Overcoming business challenges through effective mentoring

Overcoming business challenges through effective mentoring

Leadership & Management

Madhukar Talele

Madhukar Talele

305 week ago — 4 min read

Summary: For a startup founder, a mentor can provide valuable guidance and business insights. Madhukar Talele shares how a mentor can help to overcome certain startup challenges as well as the three questions you should ask yourself before you seek a business mentor.


"90% startup businesses fail and only 3 out of 10 businesses go from first generation to second generation."

Most startups are not ready before they start a business, and this is one of the primary causes of startup failure. The entrepreneur comes up with an idea but rarely tests the idea with potential customers, vendors etc. Besides the initial testing, it also needs to be validated whether the product idea makes sense as a sustainable business model. Finding right teammates as you move forward; creating processes that can be productively deployed in scalable set ups with available resources etc are some of the challenges that may require guidance from experienced mentors.

When entrepreneurs approach me for mentoring, I ask them the following three questions before we start the mentoring process.

1. Do you have a fire in your belly to succeed in business?
Entrepreneurs need to be self-motivated and must have a strong desire, determination and perseverance to succeed. They should perceive each challenge in business as an opportunity, and yet 90% of them surrender to this challenge. Some of them are satisfied at a very small level where the real challenges have not surfaced.

2. Are you ready to learn from experienced and qualified mentors?
Entrepreneurs with egoistic mindset believe that they know their business best and do not believe that mentors can add value. By the time they develop humility and listening skill, a great deal of damage is already done. The only way to learn on your own is by experience and that may be very costly depending upon the situation. Besides, they also apply the same approach to their teammates and this way neither their leadership develops nor that of the teammates.

Following facts are often overlooked by entrepreneurs:

  • Entrepreneurs gradually become busy in many non-core activities and lose focus of business model
  • Entrepreneurs always have inside view of their business and are most of the time obsessed about their inside views and mental blocks. The need of outside view by independent and experienced mentor is helpful to avoid high cost experience-based learning.
  • Many mentors in the market are amateur and are neither well qualified nor have senior level business experience to lead their fellow mentees.
  • Existing team mostly lack needed qualifications, experience, vision and motivation.

3. Are you committed to Entrepreneur Performance Review (EPR)?

Most entrepreneurs think that they are on their own and are their own boss. This is a fallacy or a misconception as there are many stakeholders in business besides the founding entrepreneur operating in silos. These stakeholders may include customers, shareholders, employees, lenders, vendors, regulatory agencies, competitors, collaborators etc. Ignoring these stakeholders means a sure sign of a troubled business. Although they are not the boss of entrepreneurs, yet business owners should review their performance in light of the stakeholders’ expectations. An experienced and qualified mentor is a good resource for the entrepreneur to do an objective Entrepreneur Performance Review (EPR).

Ask yourself these three questions to determine if you are ready to learn and benefit from a business mentor.


To explore business opportunities, link with me by clicking on the 'Invite' button on my eBiz Card.

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views, official policy or position of GlobalLinker. 

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Madhukar Talele

Mentoring and CFO Services to entrepreneurs who have fire in their belly to do something great, have mindset to learn from qualified and experienced mentor and have willingness...