Being an Entrepreneur can seem lonely at times. A mentor can take you under their figurative wing and ignite your creative spark!
Mentors help with a specific aspect/challenge of your business. Their time may or may not be free. There’s usually an aspect of the mentor seeing themself in the new/young entrepreneur and wanting to offer their experience.
However, bear in mind that they may not be the best person to validate your idea!
Ideas have to be validated by your potential customers. If you can get someone to pay to use your product or service, there’s your validation.
Mentors are Experts, not Generalists
Your particular product/service, market, customers and situation all differ from those of other entrepreneurs. Look for an expert in your industry or market sector, who’s been in a similar position to you, and is able to resolve the issues you’re facing. (You can get general startup advice from Business Advisors, often for free.)
Sue’s experience is in life science, particularly the veterinary market. She’s been a port of call for Post-Docs commercialising their research via University spin-outs and SME’s undertaking specific innovative projects. Sue can help in avoiding common pitfalls, with ideas, and with the right types of people for what you want to achieve, including:
- data protection, copyright, intellectual property and patents
- academic partnerships (UK and foreign)
- professional industry partnerships
- corporate partnerships (UK and foreign)
- financing: high net worth individuals and business angels, venture capital, UK and EU grants, etc.
- business plans and forecasts
- market analysis (UK and USA)
- brand creation and progression: building market channels and educational campaigns
- finding other/your next mentor/s, as your business progresses
Catalyst, not Hand-Holder
If you manage to get a mentor with 30 years experience in your industry, well done! But don’t expect an hour of their time every day (or even every week). Consider these people sounding boards for the challenges you face or the specific ideas you want to bounce around. Mentors should be catalysts for your personal and professional growth.