As an entrepreneur, you’re likely a wearer of many hats. There is nothing more vital to building a successful company than gaining experience and knowledge as quickly as you can. Having a mentor in your corner to offer key insights, coaching, and encouragement can be the difference between building a company that thrives or one that fails. (Facts About Mentoring)
The right mentor will lean on their experience and network to help you further your career and make key connections. In fact, 70% of small businesses that received mentorship succeeded for 5 or more years. That’s double the rate of non-mentored entrepreneurs. Currently, only 25% of small and medium businesses are receiving mentorship, which means having a mentor would be a huge competitive advantage. (Facts About Mentoring)
Beyond the obvious benefits of gaining a network and receiving great business advice, encouraging mentorship within your company can have is healthy for your company. Statistics show companies that pursue mentorship will see an increase in productivity, lower turnover rates, and team members will feel more invested, motivated, and satisfied with their work. Not only are team members happier, but 55% of businesses even saw an increase in profits. If you aren’t pursuing mentorship, either as a mentee or a mentor for your company, you’re giving up on an underutilized competitive advantage. (Facts About Mentoring)
How Do You Find a Mentor?
Let’s start with external mentors. An external mentor is the person we typically attribute to the word “mentor”. This can be a family member, friend, investor, advisor, executive coach, etc. These are people who take an active role in your company by coaching you and providing insights based on their experiences. Finding the right external mentor can be quite difficult. First, you must find someone who fits the bill, and then you have to convince them why it would be worth their time and effort to mentor you. One of the best ways to find an external mentor is through networking. A great way for startups to network is to get involved in startup accelerators, like Techstars. (Barlow)
Techstars is built around the concept of external mentors. Becoming involved with an accelerator, like Techstars, is a great way to meet other entrepreneurs and/or people who have been where you are. You’re literally surrounded by like-minded individuals who would be open to offering mentorship. Now the problem becomes how do you sift through all of the great advice and make the right decision for your specific company. (Barlow)
Another great opportunity is finding a mentor within your own team. We all know you’re supposed to surround yourself with people who are smarter than you, and if you do that, then you’re surrounded by great peer mentors who can teach you a lot. The hard part is convincing these qualified, intelligent people to join your high-risk startup team, but it’s not dissimilar to convincing someone you’re worth their time as a mentee. Once you have persuaded the right people to join your team, you’ll realize having these highly experienced individuals by your side will accelerate your business and your team’s learning curve. (Barlow)
Mentorship is often underrated and under-utilized, don’t make the same mistake. Finding the right mentor, whether that’s an external mentor or internal mentor, will guide you on your journey as a leader and entrepreneur. By instilling a culture of mentorship within your company, you will develop better trained, more motivated, and happier team members. When you make mentorship a priority, you will build a better, more successful company.
Barlow, Michael. “3 Types of Mentors All Entrepreneurs Need to Be Successful.” Entrepreneur, 8 Feb. 2019, www.entrepreneur.com/article/327671.
"Facts About Mentoring.” National Mentoring Day, nationalmentoringday.org/facts/.