Start-up funding and mentoring business Pushstart recently launched, aiming to support the Australian tech and web small business community through various activities, including a mentoring program.
co-founder John Haining, the best mentors aren’t necessarily your business idol,
as their advice may
not be exactly what you need in this point of your career.
“For web and tech
start ups, what we believe is the knowledge, skills and networks that mentors
bring are really invaluable in context. So sometimes a mentor can be too far
ahead of where you are, when the best mentor is two or three steps ahead of you.
It’s a bit like the old line, ‘To the year two kid, the year three kid is a
god’,” he explained.
also advised that if you’re looking for a mentor, look for one who has produced
the kind of business results that you would like to emulate and who has the
relevant experience and networks in your field.
“And remember, it’s a
relationship, and relationships need to be nurtured and encouraged and
developed. They don’t just happen because you show up,” he
programs available for small businesses include the Young Entrepreneurs Network.
Small Business NSW also runs mentoring programs, as do several other
government-run organsiations in different states.
VIVO Cafe owner and
former Telstra Businesswomen’s Award winner Angela Vithoulkas noted that you may
wish to look for a number of mentors to help you with different parts of your
“Mentors come in
different shapes and sizes, and it’s not unusual to have more than one mentor. I
think people who expect one mentor to address all their needs are putting a lot
of pressure on one person, when mentors can be seasonal,” she said. “You might
have one issue with your business this year and next year, it’s a different
No one person has all
the answers for your business and even mentors don’t always have the right
answers for you, Vithoulkas pointed out.
“They’re someone you
can put a question to, to ask an opinion, they’re someone you gather some
information and knowledge and experience from, but at the end of the day, you're
the one who’s going to make the decisions,” she said.
several business owners who have just launched their companies, including Karen
Morris, who owns Inscriptions Media, a small PR agency. During Morris’
mentorship with Vithoulkas, she has learnt about profit and loss and staffing
issues. She believes that it sometimes pays to think outside the box when it
comes to looking for a good mentor.
“I don’t think you
need to have somebody in your field to be a good mentor, and sometimes, it can
be better that way,” she said. “At the end of the day, I want to run my business
how I want to do it. To have a mentor who is in PR just takes me more down their
path than my own. To have a mentor who can give you advice on practical things
that are outside your industry can give you a new perspective on
Mentoring services you
may want to check out around Australia include:
WA: Small Business
NSW: Small Business
Vic: Small Business