Intern’s Insight: An example of a great business Mentor- Francis Hazeel

FrancisStart-up Direct is extremely privileged to have a cohort of over 300 talented mentors who volunteer their time, knowledge and support to recipients of the government Startup Loan.

Here one of our West Midlands mentors Francis Hazeel, a successful businessman with over 40 years experience in merchant banking, stockbroking and in property investment, discusses his time as a Startup Direct mentor…

1) Hi there Francis. Why did you decide to become a mentor?

I decided to become a mentor because I thought it was an excellent idea to pass the knowledge of a lifetime spent in banking and commerce on to a new generation of entrepreneurs. As a young man, I was lucky enough to have one or two elderly gurus who gave me excellent, dispassionate advice.

2) What is the best thing about being a mentor?

Helping young entrepreneurs to realise their dreams and learning about areas of business that are outside your scope of experience but where age, general knowledge and detachment can add value

3) What do you think is the best piece of wisdom you have shared with a mentee?

I am not sure – I think that is for a mentee to answer! Perhaps a recommendation that one of the first essentials is to employ an accountant.

4) What is the biggest challenge you have helped a startup business overcome?

I have not faced that challenge yet. My two mentees are both confident, have well- established business plans and have clear ideas of what to do and how to do it.

5) What is the most interesting startup/entrepreneur you have worked with?

Both my mentees are equally interesting; one operating in the world of retro children’s fashion and the other in the world of celebrity-sponsored sports goods and timepieces.

6) What personal attributes or qualities do you think are important for business success?

The most important attribute is to have a clear vision of what one wants to achieve. Without a vision of the end result, one cannot even start on the journey. The second most important attribute, is sticking to the vision with tenacity and not giving up en route. And the third is the ability, if necessary, to modify that vision when timing, market response or other economic information requires one to do so.

7) What inspired you to succeed?

Hard work, determination, fairness, cooperation with colleagues and the satisfaction of a job well done all contributed to a feeling of self worth and confidence. However success is not a finite measurement of one’s achievements, as luck and timing are also important ingredients.

Thanks go to Francis for answering these questions and sharing his knowledge with the Startup Direct community. If you are interested in mentoring, especially in Birmingham, please click here.