If you’re a bold entrepreneur, your dream mentors may be Elon Musk, Richard Branson or Larry Page. While they may be amazing mentors, are they the right ones for you at this point in time? “I talked to many people and entrepreneurs and met an owner of a Singapore public-listed company whose revenues have reached over S$400 million, and got him as my mentor. After several mentoring sessions, I realized that my business was too small for him to offer advice that I can immediately apply. Metaphorically speaking, ‘I needed advice from [a] helicopter’s point of view. What he gave was advice from God’s point of view.’ I’m thinking about how to grow my business beyond S$3 million to a S$10 million company sustainably without stress, while he is thinking about how to structure and sell my business for S$100 million, ” says Moonshi Mohsenruddin
Despite his humble beginnings – dropping out of school and starting out as a toilet cleaner to support his family – Moonshi became a celebrity entrepreneur in Asia in 2010, and has since received countless requests from young entrepreneurs for mentorship. Of the 26 companies he took under his wing over a period of four years, most have achieved up to 700 percent revenue growth and broken their first million-dollar revenue mark. Moonshi shares his advice on the best mentors for entrepreneurs: “If you are a startup, your mentor should at least have a business that had achieved $1 million revenues, is profitable, and have at least hired 10 to 20 people in their business. We need to get a mentor who is three to five times the size of our business and someone who has ‘been there, done that’ – preferably in the same industry, or someone who is in business and can ask you high-value and thought-provoking questions. If your mentor runs a growing and large business, the mentor may not have much time to meet you regularly or his advice may not be immediately relevant.” So, if you are an entrepreneur seeking mentorship, here’s what you should start doing instead:
- Make a list of 50 people who have started companies in your industry that are three to five times the size of your business.
- When your list is complete, reach out to them asking for 10 to 60 minutes of their time to ask for advice.
- When asking for advice, be specific, concise and realistic.