How We Work with its Entrepreneurs
Mentorship is at the core of The Gratitude Network offering to entrepreneurs. Our team has learned from over 100 years of collective experience working with entrepreneurs that certain patterns repeat themselves within all startups, and certain patters come into play at various stages of the life-cycle of a start-up. Whether the company is a Silicon Valley tech start-up or global social venture, some of the same patters emerge around business model,
In essence, we view the entrepreneurial / start-up process as a series of Problems to be Solved (PTS) at each stage of the company’s life-cycle. Very early companies typically have a PTS related to product/market fit, team-building and product development . Mid-stage start-ups have a PTS of getting to the right business model and go-to-market strategy . Later stage companies have a PTS of partnering, scaling, and getting to profitability and ultimately exit.
The focus for the Gratitude Network is largely companies that have received some early funding, have completed their first product, have some customers ….and are now scaling outside their initial community, school system, or market, the PTS’s that we are often solving for include:
- How do we set up the business model of our company for scale?
- Who is missing from the current team that will be needed for scale?
- How do we fund our growth?
- Which partnership opportunities should
- How do we strengthen our brand?
- How do I expand within geography xyz?
- Where do I go for funding at this stage?
The Gratitude approach to mentorship attempts to help our portfolio companies understand their PTS, and get help in these specific areas above.
Our Approach to Mentorship
Starting in 2015-6 season, to address the PTS’s of each company we work with, we introduce a Strategic Coach to work with with the company. Strategic Coaches have been trained to recognize the unique PTS’s of each company we work with . They develop a rapport with the company, they take time to get to know each unique business and they come up with the HIGH VALUE AREAS that The Gratitude Network can offer assistance with. As one of our 2014 Award Winners said:
“Having the Gratitude Network work with us is like having an additional Chairman of the Board to bounce ideas off and help navigate the overall business”
Once a Strategic Coach has agree with the founder/entrepreneur on core issues and where the most assistance is needed, the Strategic Coach taps into our extensive Mentor Database to make personal introductions. Our database is comprised of mentors that our team has worked with over time, who represent knowledge in these areas:
- Organizational growth stage knowledge
- Team-building and development understanding
- Industry knowledge – education, business and non-profit experience
- Board expertise – experience with fiduciary responsibility at previous companies
- Functional knowledge — Sales, marketing, business development, development,
- Geographical knowledge – operation knowledge of U.S., Latin America, African and the India markets
To date, we have identified approximately 75 mentors to lead this effort.
How to Apply to Be a Mentor
The Gratitude Mentor Network is in the process of developing a deeper Mentor Network and we are always looking for experienced people to join our network. Being a mentor means you will have access to special activities we do with our mentors,
Our network currently consists of ~50 serial entrepreneurs, corporate leaders, venture capitalists, social/impact and geographic specialists.
- Serial entrepreneurs who have taken companies through growth and scaling stages
- Venture capital or financial managers who have experience with growth-stage organizations
- Regional experts for Latin America (Spanish or Portuguese-speaking experts)
- Education experts
To apply to be a mentor, please click here.