The More You Can Do For Your Mentors, The More They Will Do For You
Two things worth remembering: when they’re mentoring, they may not be on company time – and you may have more to offer them than you think. Mentors are usually driven by a combination of both professional and more personal reasons. Corporate mentors may have been assigned to participate. VC mentors may be their fund’s person responsible for tracking your program. The individuals, however, may be looking for something more personal
Are Your Mentors Planning Their Next Career Move?
The corporate pyramid narrows sharply at the top and the pressure from below is unrelenting. It’s not every associate that makes partner. We don’t all make it to the next rung on the ladder we happening to be climbing right now. Time spent looking for the next thing is often well spent.
Match your investors with people they should know – people they can help and be helped by in return. Give them insight and show them new trends. Your mentor might not a standard “startup type”. Being associated with you can give them credibility with hard to describe concepts like ‘innovation’ or ‘disruptive technologies’.
Get Mentor Buy-In By Helping Your Mentors Network
This sounds “nice-to-have”, not “must have” to most people running accelerators and mentor programs, but it’s essential. Busy program managers focus on helping their batch of startups. Mentors can be hard to schedule, hard to match with the right startup, and often unreliable. But the fact is that mentors are hard to do without. Their knowledge and network provide the capacity to scale.
Match Your Mentors With a Purpose
The focus of most mentor matchmaking is on finding the right startup for them to help, but this is just the first step. Think through how to match mentors with each other – and with your sponsors and partners. Your mentors often match perfectly with your partners looking for trends, intros to startups, and insights into innovation.
Help Fill Your Investors’ Pipelines
Simply by virtue of their numbers, your mentors together see more startups than you do, even when you’re actively recruiting. Matching your investors and your mentors is a perfect way to give both parties interesting leads. Your investors are looking for interesting pipeline and they can provide all sorts of help to your mentors.
Help Your Mentors Help You
Helping your mentors help themselves can also teach you interesting things about the market. Working with startups, especially tech startups, means living in a world where the new is everyday and innovation is a given. That’s not how things work elsewhere.
There is a lot of value in finding out what problems people want help solving – and one way to do that is to offer to help your mentors solve their own professional challenges. Mentors who see a personal benefit are more likely to commit to your program – and you can help make that happen.