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October 2, 2020 | 13:10


The world of Entrepreneurship can be very challenging and competitive. Many tools can be used from the conception of an appropriate idea to the establishment as a challenger in the competition race. Taking into account the support brought by an advisor or a mentor in business may help the vast expansion in knowledge and experience of start-ups i.e., small and medium enterprises. From this article, several points will be brought up to consider an advisor or a mentor in your venture. So why do we require a business mentor, advisor, or coach? The knowledge you will get from this article can be outlined as follows:

  • Why do your startup and you need a mentor or an advisor?
  • Where and how to find an advisor/a mentor?
  • Signs of bad advisors/mentor
  • How to interest and negotiate with advisor/mentor?
  • Before getting into deep introspection, we need to get a touch on the jargon involved with the topic. Advisor, Expert, mentor, and coach; these are terms regularly used but often poorly defined i.e., mainly confused. Below we shall define all these concepts. 


    Mentoring and coaching have similar concepts; the only difference is that coaching is more focused on achieving specific goals, mainly individual ones in a specific time frame.


    Experts or skilled advisors or point guard advisors is a person who strictly gives strategic advice and is ready to roll up his sleeves to help the startup function. The main characteristic of an expert is that; his services are needed for a limited amount of time ie. Few days or a few months. 


    An advisor is a person who supports or helps the entrepreneur,  founder, or even the CEO or MD of the startup in the short or medium term. The advisor will use his experience to direct the startup to the achieving business goal. An advisor mainly has the experience and network; thus, basic tools advisors may have. Significant experience in production, marketing, or specific sector linked with the start-up they will support.

    The broadness of branches an advisor may provide can be infinite; introduction to networking can help unlock investment and growth.

    Seeking an advisor is mainly done in the early stages of your growth because they can help the startup get investment traction. So an advisor may be a little key or hint for your evolution from ground level.

  • Mainly experienced people who provide assistance and insight
  • Strengthening your production team to gain market share
  • Employed by our company, so they are your payroll.
  • Mentor

    An overused word which is mainly confused with the word – Advisor. The Mentor is simply an advisor who decides to continue the adventure with the mentee ( the person entity or being mentored ). An advisor mainly gets on with the startup, thereby strengthening the relationship and getting nominations into the startup as MD, board director, or even CEO. Thereby the advisor clearly entitles to become a Mentor. There must be chemistry between the mentor and the startup to decide to work together for a longer period. 

    An advisor may really be engaged with a business, and in senior individual’s long-term development thus, they are described to be mentors. The best mentor is the one who has already walked in the footsteps of the venture they are involved in. That is, they may have followed the same track the mentee is following.

    Incubators and accelerators often provide startup cohorts mentorship programs; in reality, the service they provide may be described as a senior advisor because they work with the startup within a period of time or provide a program that covers a length of time. In a nutshell, major points on mentors:

  • Mostly an altruistic trustworthy close friend who can help us grow and progress our start-up rather than financially, for instance, wanting to have a piece of the company.
  • Usually, older, experienced, or someone has the same business path who can provide their ‘ wisdom.’
  • No payroll.
  • Mentorship
    Side Note: on this board, we can see the main reasons may need a mentor 

    So – what’s your choice?

     Actually, the choice for a particular partner for your development and your branching is a challenging issue. Mainly at the early stage, startups often need advisors, but experts can supply enormous support as well. Of course, it can cost, but it is worth investing in hitting your startup’s goals and objectives.

    Fast forward, we may need the help of a mentor; the mentor may be an advisor who has been collaborating with the startup for a long period of time. Launching a business has never been easy; therefore, the need for a mentor.

    Where and how to find an advisor/a mentor?

    Most startup members are inexperienced; they may be considered as being amateur in the world of entrepreneurship, so they need a push. There is only one way to find a way out of inexperience; it is through mentorship. Therefore,  finding an advisor or mentor may not be easy. In general, they are people that have personal friendships or maybe an external experienced person or organization. The principal question is, “where do you find mentors?” There are so many ways, but here are listed the top best ways of getting acquainted with a mentor.

  • Entrepreneur “Hot spots.”
  • Living in a metropolitan city is easy or a task, in such big cities with a  thriving startup scene, there is a high probability of having entrepreneurs “Hot spots.” A Hot Spot can be a startup incubator with an open space where networking and collaboration can be possible. A Hot spot can be a weekly brainstorming meeting involving major IT specialists with creative minds. 

  • LinkedIn
  • It is a massive tool for searching the appropriate hand; you may get acquainted with the best specialists ever from this social network. You may find candidates depending on their experience and even the location. 

  • Networking conferences
  • These events are designed to connect different start-ups; this event gives the opportunity to branch out by creating connections and expanding professional networks. The main goal is for you as a startup to meet other major experienced members so as to exchange ideas.  

  • SBDC
  • Small Business Development Centers are organizations involved in developing small and medium enterprises. Enrolling to their program provides resources, advice, and expertise to entrepreneurs around the globe. You are free to get a private consultation through the website.     

  • Friends and Family
  • You are asking around you, your friends, and your family. Someone not far from you could have the skills of an entrepreneur or may have the experience of dealing with a start-up like yours, so keep your eyes open for any acquaintance who contributes to your success.

  • Score: This is an organization aimed at linking mentee with mentors through volunteer programs to help individual start-ups; run and grow most efficiently as possible. The score has, at the moment, more than 12,000 volunteers with around 320 mentees. The score offers face-face meetings with specialists, thus forming a harder partnership. 

  • Indirect competitors
  • Of course, a competitor will never agree to work with you. Still, some competitors working on another branch in the same sphere may collaborate with you and maybe work in the future for an outsourcing collaboration. This company is in business for a longer time, may help our company get the necessary mentorship.

    Read also: Top 10 accelerators and incubators for Startups

    Online Platforms Offering Mentorships

    There are many amazing platforms where you may get the best mentorship and Advisor; some primary mentors can be listed below; 

    Growth Mentor


    This is an active platform providing advice and experts for your Startup. Sign up to their website and book a free consultation through zoom, Skype, or Google Hangouts.

    Price: $99/yr

    Specificity: They have a dashboard where all specialized mentors in different special spheres. They have around 30 mentors offering free consultations as a way to enrich their c.v.



     This is another online platform providing permanent startup advice from experts. This is more of a community than a one-one service. Wherever you are in the world, you may be connected to the team via video conference; just sign up for free consultation through the website. 

    Price: Clarity is free to join the community; you shall be assigned to paying calls based on the expert per minute rate.

     Specificity: Make sure you can afford the call pay rate, so pre-charge an estimated call time and adjust the amount of time to the amount charged. 



    Interactive platform englobing and access to more than 400,000 potential cofounders, advisors, and mentors. To sign up on the website, you will need an account on LinkedIn.

    Price: Access is free but has limited benefits.

    Premium membership: 3 month – $19.99 /month (59.99 billed quarterly); 6 month – $16.99/month (102 billed semi-annually); 12 month – $14.99/month (180.00 billed annually).

    Specificity: This is one of the largest startup platforms in the world. This is a 3 step process based on the matching algorithm. First, you have to sign up using LinkedIn, activate your profile, search a mentor, or get matched with a mentor by skills, business stage, income, country, city, or experience to find advisors, co-founders, and team members.



    Private non-profitable platform linking entrepreneurs and volunteers business mentors.

    Price – Free

    Specificity – This is like a social network for mentorship; the positive point is that it is free of charge.



    This is a mentorship lasting for 54 hours. It is segmented into three days.

    Day 1: choose a project and build a team.

    Day 2: Get acquainted with a mentor and work on a specific project using resources and mentors to build your product. 

    Day 3: Your team makes a presentation to an expert panel. 

    Price: The ticket price varies depending on the event, purpose, and skill set.

    Specificity: The participation is 3 Days. The main idea here is to be able to form a network in 3days.



    A platform for entrepreneurs to share testimonies, give advice, and ask questions.

    Price- free.

    Specificity – you may sign in as anonymous, so you don’t sign up for any information or feeds. It is an amazing site for resources and networking with advisors. 



    A platform is offering peer mentorship to tech startups worldwide.

    Price: passing the screening test, you will choose one of the four memberships depending on your experience. 

    Specificity: Every month, the committee of memberships selects a group of tech founders who are nominated by existing members. The selected member will have bonuses and discounts. The free promotion will be done on their newsletter readers.

    Signs of bad advisors /mentor

    Effectively Mentors are meant to help a startup, but unfortunately, not all mentors are good, so we shall outline five signs that indicate a mentor is bad.

  • Team chemistry
  • Of course, without chemistry, the team will lose the target leading to poor productivity, so the mentor should soak into the business to develop a personal interest in seeing the company develop. If a mentor is not involved emotionally in the business, he is considered a bad one.

  • Intentions of the mentor
  • A mentor may have in mind to control a startup at its initial intending to either buy or copy the idea to reproduce the idea elsewhere.

  • Outdated experience
  • With the constant innovation of the IT industry, some mentors may be out of style i.e having an outdated work style because of their age and ego.

  • The market
  • Having a mentor is great, but having a mentor from another country with a different market is another thing, so the difference in the location may lead to the difference in the market and your startup’s development. Finally, be careful choosing a mentor who is aware of your field.

  • Availability of the mentor
  • Most mentors have their job and may not give enough time to deal with their mentees, thus influencing the chemistry explained above. In conclusion, Mentorship is an option to be considered to reach your targe; wee targeting a world where competition is the main issue. “Big fish always want to eat small ones.” Thanks to networking, small fish can now hang out with big ones getting raised up.   


    Views: 616

    Written by:

    Alina Plotnitskaya

    Chief Innovation Officer (CINO)/Product management, help to create startups from the idea to final release, addicted to inspiring ideas and great products.

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