From Monday, 24 August until Friday, 28 August 70 international mentors will hold 200 online roundtable sessions covering topics from business strategies and finance to people and growth. Registration opens on 31 July on the first-come-first-served basis. Each startup pass holder can apply for up to three online mentoring sessions.
Why are mentors essential for early-stage startups?
It’s safe to say that most early-stage startups seek investments from day one to get their businesses growing faster. However, investors expect proven results such as team competence, traction, technology innovation, and market development that not every startup is actually able to demonstrate when starting with fundraising.
There might be many different puzzle pieces missing or just one, so at this stage, honest and straightforward mentorship from an experienced business mind might become a life-changing turning point.
Most of us have never learned growth hacking, creating go-to-market strategies or preparing for due diligence.
Practice makes perfect, wrong turns help find the right direction and expensive mistakes create a good ground for thought-through strategies. Instead of solely relying on a trial-and-error approach, guidance from more experienced folks is essential in doing anything for the very first time.
Accessible business advice
At that early stage, founders don’t usually have a team full of top talents who can bring the best knowledge and practices.
Mentoring can make up for months wasted on reinventing the wheel and money spent on individual business consultancies, workshops and conferences. In the case of a good match, mentorship can become a long-term relationship.
Every business is people’s business. A broad personal network creates more business growth opportunities.
Most mentors are well-connected. They know people from the industry and community who have the potential of joining the team or becoming an early adopter, a partner, or an investor.
Building one’s personal network is a long-term game and access to a wide pool of mentors and their connections can give the necessary head start on speeding up the startup’s growth. Long-term game to build up your personal network and reputation and your startup needs growth already now.
Motivation and the big picture
Building a startup means constant multitasking and the increasing number of daily challenges can soon become overwhelming – changes in consumer mindset, new distribution channels, technology, regulations, etc. It all could drag a founder into an operational routine and make them lose focus. Speaking with a mentor can help with slowing down and seeing the big picture. They will also ask straightforward questions regarding the business model, target customers, the customer acquisition cost, KPIs, the systems and processes being adopted etc. This reflection can help with re-strategizing while also boosting the motivation levels both in leadership and the wider team.
While every founder knows that they’re building something big, most new startups are still relative wild cards on the field. The visibility and public reputation can easily be backed up by mentors. Mentoring itself and mentor’s endorsement can help strengthen the startup’s profile and ensure recognition and social proof as a side effect.
Possible challenges to turn to a mentor:
- Signs of no product-market fit ( Paula Gould, Liis Ristal)
- Building your sales funnel – must-haves (James Isilay, Andy Farquharson)
- No-BS marketing framework for startups (Andrus Purde)
- Getting the maximum value out from your investors (Anette Nordvall)
- Managing conflicts? (Vicky Brock, Tor Odland)
All mentors are up here.
Written by Polina Medvedieva