How to make the most of a founder-mentor relationship
Written by Nicola Farrell on her 25th day as Sydney Program Manager
We recently brought together 20 founders and over 25 business leaders for a mid-year mentoring bootcamp. Facilitating events like these, help us to forge better relationships, learn what startups are exploring and inspires the group with what’s possible.
At muru-D, we seek out the most ambitious founders looking to make a dent on the world. Their passion for change has driven them to work on an idea that forces them to see the world in a new way. They spend everyday putting out fires, sticking things together to create value, all while keeping their vision intact to stay on the right course.
We invest in founders, who are testing a product in the market, and are looking to increase their velocity in each facet of their business. Providing them with the tools they need to develop and grow and getting them ready to take the next step in their journey as a founder.
muru-D has created a network of important players, dedicated to improving the performance of the startup ecosystem. We believe that deeper connections enable a faster market, so our role bringing it all together couldn’t be more important. That means hosting a melting pot of mentors, founders and many other highly experienced people who are willing to show up and get stuck in.
The formula, tried and tested, is intended on moving startups faster and helping them connect to something bigger. Bring new ideas to them for them to build into their experimental workflow.
With time being the most precious and valued resource, making it work for you and squeezing every opportunity out of these events, is the only way to go. With this in mind, I’ve been thinking about how to make the most of mentor meetings, be you mentor or mentee.
Ask the right questions
It takes experience to get a feel for what needs to be uncovered. What are the questions that allow founders identify the areas they may not have thought about? Leading with open questions can direct the founder towards discovering a positive path to their own progress. It’s their problem to solve, what do they need to think about to open a new perspective.
Be willing to let go of what you know
It no longer matters what you know, the world has moved on. So, what are you willing to let go of, to make room for the new stuff, the new possibilities that are going to shape the future world. Are you open to new ideas that may actually make you see the world a bit differently. All while making your experience relevant for the current problem to solve. No one said it was going to be an easy ride taking on the role of an innovation mentor!
Who can you introduce them too?
We all know someone that can help. Has someone sold to a similar customers before, has someone faced the same challenges… etc. How can you help grow their network and multiply the power of your insight through your network.
Listen, learn and make your own decision
Curiosity is the name of the game, when it comes to working with mentors for a time boxed amount of time. What are they seeing that you may have missed? What can they potentially unlock that might help you shift something in the business model, that makes sense. It’s easy to have an opinion, but figure out what’s testable today. What will give you the confidence to take action.
What problem do you need help with now?
Be ready to talk about specific problems you’re facing, right now. I often hear, the biggest issue facing founders is ‘time’, this is yours to control. What are the tangible areas of the business that need to change for you to move forward. Consider this on a weekly, if not, daily basis.
And to both, mentor and mentee.. Stay connected and continue to think ‘what can I give before I get…:’ That’s what makes an ecosystem great.
So that was Day 25 in my magical journey at muru-D. Better jump in or you’ll be left behind. Blessed to be back in discovery mode, learning on the go and saying YES! Thank you everyone who participated, I am delighted to be working with such inspirational beings who help me grow and be better.