Commentary

I'm A Mentor, You're A Mentor -- We All Need One

People don’t know how hard it is to build a business -- a real and interesting one.

There is so much noise on the web these days -- from -- from social trendy companies to yet another image-sharing company -- it’s almost easy to get confused.

One of the better CEOs I know here in New York, who runs MySuperMarket.com, tells me something I relate to: that a real and interesting business is one where you can see a path into $50 million a year in revenue. It doesn’t have to be next year, but there should be a path. 

Even the most hyped startups eventually could get to high valuations because somewhere, somehow, someone believed that while they are not monetizing now, they will in the future -- up to $50 million in monetization.

Thanks to David Tisch giving me the opportunity, I was a mentor in the New York  TechStars program that ended recently.

At first I wasn’t sure if the mentorship concept really works. Could one busy person really help another busy person? Could one piece of advice really make a difference among so much advice? Could a meeting once a month really make a dent in a product, in a business plan, in the success of a company?

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Three months in, I think the answer is yes.

If you (the reader) take a moment now to think, you’ll notice you probably have at least one mentor right now. You might not call them mentors, they might not have stock in your company, and you might see them less than once a month -- but you probably have at least one person you could call a mentor. 

If you think about it, you must be someone’s mentor right now as well. 

A mentor is a person that is there to give you a fresh, objective, and intelligent advice. It could be a question he/she asks that got you to think, or a statement he/she said that got you to wonder, or just a person you could call with any question. Trust me, it is rarely an introduction or something too tangible you could put in your commission plan.

It’s something you get to appreciate looking back, rather than looking forward to. 

Thanks to the TechStars program, I realized my mentor is probably the MySuperMarket CEO. I just never called him one.

I’m a mentor, and you’re a mentor. We all need one to build a real and interesting business.

 

2 comments about "I'm A Mentor, You're A Mentor -- We All Need One ".
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  1. Bonnie Zaben from AC Lion, November 1, 2011 at 8:04 p.m.

    Amen! We all need those people in our professional lives, to keep us sharp without having skin in the game. Have had about a 12 year relationship with my "mentor" and it has proved to be a real catalyst in my life. Not sure she would classify herself as a mentor but that is really what it is. Thanks for getting me thinking about this.

  2. Mike Mcgrath from RealXstream PTY LTD, November 6, 2011 at 8:16 p.m.

    On the relationship between mentoring & being mentored, I believe that it is s cycle. IE "learning helps you to teach and teaching helps you to learn".
    As an International skydiving coach I have mentored countless people over 15 years on the finer points of that particular discipline. In order to do that of-course I first had to seek mentor-ship from my peers within that industry.
    Having come full circle in one discipline it has since been my pleasure to become the student once again, this time as an entrepreneur seeking mentor-ship from successful people in traditional and new media.
    Perhaps the biggest difference I see as a mature student of my chosen discipline is that I am increasingly prepared to receive advice, better equipped to make sense of it and ultimately better prepared to then share it share it with others.
    So perhaps with experience the cycle of being mentored and mentoring gets faster as we do more of it...?

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