One of the most important things you need to do when you start a business, is to find a mentor. So what is a mentor, and how will mentoring benefit your start-up?
Every entrepreneur that receives a Start Up Loan is enrolled in our mentoring programme, entitling them to a year’s worth of mentoring support free of charge.
We use state-of-the-art matching software, that compares our mentors' profiles to yours, in order to find the right mentor for you.
As fantastic and useful as feedback from family and friends can be, there’s no substitute for the advice of an experienced businessperson who doesn’t have a vested interest in your business, but simply wants to help. You can rely on their advice being impartial and feel reassured by their knowledge - they've been there before, so it's likely that they'll be able to help. Find out more about the benefits of mentoring for entrepreneurs.
A mentor will:
- Listen to your ideas and give you honest feedback on them;
- Take the time to talk through your pain points and worries, and share their experience of dealing with similar situations;
- Suggest practical ways to help solve your problems, or point you in the direction of useful resources;
- Be a consistent ear to listen – and maybe even become a friend.
Mentoring is actually a personal relationship between mentee and mentor. All personal relationships require work in order for them to be effective and a mentoring relationship is no different. As the mentee, it's your responsibility to be as open an amenable as you can - and to be clear about what you want from your mentor. Read our advice on how to make the most out of mentoring .
A good mentor, above everything else, is one that can listen and then offer a considered response, provoking you, the entrepreneur, to think for yourself!
There's more to mentoring that listening though - read on to find out what we think makes a good mentor.
Our mentors are invaluable when it comes to helping our businesses succeed and we massively appreciate the contribution they make to Virgin StartUp, giving up their time and expertise as they do to support new businesses. To show our appreciation, each month, we ask our entrepreneurs to nominate their mentor and we select our "Mentor of the Month".
As well as working independently with our entrepreneurs, our mentors also take the time to offer their advice and experience on specific topics, from marketing to finance and everything else in between. So if you're looking for advice from our mentors, read on.