You can be on Entrepreneur’s cover!

Five Ways To Get The Best Advice For Your Startup The best way to build a great social enterprise is to learn from those who did it before you. Here's are some tips on how connect with top business leaders.

You're reading Entrepreneur Middle East, an international franchise of Entrepreneur Media.


You've got a great idea. Maybe you've even got a business plan or a product in development. You've also got 1,000 questions about what to do next. One of the smartest things an aspiring entrepreneur can go is seek the counsel of someone who has accomplished what he or she is trying to do. Here are five smart ways to go about doing so:

1. Seek out common venues

It's certainly much easier to approach a possible mentor when there's already an established common ground. Buy tickets to attend conferences or other events where you'll get access to an array of people who have been through a similar experience. That could be a broader gathering, like Entrepreneur Middle East's forums, or something more localized by either geography or business type. There will be enough opportunities for networking that aspiring entrepreneurs will often be able to ask for advice as a part of a larger one-on-one conversation.

2. Use your mutual connections

If you're already moving forward in trying to get your business established, you've most likely met with a number of potential investors, incubators, lawyers, and maybe even an architect who has built out spaces for similar enterprises. Use their relationships to your advantage. It's much easier to ask someone you are already in contact with if they know anyone who has succeeded at whatever roadblock you're facing to put you both in touch.

3. Cater your elevator pitch...then make the ask

You've probably perfected your 15-second summary of your business venture for prospective clients and investors. Now think about how you want to do that for someone you're hoping to get advice from. When you meet someone in a setting where there isn't much time for a long one-on-one conversation, describe your project as succinctly as possible (or even have a 30-second demo video on your phone just in case), but end it with a specific request depending on the person. If you're speaking to someone who started a successful tech product, it could be as simple as "I feel like our projects both target the underserved, but I'd love to hear more about how you were able to raise your visibility and marketing. Could we schedule a call or coffee at some point in the next week?"

4. Get creative

There's a reason why lots of business traditionally takes place on a golf course. It's much easier to get to know someone over a shared activity rather than at a forced networking event or within the time constraints of a packed weekday. For example, a number of venture capitalists and business advisors jumped on motorcycles this past August and rode from town to town listening to pitches and offering advice to local entrepreneurs, holding meetings in barns, antique train stations and other unconventional places. A "business biking" trip might not be the obvious place to find a soundboard for ideas, but it's certainly one of the more fun ones.

5. Don't be afraid to ask what went wrong

Sometimes the best thing you can learn from a successful entrepreneur is what not to do. Not all startups find their way right off the bat, so you might be able to get more out of a conversation by asking someone "What shouldn't I do this?" rather than "What did you do?"

The Venture is a new global social enterprise initiative searching for extraordinary startups and new ideas that use business to create positive change. If you have a GCC-based social enterprise or an idea for a social enterprise, enter The Venture #WinTheRightWay to potentially win your share of US$1 million.

Business News

I Designed My Dream Home For Free With an AI Architect — Here's How It Works

The AI architect, Vitruvius, created three designs in minutes, complete with floor plans and pictures of the inside and outside of the house.

Side Hustle

This Dad Started a Side Hustle to Save for His Daughter's College Fund — Then It Earned $1 Million and Caught Apple's Attention

In 2015, Greg Kerr, now owner of Alchemy Merch, was working as musician when he noticed a lucrative opportunity.


9 Ways Memes Can Rev Up Your Business Marketing

Memes are here to stay. Brands are growing engagement with well-timed meme-marketing strategies.

Starting a Business

Startup Spotlight: Here's How UAE-Based Appro Is Simplifying Customer Onboarding For Banks

In its current iteration, the platform is able to help its users find for themselves the right credit cards, home loans, personal loans, as well as car loans.

Starting a Business

9 Ways to Use Your Business Plan

It's not just for financing--your business plan can help you spot future success or failure, attract suppliers and employees, and more.

Side Hustle

This Gen Zer's Stylish Side Hustle Earns About $20,000 a Month and Paid Off His Parents' $200,000 Debt: 'I Enjoy the Hands-Off Nature'

Ray Cao went from working as a barista for $8 an hour to being a successful seller on online marketplace StockX.