduce their startup ideas at a roundtable discussion, exchange feedback, learn from the mentors’ entrepreneurial journeys, and explore avenues for a more sustained professional engagement.
Affirming the one-of-a-kind opportunity TiEcon offers, Sandy Carter (General Manager, Cloud Ecosystem and Developers at IBM) says, "I'm excited to be back at TiEcon this year for another great opportunity to meet with entrepreneurs who dare to dream, change and inspire. The future belongs to entrepreneurs, and TiEcon provides a powerful stage for innovators from around the world to be recognized while also learning from experts on the latest cloud-based tools and disruptive technologies that can take their business to the next level."
Mentoring is a two-way street that can create win-win situations for both parties. Mentees who learn from the expertise of their coach and mentors give back to the entrepreneurial community by sharing their insights. TiECon 2016’s Mentor Connect promises to strengthen the international entrepreneurial ecosystem by bringing industry top dogs closer to young entrepreneurs by offering opportunities for mutually fruitful relationships.