Just because a bird has wings, that does not mean it can fly; this is the rule, not the exception. Every startup should have at least one mentor who is an experienced person in the industrial vertical they have chosen to work within.
Mentoring is one of the most valuable resources an incubator can offer an entrepreneur.
Mentoring makes it easier for an entrepreneur to overcome the known and unknown challenges of a startup based on the knowledge and experiences of the mentor through their help with coaching, counselling and providing direction. Mentoring provides you with an objective perspective to assist in dealing with frustration, giving constructive criticism, crossing obstacles etc etc.
In the early stages of any startup, entrepreneurs often get carried away by the blind belief that it is their idea that will build the company. Very often, friends and family around will share the belief, which often leads to complacence on the part of the entrepreneur himself. Every entrepreneur needs an unbiased friend, someone who understands their idea and can hold their hand through the challenges involved in converting their idea to a marketable product. You have a friend in a mentor.
Knowledge acquired from experience is priceless. In the process of learning, one does fall many times; this stands true for entrepreneurs and startups who, due to the lack of experience, face hurdles which seem gigantic but when faced with experience turn out to be nothing but a little bump in the road. Mentors, through the knowledge acquired from experience , help startups and entrepreneurs foresee, face and overcome obstacles which would come their way on the road to success.
When founders come together to build a startup, conflicts often arise between them. Generally the founders hold the top management and often enough there are no colleagues to mediate a conflict to a satisfactory end. A mentor has walked this line many a time and experiences in life do teach one how to resolve these conflicts without it affecting the flow and growth of the company. A mentor is everyone’s favorite colleague because their only interest is that you succeed.
Time is money and a mentor’s greatest investment in a startup, second only to their knowledge transfer, is time. A mentor, without vested interests, spends large amounts of time with startups and their founders, understanding their shortfalls, strengths, weaknesses, goals, desires, aspirations, etc. to help them establish the startup in line with their vision and mission. In the process of investing their time, the mentor turns a part of the startup’s family and in essence a partner in their success.
A mentor is an indispensable part of today’s startups. In the rapidly developing world, there is not enough time to make mistakes, find solutions, cross hurdles through your own experience and why try when you can learn from an experienced person? A good mentor will be a Your Friend, Teacher, Colleague & Partner all in one and will help an entrepreneur lead a startup to success.
In short, successful startups need to be Mentored to Perfection.