Get a Mentor or Go Home

Today’s post is written by Anand Thaker, Atlanta Tech Village’s Mentor Committee Chair and all around solid dude. We are proud to have him.

Resolute entrepreneurs develop committed mentor relationships.

We’ve had a tremendous couple of years evolving the mentor and advisor program at the Village. In 2017, the team and I will be focused on ensuring that every founder at the Village can identify at least one dedicated mentor relationship. I feel it’s just too damn important that serious entrepreneurs in Atlanta learn how to find and develop such relationships. That mentor certainly doesn’t have to be one in our program; however, if you need one, the Village has one of the strongest pools and most sought after mentors in the metro area.

While the school of fail fast, fail cheap is a laudable one, failing on the right things matters more. To do that, you must recognize when you might need support can make the difference between a false start and strong momentum. More mature startup ecosystems recognize that greater success is in the skill and discipline to maintain a mentor relationship(s).

Let’s cover a few reasons why most successful entrepreneurs have mentors:

Greater Credibility

“Surround yourself with the dreamers and the doers, the believers and thinkers, but most of all, surround yourself with those who see the greatness within you, even when you don’t see it yourself.” – Edmund Lee

An increasing number of startup investment decisions now incorporate your support network, adaptability and evidence of handling a recovery. This comes at time where the noise of the startup ecosystem is at an all-time high. Check out this study by Endeavor Insight on New York City startups, the second largest ecosystem, and their respective performance. Who would you invest in?

Navigating Failure

“We need to accept that we won’t always make the right decisions, that we’ll screw up royally sometimes — understanding that failure is not the opposite of success, it’s part of success.” – Arianna Huffington

Being an entrepreneur founder or co-founder can be lonely. Failure, regardless of the caché, is a painful lesson. While stories of a comeback are famous, what’s not often told is the road to recovery. We are entrepreneurs, and we should thrive on this rollercoaster, right?

Not only would you have lost on time and money but even more importantly, the consequences to your energy, confidence, and well-being. This is one of those cases where having more than one mentor can make a difference. One who knows your business. Another who knows you. Both who are there to be there for you if you let them.

Breakthrough

“I remember saying to my mentor, “If I had more money, I would have a better plan.” He quickly responded, “I would suggest that if you had a better plan, you would have more money.” You see, it’s not the amount that counts; it’s the plan that counts.” – Jim Rohn

What did hundreds of mentors believe their primary purpose is to founders? Accelerate them to break through.

According to Pitchbook from ‘15 to ‘16, fewer number of VC investments in the US are being made (22% lower) and each round is taking longer to close (15% longer on average and 33% longer at the median). It matters more than ever that ideas are not only executed well but are larger in scope and impact. CB insights conducted a post mortem of startup failures:
So far, nearly half relate to no market need and the other half good help could overcome. A mentor could easily help you navigate many of these issues.

I’m constantly reminded by other mentors that sometimes as founders, we do not create enough wind beneath our wings as we build the airplane after jumping off the cliff (Hoffman, Linkedin). We need to be jolted, kicked, inspired and simply reminded. This is what a mentor can and should do for you.

Go Big or Go Home

The Village Mentor and Advisor Program team wants to reinforce your momentum. In our ‘Go Big or Go Home’ series this year, we are focusing on topics where most entrepreneurs find themselves needing more acceleration or reframing to think bigger.

  1. High-Growth Talent Management Challenges & Opportunities
  2. Reframing: How to Think Bigger and Execute
  3. Entrepreneurial Advantage: How Mentors Matter

We invite you to join us. Improve your odds, develop a mentor relationship, break out your startup, and start off the new year with greater possibilities.

Who is in your passenger seat through your journey?

 

For more information about the Village Mentor and Advisor program, please reach out to Raleigh.Thornton@atlantatechvillage.com.