Business mentors are the key to a successful startup

Having a mentor is one of the most underused tactics in business but one that gives some of the best results. The hardest part is knowing where to start…

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We have great mentors in the UK and we’re not using them. According to UK Government statistics (2013) only five per cent of SMEs use business mentors. Five per cent. That’s barely a handful. The study also showed that 69 per cent of SMEs know mentoring exists.

The question is why are so few businesses using a mentor?

What could be putting potential mentees off?

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No doubt it’s a mixture of many things. Time is an important factor. When you’re starting a business, who has the time to make for meetings once a week with a mentor? Especially when you’re not sure what, if anything, you’ll get out of it. The same goes for the mentors themselves. Many business owners think they don’t have the time, or think they won’t benefit from the relationship. You can see where the reluctance comes from.Perhaps the biggest problem is actually finding a mentor or someone who needs a one. Where do you even start? Who do you turn to? It can’t simply be a case of a quick Google search, can it?

With all these unanswered questions it’s no wonder people seem to shy away from the idea on a huge scale. But the benefits of a mentor-mentee relationship are phenomenal, you only have to look at the figures.

Research has shown that 70 per cent of SMEs that receive mentoring survive for five years or more. That’s double the rate of businesses that don’t use mentors. Really entrepreneurs can’t afford not to use them. Just ask the expertsMarc Benioff, CEO of Salesforce.com, is now worth $4.1 billion. This is partly thanks to his mentor, none other than Steve Jobs, for helping him grow the business.

Larry Page, CEO of Google, mentors Marissa Myers, CEO of Yahoo! Mark Zuckerberg and Washington Post’s Graham Bridge mentor each other.

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With all these helping hands everywhere, maybe the business world isn’t as heartless as it seems.


 

MENTOR-Handbook- final version

mentee handbook final version

 If you’re going to have a mentor, or want to take a new businessperson under your wing it’s important to get it right. Don’t just jump in without doing your research. Here at Startup Direct we LOVE mentoring. To us, support and help for new businesses is just as important as funding. That’s why we’ve created ebooks for prospective mentors and mentees. They’re completely free to download and will help you find your way in the world of mentoring. Go on, have a look and see how mentoring can help you and your business.

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