Starting and sustaining a business is hard work. You spend hours each night combing through strategies, trying to find the perfect idea, location and funding source. Then, you take even more time perfecting your plans. And even after all that, you’re not guaranteed a profitable venture—or even a surviving one . So, what can you do to up your chances of achieving that coveted goal?
It’s simple: Get a mentor. This will not only arm you with the right startup kit, but it can also guide you to figure out what you really want to be doing in the long run. The goal is to actually get some kind of progress for your business.
There are different kinds of entrepreneurial mentorships.
Informal and unpaid entrepreneurial mentorship
This is provided by experienced individual entrepreneurs/executives to less experienced and budding entrepreneurs. These relationships often form in an ad hoc way or through a specific introduction.
Formal but unpaid entrepreneurial mentorship
Here, experienced entrepreneurs/executives mentor other experienced entrepreneurs/executives on an ongoing basis. In this case, the executive receiving mentorship is able to receive the benefit of the mentor’s expertise.
Informal on-the-job mentorship
This is from a more seasoned entrepreneur to less experienced one. It can can occur within a company walls or among people in the same industry, trade or profession.
Formal, paid group mentorship
These sessions are facilitated by for-profit organizations for executives and entrepreneurs alike.
They are entrepreneurial mentorship organizations where members are carefully chosen for their talents and participate in an apprenticeship. Thereafter, they become part of a network that is constantly in contact with each other and giving back.
They take a portion of the company’s equity in exchange for a small amount of cash. Such programs have a rigorous application process and only choose a pre-defined number of promising startups to assist. Also, these programs are limited to consumer-internet/digital media type companies.
University-based mentorship programs
They are operated by business schools, engineering schools and other designated entities on campus. The idea is to provide a free service for students, post-docs, faculty and others associated with the university who wish to try something entrepreneurial or to launch a new startup.
There’s a lot of talk out there about mentors, especially regarding where to find them in a sea of professionals. Well, here are some suggestions:
Mara Foundation Nigeria is a free online mentoring platform that connects ambitious entrepreneurs and business leaders globally.
- Youth for Generational Change in Africa (YGC Africa)
They are involved in mentoring and empowering Nigerian youths in information technology and other skills that would equip them for the 21st Century challenges and position them for greater and enviable achievement.
iDEA Nigeria expose and connect start-ups to a pool of key mentors and advisors that provide expertise in growing a business and also trainings for those aspiring to be a mentor.
This mentorship programme brings young entrepreneurs to be mentored by successful people who have excelled in their various spheres of life and make them believe in their abilities to excel despite daunting challenges.
Shell Livewire Nigeria is a social investment programme that provides support, access to training, guidance and business mentorship to young entrepreneurs and potential entrepreneurs.
- Black Girls Ignite Africa (BGIA)
BGIA was founded by Abby Osoba. BGIA is involved in mentoring pe0ple in the areas of talents discovery, igniting people to actualized their God given dreams and visions. BGIA exist in countries like Nigeria, United Kingdom, United States of America (U.S.A).
Bonus: Getting a mentor is like riding on the experiences of other people, and not making the mistakes they made. That’s kinda the best perk of all.