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Mentor Qualities Brainstorm

#1

Hey there!

In the lesson Mutual Mentorship, Michael discusses how you should come prepared with a list of qualities you’re looking for to see if it’s a fit. While we know we won’t find all the qualities we want in a mentor, coming prepared with a list gives us a starting point!

Here are some qualities that you could consider while looking for a mentor:

  • Honest
  • Invested in your sucess
  • Knowledge of industry
  • Experienced entrepreneur or investor
  • Availability (Think about this one hard! Do you need to meet once a month, or once a quarter? Do you need in-person meetings, or phone calls? What works best for both of you?)
  • Willingness to communicate
  • Positive Attitude
  • Asks questions and challenges you

What else could you look for in a mentor?

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#2

This is a great article about mentorship qualities as well!

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#3

The above list is solid and comprehensive. I would like to add a few points:-

  • Mutual Benefit: A lot of emphasis has been put on Availability above. To extend on this: Good Mentors should clearly define their commitment to the startup. They also need to define what they expect from the startup in return. Is it Free Mentorship, Equity or Cash. Based on this the time can also be committed
  • Timeline: Mentorship should always be long term e.g. 6 months. Otherwise neither the Mentor can contribute nor the Startup can gain
  • Revenue Revenue! for Startup: Nothing is more essential than Revenue for a Startup. Perspective Startup Incubators has made this a part of our Program. We provide B2B Corporate Sales for our Portfolio Startups by pitching their products to our 500+ CXO Connects, with the goal of delivering $100,000+ revenue over 6 months per startup. PSI gets a Sales Commission from this. This is a clear example of a win-win for the Startup and the Mentor. We are already in discussions for our startups with the Top 10 Banks, Mahindras, RIL etc. and have already closed a few deals for our startups.
  • Alliances: Not all our activities are Revenue motivated. E.g. We try and get our Portfolio Startups get top management introductions to Microsoft, HP, Google etc. Such alliances have huge massive impact on the Startup’s product roadmap. We have a portfolio of 50 Startups from 10 Countries and 11 Indian Cities
  • Unafraid to criticize: We are unafraid to criticize a startup. We are equally open to criticism of our advise from a startup. This open attitude is of immense benefit to the startup, and is simply an elaboration of the first point: Honesty
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#4

Samir, this was great. I love your point about nailing down a timeline - it’s so important to be on the same page about expectations for the relationship.

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#5

Hi Samir,

I agree with your first two points (Mutual Benefit and Timeline), and your last (Unafraid to criticize).

I don’t agree with the middle two points and they feel a bit like you’re selling your own services (which is not what we’re about!). A company and an entrepreneur can have great mentors that have nothing to do with selling and generating revenue, nor with making alliances. In fact, if the entrepreneur is looking for these, I would encourage clarity - this is NOT mentorship! This is really sales and busdev, and yes, entrepreneurs need advisors, Board members, and networks focused on these two critical areas. But I would not consider them mentorship: with a business relationship between startup and mentor based on cash/equity compensation, the interests may not be aligned.

And alignment is critical!!

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