At Visionnaires we believe having a mentor is really important when you’re building a business and sometimes don’t know what to do. We have over 70 mentors in our network, who help our Visionnaires founders when they’re at the stage where they need support to get their business going and are invited to join our incubator. These people are all very experienced in their industry sector, having built businesses before and also sometimes worked for large, well-known companies. They give their time for free to ‘pay it forward’, in other words, now that they’ve become successful, they want to help someone else who may not have had the same opportunities as them.
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I’ve been a mentor with Visionnaires for three years and have worked with 20 different founders, all with amazing businesses. Before we meet I like to look at their business plan, website or social media, if they have them, so that I can prepare and be ready with lots of questions to find out as much as I can about their hopes and dreams for their business.
Our first session is all about building trust and a relationship that’s mutually beneficial to both of us – I always learn so much from my mentee, I love to listen to different ways of thinking! And I hope that my mentee goes away from the meeting with lots of ideas and things to think about themselves.
Our next sessions build on what we’ve talked about previously. Sometimes I like to give my mentee a challenge or an experiment to do in between our meetings. This is an opportunity to put something we’ve talked about into practice. It also keeps the mentee accountable, gaining momentum whilst building their business as they know I’ll ask them about their challenge the next time we meet.
I also like to help my mentees by making interesting introductions to others in my network who may be able to help them too. Networking (link to networking blog) is so important as a founder, and any introductions made by mentors could be the opportunity to accelerate your business far quicker than if you were going it alone.
The best part of being a mentor is seeing your mentee make a major breakthrough with their business, whether it’s a launch, first sale, social media up and running, great feedback from customers or a pilot with a customer – being able to share their excitement and joy is why we do it!
If you’ve got an idea and want to turn it into a business, check out our programme and learn how to get started. You never know, it could be your business invited to join our incubator benefit from one of our Visionnaires mentors! View Amanda profile here.