The Success Mentality - Mentorship and its Essence in Entrepreneurial Growth
“It’s good to learn from your own mistakes. It’s better to learn from other people’s mistakes.” - Warren Buffett
In an ecosystem dominated by opportunities and choices, entrepreneurs are often left with one too many things on their plates. Juggling multiple roles, not having a clear vision, and lack of guidance and support become some of the biggest failure factors in the startup ecosystem.
Some of the biggest and most successful companies owe their success to the right kind of mentorship and advisory that’s helped them grow out of difficulties and leverage skills they did not even know they had.
From industry experts to investors, mentors come in all shapes and sizes. It could be someone who’s worked in a startup’s field for years or simply someone who knows the ins and outs of running a business.
On 28th August, we hosted Pankaj Bansal, CEO, PeopleStrong to talk about the Future of Work, and this is what he had to say:
“Constantly invest in boards, advisors and mentors. The return on investment you get on their experience is priceless! Not only do they bring governance, but also help you get a market reach; the critical rational view that they bring to the table is of immense value.”
Mentorship doesn’t usually come in the typical Yoda or Master Shifu fashion. It does not come in a one-size-fits-all frame. It means different things to different businesses. For instance, you can find mentorship in a senior at your organisation, or a friend who has been running a business for a while now, or simply your library, because books are some of the best mentors!
For any startup, the quality of mentorship can essentially mean the difference between their business taking off or fizzling out. The right mentorship from industry leaders and experienced players can make or break a business at any stage.
From early-stage ideas to full-fledged startups, mentorship at each step of the way is a key resource that can be a future-defining tool if leveraged properly. As a startup evolves, it might witness a fluctuation of growth. In this stage especially, mentorship not only helps stabilise this growth but helps identify factors that can sustain this growth. In the life of any business, mentorship is all-pervasive.
Mentorship does not just teach entrepreneurs the textbook “rules of success”, it teaches them the rules of life, the rules you play the big game by.
UIncept also had its Pitch Day on 31st August where we had eight of our startups from the acceleration cohort pitch their ideas to angel investors and investors from VCs. Here’s what the investors had to say about the value of mentorship.
“When a startup builds a good board of mentors and advisors, it helps them get into the right ecosystem. It has a lot to do with working closely with seasoned players in the industry, even incubators and accelerators, as it builds management capacity in founders that helps them in the long run.” - Abhishek Hegde, NSDC
With digital forms of communication booming by the second, a mentor doesn’t necessarily have to be at a stone’s throw distance. Now, entrepreneurs can connect with fellow entrepreneurs and learn digitally. Mentorship has taken a whole new form in the last decade as we have seen technology evolve and enable seamless communication across the globe.
“One of the major reasons early-stage startups fail is due to the lack of mentorship. A person who is just starting out being guided by someone who has gone through the journey can help increase the chances of success. In the idea stage, more than capital, it is the guidance and mentorship by people who have built companies in that domain, that is important. There is plenty of capital available, but high-quality mentorship is still scarce.” - Saurabh Chopra, Central Square Foundation
Young, ambitious entrepreneurs with brilliant minds often fail at some of the most lucrative ideas because they don’t foresee obstacles, they don’t see the bigger picture, or because they think that their method is the only right one. Mentorship from masters in industries and fields can help entrepreneurs grow beyond their horizons to make decisions from views they didn’t even know existed.
“Mentorship is absolutely critical for startups. It’s a tough journey where the first 2-3 years are the most important. Mentorship essentially prepares startups to get through difficult times. It is very helpful to see someone who has been through this journey over time. Having mentors by your side gives you experience that you can only gain with time. It is the most important thing for an early-stage startup.” - Mayank Batheja, Credenc.
The oldest form of education in the world, mentorship has driven some of the biggest heroes like Alexander the Great out of adversity and into conquering the world. (His mentor, Aristotle, was credited by Alexander numerous times saying he was more grateful to Aristotle for his wisdom than his father Phillip II for bringing him life.)
Imagine what it can do for a business that wants to dominate an industry?
UIncept is India's premier startup incubator and accelerator-based out of Gurugram, India. In our pursuit to create startups that become the disruptors for tomorrow, we provide mentorship, investment and growth opportunities to the young entrepreneurs who work with us at our campus. Learn more about us and our programs here.