Mentor Code of Conduct

  • Read Innovators Method by Nathan Furr and Jeff Dyer or Nail It then Scale It by Nathan Furr and Paul Ahlstrom. Be familiar with the customer–centric approach found in Business Model Canvas by Alexander Osterwalder and Yves Pigneur. These books can be checked out from the CET library.
  • Watch the training videos on the Venture Mentoring Services mentor page.
  • Read and accept the Mentor Code of Conduct.
  • Be successful in a venture of your own for several years or have experience launching new ventures within an organization.
  • Schedule and be willing to donate one hour a week when called upon.
  • Confidentiality must be maintained. Students are concerned about idea theft.
  • Be direct without offending and coach without criticizing.
  • Remember that these are students, and they do not have the life experience that you do.
  • Sign up according to the steps on your Venture Mentoring Services invitation email.
  • Conduct will be consistent with the standards of honesty and integrity established by Brigham Young University and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
  • Unethical behavior includes:
    • Any form of harassment, including denigrating comments based on race, color, religion, gender, national origin, ethnicity, disability, or age
    • Plagiarism in any form
    • Failure to identify direct quotations or ideas obtained from other writers or sources
    • Unauthorized sharing of proprietary information developed by team members, or vice versa
    • Unauthorized use of product ideas, business plans, or other information developed by team members for personal or professional gain
  • Care will be taken to avoid any situation that could create an appearance of impropriety between personal, professional, or community responsibilities and mentoring activities.
  • Any potential conflict of interest will be promptly disclosed to team members and the managing director of the Rollins Center for Entrepreneurship.
  • Mentoring assignments will be changed as needed to remedy potential conflicts of interest.
  • A professional relationship between mentors and students must be maintained at all times.
  • Proper business etiquette should be practiced.
  • Mentors and students must meet in open areas. In the case of a conference or office, the room must have windows in public view and or have more than one mentor or student present.
  • Mentors are not permitted to invite the student to their homes, recreational properties, recreational events, or any other event not connected with a professional relationship. Any such verbal or written invitation or actual act that violates this code is grounds for immediate dismissal from the mentoring program.
  • Mentors are specifically prohibited from using any BYU, GetMentoring.com, or Chronus database to proactively look for new mentoring, business, or investment opportunities.
  • Students are to contact mentors and schedule via the GetMentoring.com Chronus system. Even in an ongoing professional relationship, please remind students to schedule with you through the system so that we can track the effectiveness of the program.
  • Mentors must keep a simple yet professional log of students they mentor, including dates, the number of hours spent, locations, student emails, and topics.

Mentors are offering their time, experience, and business advice on a strictly voluntary basis. It is the students’ sole discretion to use or not to use the advice given, and as such, neither mentors nor BYU have any liability and are held harmless for students’ ultimate business decisions.

Mentors primarily provide advisory support for student teams. If mentors invest in any student venture, they must disclose their interest prior to investment. Submit this disclosure form to getmentoring@byu.edu.

  • Mentoring teams will be composed of two or three trained entrepreneurial mentors who have industry, financial, or technology expertise.
  • Mentors should be available to meet at least one hour per week with the team.
  • Team meetings may be held via Skype, Facetime, teleconference, your place of business, or at BYU’s Provo campus.
  • Please note that advisement mentoring is different from team mentoring. Students have their own set of prerequisites to fulfill and are then able to select mentors from GetMentoring.com.

The CET uses an online software platform, GetMentoring.com, to facilitate and track the mentoring process. GetMentoring.com provides the following features:

  • Meeting scheduling
  • Q&A forum
  • A place for mentors to post articles, books, magazines, or other media they wish to share. It is located under the Advice tab.

CET staff will provide mentors with access, training, and support for GetMentoring.com.

Team mentoring will normally be scheduled using GetMentoring.com or, in some instances, the meeting may be set by Venture Mentoring Services or the student reaching out to you directly.

For tracking purposes, however, each mentoring session must be recorded at GetMentoring.com.

  • Inspire team members to reach their potential and encourage them to do their best.
  • Assure that teams adhere to lean business model development and customer validation principles.
  • Reinforce governing principles that are the foundation of successful enterprises.
  • Monitor pivot points to assure incremental improvement and objective decision-making.
  • Ensure that teams report on milestone achievements.
  • Provide constructive feedback to teams as they prepare for competitions.
  • Insist on a board room-quality, game-changing final product.
  • Help team members mature as managers and leaders and identify ways to grow the culture of their budding enterprise, specifically in regards to who they add to their team.
  • Monitor team progress to assure that students are prepared to excel in the Business Model and Business Plan competitions.

Assume lean startup principles and scalability. These are sample business questions that mentors should consider asking during their mentoring sessions to help ensure that students are prepared to compete in collegiate events and to launch a business.

  • Product and value proposition
    • What are the company’s products?
    • Why are the products attractive to customers?
    • What problem is being solved by the products in the marketplace?
  • Customer segment
    • For whom are we creating value?
    • Is this a niche, mass market, or segment?
  • Research
    • What research have you done?
    • What sources did you use?
    • How thorough is the research you have performed?
  • Market potential
    • What is the product’s positioning within the market?
    • What is the market size and realistic prospective growth potential?
    • What are the market trends that are being leveraged?
    • What other possible applications are there for the products?
  • Barriers to entry and status of intellectual property protection
    • What are your barriers to entry by competitors?
    • What assurances can you give investors that the value of your technology, product or service will be protected?
    • Has your company secured or applied for patents or trademarks?
    • What trade secrets do you have that differentiate your product or service from competitors?
  • Key activities
    • Using lean startup principles, what essential activities are required to fill your value proposition?
  • Key partners
    • Who are the company’s strategic partners?
    • How is the company creating a win-win relationship with its strategic partners?
    • How do the relationships benefit the company’s market-entry strategy and ongoing efforts?
  • Key channels
    • How are current customers reached?
    • How do you propose to reach them?
    • Is there an initial or optimal channel?
    • Which is the most cost effective?
    • How many channels exist, and, over time, are these channels all viable?
  • Key resources
    • What are the most important resources you need to service your value proposition?
    • How will you distribute your product?
    • What are the human factors in your business plan?
    • How will you develop product manufacturing and development?
    • What is your expected capital?
    • How would you define your relationship with customers?
    • How will you organize your sales force?
  • Key competitors
    • Who are your key competitors?
    • How are your competitors’ products or services different from yours?
    • What strategies do you have to beat the competition?
  • Cost structure
    • What are the most important costs?
    • Which are the most expensive resources?
    • Which key activities are most expensive?
  • Market entry strategy
    • What is the sales and marketing plan?
    • What is the product rollout strategy?
    • Who are the initial target customers and what is the status of the initial sales?
    • How have customers accepted the products and services?
    • How will you increase sales?
  • Revenue and pricing model
    • What is the revenue model? (e.g. cost savings sharing, high volume/small margin; small volume/high margin; retail outlets vs. website; low cost hardware/high-cost replacement parts, etc.)
    • Have you tested and validated your pricing model through potential customers?
    • What are projected revenues over the next five years?
    • What are the critical assumptions for the projected revenues?
    • What is the allocation of expenses over time?
    • What are the expected margins of the business?
    • How will they change over time?
    • When will the company become cash flow positive (i.e. EBITDA) and profitable (NPAT)?
    • What are the funding assumptions for the business?
  • Revenue streams
    • What do customers currently pay?
    • How are they paying for your product?
    • How would they prefer to pay?
    • What are your potential revenue streams?
    • How much does each revenue stream contribute to overall revenue and profit margins?
  • Initial investors and key employees
    • What is the personal business background of the initial investors and key employees?
    • What specific expertise do they have in the industry domain of their product?
    • Who else will be brought into the team?
    • Why are they passionate about the product?
    • What management changes will be needed to scale the company if the start-up is successful?
  • Details of the investment opportunity
    • How much money is required to launch the company?
    • Using the principles of the lean start-up, what is your forecasted timeline for the company’s financings?
    • What are current stock ownership percentages (e.g. founder’s stock, BYU allocation, friends and family, etc.)?
    • What is the company’s pre-money valuation?
    • What percentage of the company will investors receive?
  • Use of funds
    • What is the use of funds (i.e. sales and marketing, salaries, equipment, leases, etc.)?
    • What benchmarks will be achieved with the funds?
    • How are these expenditures tied to scaling the business?
  • Exit strategies
    • How will investors profit from your company?
    • Who are possible acquirers of the company?
    • Is an IPO a viable option?
    • What is the estimated return to investors, and when will they receive it?
  • Resources needed beyond capital
    • What resources does the company need beyond just capital?
  • Key elements of successful presentations
    • Avoid giving too much information (move extra info to appendices).
    • Make the pitch simple and easily digestible.
    • Show the rationale of your strategic thinking.
    • Create confidence in your plan for execution.
    • Clearly present the path towards an exit.
    • Focus on delivering an upbeat and dynamic business opportunity which captures investor (and client) imagination.
  • Intangible benefits
    • What are the social, environmental, and economic benefits for constituents, clients, suppliers, employees, shareholders, and communities where the company operates?
  • Management framework
    • Has the team defined its vision, mission, values, and purpose?
    • Has the team chosen the right members for the business?
  1. The Mentor Code of Conduct is meant to provide order, organization, and uniformity as we raise the bar, remove the barriers, and reach our goal of becoming the global leader in successful campus-inspired entrepreneurial ventures.

    Our success will be measured by:

    • Number of quality ventures (especially tech-oriented and scalable ventures) created annually
    • Number of students who hold equity in a start-up by graduation
    • Business ethics practiced by mentoring and student teams
    • Business and personal relationships formed through the mentoring process
    • Favorable recognition of successful student–led entrepreneurial ventures, BYU, and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
  2. Ultimately, the success of the Venture Mentoring Services program will be measured by BYU students, Founders, and other LDS business people combining their unique talents, gifts, and skills for the “benefit of the whole people, to uplift the masses, to rescue them from their poverty.” (George Q. Cannon, 1882 General Conference).