Dear All,

Someone other day wrote to me saying that he isn't able to get the mentoring resources that he needs on this platform.

Mentoring is very important in the early days (although it isn't a deal-breaker entirely). I have a special interest in this topic as I am being myself helped by at least three different mentors.

If you are an entrepreneur in seed or early-stage,

ie. you are putting together a team, or your team has an idea, business plan and is attempting to reach out to your market.

Please help me answer these questions,

Are you looking for mentoring? (yes / no), either way do share your thoughts as to why yes / no.

What do you expect from mentoring? Do try to explain in a paragraph if possible.

What have you done to get mentors so far? What strategies have worked?

How do you compensate your mentors?

I hope this thread is useful to everyone out there.

Best regards,

Santosh Dawara.

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Mentoring sounds like something valuable but the term is amorphous and your questions are helping put some structure on it. In my mind, mentoring takes a range of activities from 'sounding board' to 'indepth understanding and guidance'. To give a sense of the difference:

  • sounding board mentor - knowledgable person who listens to your context and situation, validates or questions your assumptions and points out best practices or ideas that you may pursue. It seems largely stateless (i.e. the next interaction is almost a brand new session) and has no way to gauge value other than your own intuition.
  • in-depth understanding and guidance: this should be stateful and have a periodic commitment from both parties. Work done in-between sessions is reviewed and guidance provided on the findings. Seems to require a lot more commitment from the mentor (similar to PhD advisor).

I've no personal experience with the in-depth mentors but that's what I would look for from mentors. I would love to other objectives, successes and how to programmatically engage (or be) a mentor and finally how to compensate. What are your thoughts?

I am a first-time entrepreneur at the early-stage. We have released our app ( and have gotten a few signups but want to grow fast. Yes, I am looking for mentorship.

I think mentorship for first-time entrepreneurs is crucial. The main reason I am looking for mentorship is to avoid doing stupid mistakes which are easily avoidable. Seasoned entrepreneurs are better at looking through a strategy and figure out pin-point the base assumptions in the strategy which needs validation first. For first-time entrepreneurs it becomes difficult to sometimes see objectively. 

What I expect from mentoring?

Continuos engagement. I would really like a mentor to be as involved as possible in broad decision making. In my opinion, this could be done by being on top of things, regularly asking questions or listening to what is working and what is not. This requires a greater commitment from the mentor. Prescriptive help sometimes goes a long way.

I am not sure about how to compensate mentors - I am open to ideas here. But I think for a mentor who is continuously engaged and provides contextual and in-depth guidance could be compensated with equity. Mentorship should be more than just advice. If a mentor works with you (for equity), he has stake in the company and will be more involved. Does that make sense?


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