This Fast Company post,"Startup Failing? You Might Be Asking The Wrong Questions" is an excellent article on thinking, learning and mentoring. Today I will just discuss working with a mentor.
Last week I did two mentoring events. The first event was the Women's Success Summit, produced by Miamian Michelle Villalobos. 300 women and me. What could be more fun? In a 30 minute session anyone in the audience had 30 seconds to describe their business and their problem and then I was supposed to give advice. Out of 7 questions, three people asked for specific solutions to problems. The other four had ideas and wanted to know how to turn them into a business. The three with specific questions could benefit from a mentor. The other four souls should probably come to one of my workshops on how to develop a business concept. They were pre-mentor.
The second mentoring event was the monthly session hosted by the FIU Pino Entrepreneurship Center. This group was all male except for my good friends Lauren and Karyne from Pino Center who organize this event. Four thirty minute mentoring sessions. 1 person had a specific question (his second startup). One person had a fully developed business concept and he wanted to stress test it before he talked to investors. That's fair and I think he got some good advice. 1 person without a business concept (workshop candidate) and one wacky person idea that will never, ever get done. . Doable, but one in a billion. Not suitable from mentoring.
As Fast Company said:
"There are plenty of people who'd love to help you with your business; you just have to ask, but they don't have time to waste helping you figure out what your actual problems are. Get the most out of a potential mentor by approaching them with specific questions you've already identified and they've probably answered for themselves."
I struck out the point about "time wasting". Mentoring is not a billable hours business, but you get more benefit from the mentor the more well thought out the question. If you are not sure whether you have a business concept, you probably don't and you are a workshop candidate.
I would like to do a radio show where people call in with questions about how to grow their business. Weekly co-hosts with specialties. Sponsor/advertising inquiries welcome.