8 Apr 2016, 17:13 — 7 min read
Last year, GlobalLinker featured an article on how having a business mentor can benefit entrepreneurs. I thought I would add my own views to this perspective and include some research on mentoring programmes for entrepreneurs.
Founders spend a great deal of time trying to raise funds from venture capital and angel investors. However, they often seem to ignore spending resources to find the right kind of mentor.
Mentors, sometimes called business coaches, are a rare breed, but they can be among the most valuable assets for your company, especially a startup. They bring in collaborative experience in specific industries and help build your business strategy around gathered analytics. Mentors have been helping several business move forward and avoid anticipated pitfalls. The best thing about mentorship is that it comes in all forms. What I mean is that you can look for mentors who have a desirable industry mix in experience, and can address each business problem on a case-by-case basis.
Business advisors have been especially helpful in fostering women entrepreneurship in the last decade. Supported by mentors, the number of women entrepreneurs has grown by as much as 54% in the last 15 years, as reported by American Express OPEN.
The right kind of mentorship has let women take the lead role in industries spanning finance, wholesale trade, healthcare, logistics and more. Mentors are more of a ‘natural fit’ for women entrepreneurs who thrive on interpersonal skills, are open to new ideas and are great listeners.
Regardless of the experience of an entrepreneur or the gender, here are some ways mentors have been helping businesses thrive and grow.
1. Every entrepreneur needs an advisor
Mentors or business coaches come with vast industry experience in specific fields and can be the best advisors for any startup.
While the new generation of entrepreneurs has the enthusiasm and the technological awareness, mentors are experts in foreseeing pitfalls, assessing the competition, identifying threats and emerging with viable solutions. They have faced the same situations before in their career, have gone through the same type of product or service life cycle, learned how to assess trends and stay open to cues from the marketplace.
2. Growth hacking and scaling up
90% of startups fail. For startups especially, getting that crucial market share can take a lot of time and, in a majority of cases, ends in failure.
Mentors can give you a reality check and encourage entrepreneurs to make smarter decisions in the crucial steps of scaling up and growth hacking.In growing markets, a head for analytics and the advice of mentors can go a long way in identifying strategic market opportunities and coming up with the right pitch to attract investors.
3. Experience matters
New entrepreneurs sometimes dig themselves a deep legal or strategic grave before they realize what they’re getting into. Mentors with the right background can help you avoid these mistakes and stay out of trouble – legally and strategically.
Often, you may need more than one business advisor to advise you on different aspects of business growth and expansion. Depending on your industry and the size of your business, mentors can go a long way in helping your grow and reach your desired goals.
Mentoring Programmes for Indian Entrepreneurs
With the growth of entrepreneurship in India, finding a mentor is no longer the ordeal it used to be. There are a large number of mentorship programmes that entrepreneurs can avail of. Here are some of them:
GlobalLinker is the ideal platform for business networking for small businesses. Members can network with peers in their industry, seek advice from experts in their field, manage their business efficiently and save with special offers & deals. Identifying mentors & advisors from within one's industry is easy on GlobalLinker.
There are several Mentoring programmes at TiE Chapters – both Group mentoring and Personal one-to-one sessions with seasoned entrepreneurs. These include “TiE Institute”, “My Story Sessions”, “Business Builder Breakfast”, Mentoring at “Business Plan Competitions” and many more.
Local chapters in major Indian cities provide more information on these sessions. TiE even has a special mentoring programme for women entrepreneurs called TiE Stree Shakti.
3. One Million By One Million
Silicon Valley entrepreneur and strategy consultant Sramana Mitra founded 1M/1M, which offers a case-study-based online educational programme, video lectures, lean, capital-efficient methodology guidance, online strategy consulting at public and private roundtables, as well as introductions to customers, channel partners and investors (pre-seed, seed, angel, VC, bank, alternative financing).
They work with IT and IT enabled services businesses and charge a non-refundable $1000 annual membership fee for unlimited usage. The core curriculum includes modules on Bootstrapping, Positioning, Validation, Market Sizing, Customer Acquisition, Team Building, and Financing. The public roundtable is a free programme accessible from anywhere in the world.
This Harsh Mariwala social initiative is a platform for entrepreneurs to learn, share and collaborate through each other's experiences and knowledge.
They form non-competitive groups of select entrepreneurs, who will "self-guide" themselves with active engagement from ASCENT Initiators and Trainers. Business should have an annual turnover beyond a minimum threshold of products/manufacturing - Rs. 2.50 crs or above.
5. Chatur Ideas
Chatur Ideas is an online platform, which claims to engage, counsel, and interconnect Indian entrepreneurs to investors, financers, and mentors in a controlled investment friendly ecosystem.
It acts as a 'virtual intellect box' where all the brilliant and ingenious entrepreneurial ideas will be scrutinized, enhanced, and mentored and will be given assistance and or possible funding. It also runs various entrepreneurial contests, which will help entrepreneurs get seed capital that will help them in financing their businesses, start ups and inventions.
For entrepreneurial mentoring programmes that are mostly focused on women entrepreneurs, download the document on Slideshare here.
Posted byPriya Florence Shah
I'm the Founder and CEO of BlogBrandz Digital LLP and the award-winning publisher of Naaree.com, a bestselling author, and online branding consultant. I help my clients...
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