By Jia Wertz – Forbes
With an abundance of information available on the internet today, you may think it’s unnecessary to have a mentor. You can learn from great minds and experienced entrepreneurs on YouTube, from podcasts, and through online courses. Many entrepreneurs do just that. It provides a diversification in the content they consume and perspectives they consider. And yet, a mentoring relationship provides something that these online resources can’t – customization. A one-on-one relationship with someone who can advise you, your company, and your professional career specifically can make a significant difference in your success.
The power of mentorship is a known fact in the corporate world. CNBC reported that more than nine in ten workers, or 91% of workers who have mentors are satisfied in their jobs. Similar rates of mentorship efficacy are found for entrepreneurs of all ages who engage in mentoring relationships: research that after school program Rocket Club has been watching closely. To better support their 7-14 year old student entrepreneurs and engineers who are developing their own business ventures, they recently launched The Rocket Club Mentor Program in which successful entrepreneurs mentor club members throughout the launch of their first business. One of their first mentors, Chris Zarou is a Forbes 30 Under 30 recipient and the manager of popular music artists such as Logic and Jon Bellion. Their decision to support young entrepreneurs and build a robust mentorship program was rooted in the following research.
Entrepreneurs With Mentors Report Greater Business Growth
It’s true, a mentor can help you raise your bottom line. Because of their own entrepreneurial experience and their objective perspective, they can see where you may be draining cash, or spark ideas for new business models or initiatives to contribute to business growth. According to SCORE (the Service Corp of Retired Executives), 30% of entrepreneurs who had just one interaction with a business mentor reported growth in their business, and 43% of entrepreneurs who had five or more interactions with a mentor reported growth.
Using this knowledge, if one of your goals for this year is to grow your business, seek a mentor who has historically scaled companies or successfully implemented growth hacks within their business. It typically comes down to a few key adjustments that can amplify your company’s profits and number of customers.
A Mentor Can Help Your Business Stay Afloat Far Longer
The average lifespan of a startup is only 20 months, or one year and eight months, according to Salesforce. While the reasons for a company’s failure differ, top reasons include no market need, running out of cash, not having the right team, or being outcompeted. These are all scenarios that a seasoned business mentor can anticipate and help you to navigate.
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“We know that the presence of a mentor can at least double the lifespan of a startup,” says Ryan Freed of Rocket Club. Research from UPS found that 70% of mentored businesses survive more than five years. I believe that part of this reason is because of the shared passion between a mentor and a mentee. They come together in a mentoring relationship because of this shared passion, and the mentor can reignite the spark for the mentee when they’re getting tired or business as usual is facing significant challenges,” adds Freed.
A mentor holds you accountable in a way that your team can’t. Because they can see what’s going on from a bird’s eye view and they aren’t in the trenches with you, they can provide the insight and motivation that’s missing, thus prolonging your business’s lifespan. Additionally, mentors have the foresight for the challenges ahead in your business because of the hindsight they have from their own business ventures. This is why it’s advised to find a mentor who is at least a few years ahead of where you want to be in your business.
Mentors Can Teach You How To Be A Top Performer
Top performers or highly efficient entrepreneurs usually follow a specific routine or adhere to high performance habits. Not only can a mentor share with you what those habits should be, but they can also hold you accountable to them.
TechCrunch shared that 33% of founders who are mentored by successful entrepreneurs go on to become top performers themselves. If you are lacking clarity on how to structure your days, weeks, and months for top performance, a mentor who has aced productivity and efficiency can guide you in the right direction and help you create a schedule that promotes your best performance.
There are a number of self-help books and online resources that can help you create a morning routine, or that may note specifics of how to create a performance-driven schedule. However, a mentor will be able to assess your specific responsibilities and help you create a routine that is specifically custom-made for you based on your personality and work habits.
A study at the University of Toronto Faculty of Medicine on efficient mentor and mentee relationships reported that failed mentoring relationships happened for a host of reasons including lack of mentor experience, perceived or real competition, conflict of interest, and poor communication. Successful mentoring relationships had shared values, a personal connection, and mutual respect. It may take some networking and trial and error to find a mentor that you trust and have a connection with, but it’s a time investment with great dividends. A mentor is one of the greatest secret weapons an entrepreneur can have today.