April 19, 2022
For many early-stage startups, their ultimate fate is decided by getting the right connections, advice and access to opportunities at the right time.
it’s no wonder that founders and startups go seek out boards of advisors and investors early in their journey. It’s a way to bring in partners early in a journey, give them a stake in the company, and gain access to real-life experience on a retainer.
Not only the early days of a startup are shaped by advisors. In more than half of the cases, advisors are actually brought in during pivots or scaling.
https://www.advisoryboardcentre.com/insight/measurement-advisory-board-best-practice-principles/Advisors come at a high cost though! Cash-compensation for advisors often ranges between $12,000 to $26,000 per year, that’s more than $1,000 per meeting on a monthly meeting cadence. If cash is not an option, advisors are often awarded around 1% of a company’s equity supply.
What’s the benefit of having mentors as part of your business strategy? Jimmy puts it simply:
Because I’ve been doing mentorships since when I started building businesses. Mentors you hire to teach you, consultants you hire to do for you.
The help of more than a dozen mentors on MentorCruise in the areas of growth, engineering, finance, leadership, strategy and even life and nutrition have helped Jimmy reach new heights with his business Vincitori.
Along the way, they were also key in keeping Jimmy’s head straight while building a business. Entrepreneurs are under stress and uncertainty all the time. The security of mentors can have a big impact on business in early stages.
Without mentors you end up brainstorming about next steps all alone. You test, test, test and fail again and again. That drains energy. I’m pretty sure the business would not be here anymore without the help of mentors.
Jimmy is not alone with this sentiment – the Startup Cemetery over at Failory teaches us that a majority of businesses end up failing because of lack of experience, bad management or the founder’s failure to pivot and grow. Not so with Jimmy, who was able to sustain, grow and scale his business.
One downside of traditional advisors is that they’ll become a larger burden to the business as you grow. The early-stage advisors you’ve brought on board in your first year and hold a nice chunk of the company are no longer as useful as they used to be.
What sets mentoring apart is the ability to grow with mentors, end collaborations when no longer needed and a flat pricing that makes it easier for mentors to ‘pay for themselves’.
Everything you spend on good mentors is going to accelerate your growth, and earn you more than you spend on it. I’m surprised by the rates I’ve been able to get high-end mentors on this platform I think the financial model is perfect.
With flat pricing, attractive subscription packages and no-strings-attached collaborations with mentors, it was easy for Jimmy and Vincitori to get help from multiple mentors and their respective areas of expertise to grow the business.
Not only that, but experienced business mentors were also able to give priceless advice to Jimmy at key moments in the business.
Without these mentorships I would not have learned that my company valuation is most likely a few millions already and that I could sell equity if I would need to to grow the business. Implementing that knowledge was already worth way more than the mentorships cost me.
In summary, mentorships can help entrepreneurs and startups in multiple dimensions:
Helping founders and entrepreneurs learn crucial information
Having someone to bounce ideas off and prevent wasting time
Gain knowledge from industry experts on how to scale the business
Keep your head straight as an entrepreneur when it gets rough
And of course, Jimmy agrees with that – “Mentorship is the way to go.”
Is mentorship and coaching only relevant to early stage startups? Jimmy doesn’t think so! As Vincitori is scaling, he changes his approach to mentoring too.
Firstly, the makeup of the mentoring board changes over time. Jimmy keeps looking for new talent on sources like MentorCruise to see if new knowledge could benefit his quickly growing business.
Secondly, as Jimmy hires new talent full-time, he connects them with his mentors and is able to fully delegate those pieces of the business to someone else. Less time is spent on hiring and onboarding, more energy is available for new initiatives and growing the business.
This is the core difference to an advisor or consultant for your business. Mentors work on a peer-to-peer basis, either with you as a founder of your team.
This will be a very good method to get more insights in your leader’s thoughts. Mentors know you, and they will also get to know your leader as well. They will be a very good person to act in between you and your leader to help, assist, while giving much extra insights about each individual and helping get the relationship to the best level possible.
Going until here is only the beginning though, for mentorship at his company, Jimmy sees a bright future – “The mentors are becoming a part of the team already, we have group sessions with everyone together and it’ll only be a question of time until we hopefully start working together on a permanent basis” – forming an invaluable hiring funnel for a startup.
MentorCruise and mentorship in general already had a big impact on Jimmy’s business. We are happy to support him and his company Vincitori throughout the whole process, from first idea to exit.
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