Why a Startup-Mentor Can Work Miracles for Entrepreneurs

Mentors come in all shapes and sizes, both formal and informal. There is more than one mentoring strategy, but generally speaking, mentors help us grow and get to the next level. When faced with challenges, some of the most famous entrepreneurs in the world have reaped the benefits of having expert advice to provide insights and options. For hospitality startups and startups in general, it’s this kind of guidance that can help turn your business into a success.

An Influential Mentor can Transform You

When the founder of Apple Inc., Steve Jobs, met Robert Friedland at Reed College, USA, back in the 1970s, no one would have dreamed that their friendship would later become the bedrock of one of the most influential computer companies in the world. Friedland and Jobs hit it off straight away, spending many weekends at Friedman’s millionaire uncle’s apple farm.

However, it wasn’t just the name of his famous company that Jobs got from Friedman. Robert became his startup mentor and caused a serious change in Jobs’ attitude. The international financier and founder of Ivanhoe Mines — a Canadian public company listed on the New York, NASDAQ and Toronto exchanges—turned Jobs from a shy and closed off introvert into an extrovert and all-round creative leader. Finally confident, Jobs was now ready to express his brilliant ideas openly.

[selectivetweet]How influential is a Startup Mentor? Just ask Steve Jobs #StartupMentor #FoodStartups #SteveJobs[/selectivetweet]

The Benefits of Mentoring

This compelling friendship between a mentee and his mentor highlights the importance of mentorship for any startup business. For a startup developing digital solutions for the hospitality sector, a mentor could take many different forms. They could be a chef with first-hand industry experience or an expert in online marketing. The bottom line is that a mentor is someone who has industry connections and paves the way for you to actively maintain those connections.

A Mentor Can Give You a Wider Perspective

It’s easy for a startup founder to fall into the trap of thinking, “I’m on top of the world and know everything.” Unfortunately, this attitude can prevent entrepreneurs from spotting holes in their business plans. Your mentor can come to the rescue, because she or he will see what you cannot.

By introducing you to a wide network of valuable business contacts, your mentor will ensure that you soon have an address book full of people who can help solve most problems faced by startups. This will not only have a positive effect on your business, but also your well-being. According to a study by researchers at Northern Illinois University, being mentored can reduce stress and burnout and provide mentees with a greater sense of confidence and self-efficacy.

Why is Mentorship Key to Top Performance?

Here are a few examples of the positives of having a business mentor

  • Mentors offer advice specific to an industry that is based on years of trial and error. They know what it takes to succeed in business.
  • According to a study by Endeavor Insight comparing the performance of New York- based tech companies, 33 percent of founders that were mentored turned into top performers (compared to only 10 percent of entrepreneurs without a mentor).
  • Mentors have access to a larger pool of investors and therefore provide a greater chance at achieving investment.
  • Inspiration. Mentors have been there and done it. They can pick you up when you are down and help relate difficult challenges you face to hurdles that they have overcome in the past.

[selectivetweet]4 Reasons why #Mentorship is Key to Top Performance #StartupMentor[/selectivetweet]

Let’s ask one of our startup mentors – Ian Millar

Ian Millar is a mentor at the METRO Accelerator and senior lecturer of hospitality technology at the Ecole hôtelière de Lausanne. We asked the British business mentor about the key issues of successful mentoring.
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What makes you think you are a good mentor?

Ian: I think having industry knowledge and being a bit geeky helps. Also, having spent 15 years teaching the younger generation, I feel I know what works and doesn’t. It’s a fine line between doing too much for them and not doing enough. Being helpful, but at the same time, challenging.

How do you think a startup can profit from your mentoring?

Ian: By using me as a sounding board. Being in education, you get to know what works and what doesn’t in terms of communication.

Why are you involved in mentoring – what’s in for you? Aren’t you busy enough?

Ian: Yes, I am busy, but I get great pleasure from doing this. As a professional, it is my duty to raise the overall level in our industry. “A rising tide lifts all boats.” For example, in terms of digitalization, that is what we must do for the HoReCa industry.

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Startup mentoring is Like a Love Affair

Once you have identified how crucial it is to utilize the expertise of a mentor, the next question is: where do you find a business mentor? METRO Accelerator has several mentors with impressive connections within the hospitality industry. Mentoring is not a lifelong partnership, it’s about going through the motions. Industry access and help may be developed, but this is not a must. Mentoring is like a love affair.

Check out this interview with our Mentors Michael Levie, Lyle Worthington and Ian Millar

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