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How to Choose a Startup Mentor

Posted on Wednesday, Nov 4th 2020

Startups should consider mentors who have:

1. A proven methodology that you agree on. 

Our methodology at 1Mby1M is Bootstrap First, Raise Money Later (or not at all).

Not all businesses can or should raise capital. 99% of the businesses out there need to be built in a lean, capital-efficient, bootstrapped mode. 

Y Combinator has a different methodology. They focus exclusively on raising capital. They’re effectively a VC fund. If an entrepreneur tries to fund a business that doesn’t have what it takes to become fundable, they will go out of business.

2. A comprehensive online curriculum. 

Mentors’ time is expensive. They can’t afford to sit and explain everything to entrepreneurs at face to face meetings. 

The first-time entrepreneur’s journey has a steep learning curve. They need a curriculum that teaches a proven Methodology of how to go from, say, one customer to five customers to 50 customers to 500 customers. 

Entrepreneurs need to learn various pieces of methodology in an efficient manner. The 1Mby1M Self-Assessment outlines the typical strategy questions that entrepreneurs need to answer in investor due-diligence.

If they get stuck on the strategy, they need a curriculum with which to plug their knowledge gaps.

Our curriculum is case study based, with 100+ Unicorn case studies, and hundreds of VC-funded and bootstrapped startup case studies.

You learn efficiently, at your own pace.

3. Understanding Positioning

Mentors need to guide entrepreneurs on product-market fit. The most effective contribution a mentor can offer to an entrepreneur is guidance on Positioning.  

4. Understating Funding

99% of the ventures are NOT fundable. Certainly not fundable by VCs. VCs want to go from zero to $100 million in 5-7 years. That’s hyper-growth. And they want a billion dollar plus TAM. Neither parameter comes along easily. 

1Mby1M has also built relationships with investors seeking capital-efficient investment opportunities that result in early exits. This is a unique category of investors and has to be pitched differently.

1Mby1M Methodology and Curriculum or teaches the fundamentals of this supercritical topic.

5. Understanding TAM 

TAM models often get aggressively overestimated. Top-down TAM models are of no interest to investors. Without a credible, bottom-up TAM model, investors won’t take a venture seriously. Positioning drives TAM like nothing else. Get the positioning wrong, and the TAM topples like a house of cards.

6. Case Studies 

Real-life case studies are roadmaps to success. We have built our program on over 1000 real-life case studies.

7. Understanding that VCs are not one-size-fits-all. 

VCs have dramatically different core competencies, sector preferences, investment styles, and investment thesis. 

Some chase Unicorns. 

Some seek alternative styles of return, acknowledging the fact that there is way too much money in the system, and way too few good deals. 

You can read, view, and/or listen to our investor interviews to better understand your situation regarding funding. Just like product-market fit, investor-entrepreneur fit needs to be astutely positioned.

8. Understanding Bootstrapping

Most entrepreneurs have no choice but to bootstrap the early stages. Our Free Course on Bootstrapping can help understand the techniques.

9. A convenient, all-in-one online platform. 

You can use our Self-Assessment, Free Public Roundtables, blog, and all the free case studies.

The Curriculum is available to both 1Mby1M Basic and 1Mby1M Premium program members.

Our Network is available to members of the 1Mby1M Premium program only.

Want to discuss your situation? Come to the Free Public Roundtables. We have them weekly.

Photo by Dylan Gillis on Unsplash

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