Debi Kleiman‘s article on Quartz, Research shows investors value an entrepreneur’s willingness to learn more than business acumen highlights the importance of mentoring. She writes:
Investors want to back entrepreneurs who they can mentor. Because many investors believe their time and expertise to be just as valuable than their money, they want to invest in companies where their personal involvement can have an impact. This means looking for entrepreneurs who are “coachable”—that is, receptive to feedback—and who can benefit from the specific guidance they have to offer.
While you can’t learn to code or add an impressive job to your resume overnight, anyone can try to be more open to advice and mentorship, and encourage those qualities in their employees. As entrepreneurs work to strengthen their businesses and their teams, cultivating and demonstrating a willingness to learn can be an easy win.
While the article conflates coaching with mentoring, there’s important findings here for entrepreneurs (and those who mentor them):
Recent research at Babson College by Lakshmi Balachandra, an assistant professor of entrepreneurship, also found that the more willing an entrepreneur is to accept feedback and engage with suggestions that are offered during a pitch, the more interested investors are in pursuing the company.
As I often say to my mentees, startups are learning machines, conducting a succession of experiments based on their hypotheses about customers and markets. See my previous post Entrepreneurs & the Scientific Method.