An Entrepreneurs' Guide to Good Mentoring

These days, everyone seems to be a startup mentor. Whether they have ever done a startup or not, whether they have ever raised money or not, they are ready to advise entrepreneurs.

As you are navigating through your options, consider these points as guidance in finding a good mentor to shepherd your journey.

One thing I have learnt is that it is extremely difficult to give negative feedback to entrepreneurs without triggering a defensive reaction. I was not good at this when we started 1Mby1M. I am very good at analyzing a business scenario, but I was never good at sugar coating the feedback in a way that is particularly nurturing or reassuring.

Very early on in our experiments with online mentoring, we told entrepreneurs that this forum is for candid, constructive feedback, and that may include negative feedback. We don't tell entrepreneurs what they want to hear. We tell them what they need to hear. While some egos get bruised, entrepreneurs have more or less accepted our approach, and have given us permission to "critique" their ventures.

I have, personally, gotten better at giving feedback in a palatable way. The biggest thing that has worked well is that we never, ever give negative input gratuitously. Everything has been in the spirit of helping both the entrepreneur and the businesses grow. Nonetheless, if through this process I have offended you or hurt your feelings, let me take this opportunity to apologize. It was not my intent.