3 Super Tips from Guy Kawasaki on How to Choose a Mentor for Your Startup

Whether it is your studies or your career, you always need a proper guidance in ensuring you are on the right track. When a person plans a startup, the very first thing he/she needs is a mentor. Being a novice, he/she is completely unaware of what are the dos and don’ts he/she requires to follow for his business.

Thus, having a right mentor is a must for a startup. A wrong one would spoil all your efforts, while hampering your self-confidence significantly. Famous author and speaker Guy Kawasaki, based in the Silicon-Valley, understands what an entrepreneur or startup owner goes through when he/she decides to start a business.

Kawasaki advocates startup owners must do a lot of homework to be aware of how they would understand which mentor will be right for them. The author, therefore, has come up with some of the tips to help beginners in the field of business which would surely help them choose a proper guide in the form of a mentor.

1. Mentor asks questions? It is a good sign

To find out who is the best person to take you to the right path is the way one responds to your approach. A good mentor will always come up with to-the-point and tougher questions as soon as you approach him to act as your guide. This way he/she will inspire you to achieve your goal. A good mentor will not directly tell you what should you do but only provide relevant hint so that you understand what should be your next step. He/she will share his/her experience with you to have you proper practical knowledge.

2. Evaluate your mentor’s business knowledge

Evaluating a mentor seems to be something very unusual. Taking your teacher’s examination is quite unusual. But if you really want to have a proper guide, it is one of the most important things you need to do. Ask your mentor some basic questions just to assess his fundamental business related knowledge.

Kawasaki jots down some of the questions that you, being an entrepreneur or startup owner, will be asking your to-be mentor are as follow:

  • Does a business need to divide its shares equally among the founders? The answer you should expect is negative. He/she will tell you to preserve around 25 percent of shares for future employees.
  • Should we take a bank loan for starting our business? He/she should expect him to say ‘no.’ He/she will specify that technology business does not possess liquid assets to keep as collated.
  • What revenue projections should we make to attract investors? If he/she is a proper mentor, he/she won’t encourage you to make any such projection. He will simply inspire you to approach a successful business without indicating any revenue projection.
  • Does your business need a CEO at the beginning? He/she will tell you not to hire a CEO now, but may be sometime in future.
  • Do we start recruitment process? He/she will never give his consent as it’s a startup and there’s no money to invest in recruitment process at the stage.

3. Be aware of the challenges

When you are having a discussion with a mentor, acquire more knowledge about the greatest challenges he/she faced encountered when started. As a startup founder, you must be aware of the challenges when starting a new business. If you learn from the challenges or mistakes your mentor has encountered, will help you proactively avoid similar issues.

Normally, people start searching for established or successful mentors, but it is advised to look for someone known to you, like someone for whom you have worked and you have always admired. Communicate with him/her and await response.

Guy Kawasaki is the chief evangelist of Canva, an online graphic design tool. He is on the board of trustees of the Wikimedia Foundation, a brand ambassador for Mercedes Benz USA. He was also the chief evangelist of Apple.

Susmita Pathak Mishra

Guest Blogger

Susmita works as on Online News Reporter besides being a mother of two. She has acquired a Masters degree in Journalism & Mass Communication. Writing is her hobby and she loves to listen to soft music.

Seasoned inbound marketing professional and tech blogger. Loves to write about #Marketing and #Technology. Follow me on Twitter @anibeg25