What is a common thread among all successful leaders? They have mentors. And their mentors had mentors, and these mentors also had mentors before them. Mentoring is an essential element for anyone looking to succeed as an entrepreneur. Just ask Richard Branson, Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, Steve Jobs, and other billionaire entrepreneurs who have credited their mentors as having roles in their success. If that isn’t enough reason for you, then here are three more reasons you should have a mentor.
1. They Can Teach You What You Can’t Learn from Books, Articles, Theory, or School
Educating yourself as much as you can about entrepreneurship is advantageous, without a doubt. But there are certain skills required to build and manage a business that can’t be taught in a classroom or online course. These skills and knowledge can only be learned through experience, and a mentor who has gone through the process and hardships of starting their own business will have a lot of that. These people have already gone through the dilemma of acquiring and losing funds and handling risks. They have experienced how stressful it really is to own and manage a startup, and have mastered the art of how to remain calm and think clearly on their feet during difficult situations.
2. They Can Help You Achieve Success
If you look at startup statistics, the numbers don’t look very promising. More than 50% of new businesses fail in the first four years. As someone who has dedicated so much time, energy, and money and who has made a lot of sacrifices to make your entrepreneurial dreams come true, you definitely want to succeed. But starting your own business has a lot of challenges that giving up will be tempting. It is during these hard times that you will appreciate a mentor even more. There will be someone to listen to you, support you, advise you, and even help you find solutions to overcome your problems. Mentors can be the critical link to holding on and pushing through, or giving up and losing everything you’ve worked so hard for. Seventy percent of small businesses with mentoring survive longer than five years (www.sba.gov).
3. They Will Help You and Your Business Grow
Mentors have the advantage of ‘been there, done that’. They have already acquired their own network and contacts. They have grown their businesses, built partnerships, and made a name for themselves in the industry. All of this can be beneficial when you want to build or grow your own business. Remember that when you are starting from scratch, you won’t have the connections for funding, hiring, production, marketing, and so on. Your mentor can introduce you to his or her connections, opening up opportunities and a wealth of resources you might have needed years to gather and tap on your own. Aside from that, your mentor can help you become more competent in creating business programs and strategies, dealing with people, and organizing your structure.
Find Your Own Mentor
It is not only statistics that prove how much of a difference mentors make when it comes to the success or failure of businesses, but also the testimonies of top entrepreneurs who credit their mentors for their success. Of course, finding the right mentor for you is a crucial ingredient in getting the guidance and help required for your unique needs.
“Mentors are not there to make us ‘happy’. They are there to guide us to the best of their knowledge.”
– Samira DeAndrade, Senior Account Executive of Diesel