In Recent times, almost every other successful start-up has a founder who is still in college or a recent graduate. India itself, can boasts of some imposing and capable young student entrepreneurs. This firmly establishes the fact that good ideas don’t belong to anyone. Although it is important to know that not every student entrepreneur has it easy. A good idea, some pretty good cash and a business savvy mind can only take you so far. The most important weapon that every serious student entrepreneur must possess is a mentor.
A good mentor helps you think through a business idea, suggests ways to generate that much needed capital and provides the experience that you don’t have. A good mentor will praise you when you deserve and give you a heads-up when trouble comes, probably long before you would have noticed it yourself.
Mentoring itself is not a new concept. It has its origins dating much too back in the past. One can cite the example of the famous philosopher Plato mentored by the legendary Socrates. Or Alexander The Great mentored by Aristotle. In the much nearer past, we have finance mogul Warren Buffet mentored by Benjamin Graham. Or Marc Benioff mentored by Steve Jobs.
Thus it becomes an immensely important job to choose a mentor wisely, or even find a mentor. Some are lucky enough to find a strong mentor in their extended family itself while others have to take pains to network and find people to guide you and help you in your growth and development. Here are some pointers to help you in your quest of finding a mentor:
One cannot stress enough the fact that everyone and anyone just cannot be right mentor. An entrepreneur must first carefully consider his needs and what he expects from his mentor before moving forward.
Networking is the key to success. In the professional world, it is necessary to build contacts and relationships. Networking will help to bring you across different people and ultimately lead you to your future mentor.
Don’t just go for conventional mentors. Look beyond the usual and you might be surprised to find that ‘non-traditional’ people may actually be ideal mentors for you.
It is not necessary that your mentor might remain with you throughout you entrepreneurial journey. Some mentors are better for a short time while others are not. Be mindful to appreciate both.
You might be a self-sufficient go-getter. But for a successful mentoring relationship, project yourself as ‘mentorable’. Mentors would be of not much help if you don’t consider another opinion or viewpoint.
Show gratitude and respect to your mentors. Be thankful to them. Building relationship take time whereas burning them is just too easy.