Spiegel Sohmer

Spiegel Sohmer is a firm of attorneys offering state-of-the-art expertise to a diversified business clientele seeking solutions that are innovative, concrete, and pragmatic. Our firm groups some forty five attorneys who concentrate principally within three broad specialties: business law (including Intellectual Property), tax law and litigation.  Spiegel Sohmer has extensive experience representing companies at all stages of their life cycle, from start up through to exit, and also represents a wide array of investors.
www.spiegelsohmer.com

National Bank

National Bank helps home-grown businesses expand by offering them personalized service and banking solutions adapted to their needs. We strive to develop integrated, diversified and innovative business solutions that will meet the needs of your business at every phase of its existence. We offer a full range of financial services to individual clients, SMEs and large companies. Whatever your sector of activity, our team of experts will be able to advise you and assist you with every stage of your business growth. www.bnc.ca

Why Most New Entrepreneurs are Not Ready to be Mentored

Posted by Amity Sims on 2014-03-09

Founder Feedback gives you insight from the startup trenches.

In this post from his Tropical Gringo blog, Managing Partner at Socialatom Ventures and Director of the Bogota Founder Institute, shares his experience as a startup mentor in Colombia. 

Below, an excerpt of How to find a good mentor for your startup has been republished;

 

"Because of what I do, I have the opportunity to actually mentor startups.

Each year, I probably listen to over a hundred business ideas (usually for startups), or pitches of ongoing startups. After listening to these, I normally communicate my thoughts, which sometimes include my suggestions to the entrepreneur. It’s up to the entrepreneur whether they’d like to take this advice or not.

Many entrepreneurs are surprised when I convey my philosophy on the importance of mentors. 

What I truly believe is that an entrepreneur's best mentor is their customer. 

In other words, actually finding out what a customer is willing to pay for, or what a user is willing to spend time on.

After the customer, the next most important thing is the vision of the CEO and the founding team (whether evolving or coalescing), and then finally, third, comes listening to mentors.

I’m not saying that mentors can’t and don’t make a big difference. In fact, I’ve seen first hand when entrepreneurs who have taken my own advice have translated it into incredible business results and/or million dollar fundraising success.

What I’m saying and what I truly believe is, if you have a strong team that knows how to test things in the marketplace, and a solid leader with an inspiring vision for the company, then that foundation will greatly increase your ability to interpret and execute on good advice.

As a recent Business Insider article highlighted, most of the technology visionaries we can think of had one or more mentors which helped them along the way. Nonetheless;

Even if the right mentor comes along, many entrepreneurs are just not ready to be mentored.

In Colombia, a lot has changed in the past two years. Many international mentors have visited the country, and I’ve seen the following four types of entrepreneurs; 

  1. Entrepreneurs who are "rudderless", get confused with advice from so many mentors, and are ill equipped to translate the advice into action;
  2. Entrepreneurs who have become addicted to interacting with “celebrity” mentors without building the strong "foundation" I described above, and are thus immune to advice from “mere mortal” mentors (their prospects are clearly limited);
  3. Entrepreneurs who are good at executing, good at listening, and good at processing advice (these are the most fun to be around);
  4. Entrepreneurs who have built a successful, growing business and are pretty good at distinguishing insightful advice from superficial suggestions. 

 

These last ones are the self-assured, talented entrepreneurs, some of whom, could build high impact businesses."

 

For more insights from Alan, join him at the Bogota Founder Institute, or another chapter in Latin America where he frequently mentors.  


Like this article?

 

 

[Mentor photo from Shutterstock]

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