CEO, consultant and startup savant Jeff Nock has worked for years to improve the output and success of small businesses and established corporations. He advocates mentors for startup businesses and discusses the potential for the improvement they bring.
As CEO and Founder of Prescient Consulting, LLC, Jeff Nock understands the importance of professional mentoring for all business leaders and professionals. For years, he’s helped startup, early-stage and mid-cap companies grow and reach their goals through strategic business planning, business model ideation and development. He has also seen the advantages mentors can bring to startups.
“Founders of startups are typically incredibly passionate about their new company.
Sometimes they are so close to their business concept that they can’t see the forest through the trees and can benefit from advice from an experienced business professional who has been there before,” says Jeff Nock. “Mentors for startup founders can be found through their local Small Business Development Center (SBDC), area economic development agencies, through networking and by contacting successful founders that are farther along and willing to give back.
For startups, funding is limited so mentors don’t have to be paid for their advice. Just make sure to respect the person’s time and pay it back once you are successful. Successful local business owners will want to help start-ups succeed not only to pay back for the help they received in the past but because it makes the local entrepreneurial community stronger, which helps all.”
“Some start-up founders have never been part of the business before (college students or moving from a career outside the business) and other startup founders have had their hand in someone else’s start-up or been part of a product launch for a larger company,” says Jeff Nock. “The type of mentor each founder needs is dependent on what kind of experience that founder does NOT have.
Founders with no business experience should seek a business generalist who has a broad range of startup and business leadership skills.
Experience is Key, Says Jeff Nock
Founders with more business experience should seek out mentors who have skills in areas they lack experience. For example, if an engineer is starting a company they should seek out mentors with marketing, sales, and overall leadership experience.”
While aligning with a mentor who can help a start-up founder augment their experience is helpful, it is also beneficial to identify and learn from mentors from within the specific industry the founder is entering. Each industry has its own culture and mores and it is helpful for start-up founders to know as much about these industry nuances to save time and growing pains.
An experienced startup mentor will also be able to offer healthy network connections, having explored and made a name in the entrepreneurial ecosystem and industry already. In this way, they will be able to open many doors for a startup business and connect founders with people who can form win/win partnerships.
“Starting a business is hard work,” says Jeff Nock, “but learning the ropes from an experienced startup mentor will give these companies more traction to get up and running, helping them skip over the otherwise frequent pitfalls of learning the ropes on their own.”