man with his mentor

Starting a Mentoring Program for Aspiring Entrepreneurs

In the world of business, mentoring is everything. Not every aspiring businessman or businesswoman had the privilege of going to business school or earning an MBA. Sometimes, young upstarts need encouragement and a push towards the right direction. Just ask the countless rags-to-riches billionaires who literally started with nothing but eventually ended up with everything. Many of them found mentors who helped steer them towards the right path, and after they found success, they eventually helped aspiring business people.

If you have years of theoretical and practical experience in the world of business, why not consider mentoring young aspiring entrepreneurs? Here are some ways you can start.

Find a niche

Business mentors are a dime-a-dozen, which is why you need to find ways to set yourself apart. What can you offer young aspiring entrepreneurs that they can’t find on Google or that isn’t already offered by other more established mentoring programs out there? Find a niche—preferably an area of business that not many people have staked a claim on.

One example is focusing on being a businesswoman in a world that usually favors men. Another example is focusing on how they can find funding for their start-ups, like providing them with everything they need to secure a small business loan from the Small Business Administration (SBA) or how to ace a pitch meeting. Whatever it is, make sure that you have something new to say and that you are not just regurgitating already known tips and pointers in the business world.

venture capitalist

Consider being a venture capitalist aside from being a mentor

One of the biggest TV shows in the world of Asian entertainment was last year’s Korean drama Start-Up, which revolved around a fictional company called Sandbox. The fictional organization was established to help young entrepreneurs and visionaries launch their startups.

The whole idea behind the company Sandbox was that these young upstarts had a place that could cushion the blow—like a metaphorical sandbox—in case their businesses or endeavors fail. The company was led by businessmen and venture capitalists who believed in the next generation of entrepreneurs and how it is up to them to continue to boost the nation’s economy. These venture capitalists were also responsible for mentoring the aspiring CEOs.

If you have been blessed with a thriving set of businesses and an impressive investment portfolio, why not be a venture capitalist aside from being a mentor for these aspiring businessmen? You can help support their young companies or ventures, especially if they show a lot of promise.

Mentorship is a crucial part of being a venture capitalist, and your and you can help guide these young entrepreneurs as they navigate this new environment for the first time. They can also learn from you not just through your teaching but also as you practice what you preach.

Know your whys and hows

Simply put, you must have a clearly designed set of goals and how you plan to achieve them. Why do you want to mentor young entrepreneurs? Do you want to pass on your knowledge and wisdom, or is there an area of change that you want to help advocate for? Whatever your reasons may be, make sure to define and outline them and establish a team that can help you define your objectives.

Second of all, you need to identify if there will be a market for your mentorship program in the first place. What are their incentives for being under your tutelage, in particular? What can they gain from you that they can’t already learn from Google or other more established mentors?

Last but not least, what are the specific key results you want to achieve? How do you plan to measure the success rate of your business mentorship program?

With all this being said, goal-defining and listing objectives are only the first steps. How you plan to achieve these desired results will be a whole different ball game, and it will require a lot of strategizing with your team if you have them. Consider partnering with other business people who share your passion for mentoring the next generation so you can have more than one set of heads and hands to work with.

It’s true when they say the children are our future, so mentoring the next generation of business people and entrepreneurs is always a worthy endeavor. Let them learn from the breadth of your experience and invest in their energy and excitement—and we might have a recipe for a brighter future ahead despite the economic obstacles of the past two years.

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