I spend quite a bit of time mentoring startups. In an average week I’ll have a handful of meetings and a couple of hours worth of follow up or homework.
On of my biggest pet peeves in mentoring is unrealistic expectations from someone requesting advice from me for the first time. I’m happy to meet with just about anyone. I’ll listen to any idea and I’ll give you candid, unfiltered feedback.
I’ve noticed a trend recently where younger entrepreneurs show up with expectations that I am suddenly their startup champion. Even before we’ve really explored what their product/service is, how it fits, etc, I’m getting peppered with requests for introduction, investment or product advice.
If you’re a fresh startup and asking me to meet with you, slow down. Take the time to make sure I understand what your product or service does and why you think it’s important. Come with a handful of questions that you think my background can help you with (hint: it should be product related). Get to know me and let me know you. At the end of the meeting, ask for a second meeting.
The second meeting is where we should both be able to define what actionable items I can a) help with b) am willing to do.