Mentors are accomplished people that agree to help a startup company and are generally successful and/or retired executives, business owners, service providers, professors, or others that could help the startup business grow. A highly valued asset, mentors are an entrepreneur’s most controllable factor in business. Often having the right mentor is the difference between success and failure.
Mentors can discuss key business matters as your venture grows, ensure the founders are making the best decisions at the right time, and may even have the ability to invest in the startup company, but often their most valuable contribution beyond knowledge is the mentors’ large, high quality networks of individuals and their game changing introductions. It is important to nurture and protect this relationship as you would any other investment to ensure your success.
Here are three ways to maintain a successful relationship with your mentor:
- Take Action. The best way to show a mentor how appreciative you are is to take massive action on his/her advice. Actively implementing their insight shows that you take your mentor relationship seriously.
- Respect Their Time. Mentors are busy, successful people. Defining your objectives before a meeting will show that you value your mentor’s time.
- Add Value. Awesome mentors have become “awesome” because they value brain stimulation. It’s that thirst for knowledge that often leads them to success. You can add value to the relationship by opening up your network, introducing a new perspective on an industry-related trend, or even teaching them something new.
Mentors love to help others succeed but the key is to not always be on the receiving end of this rewarding relationship. Don’t be afraid to ask for help but be prepared to receive feedback, act on it, and contribute your own insight. They are there to help you grow and push you beyond boundaries. Using this experience to evolve while also allowing the opportunity for your mentor to grow will help you flourish in your mentor relationships.
Al Pickett is a veteran of the real estate finance industry. At the age of twenty-four he purchased his first company in a strategic buyout. He currently operates a private investment firm. He is also building a network of business mentors for new entrepreneurs through Start Co., a venture development organization that develops founders and their companies.
He can be reached at email@example.com