If you are a small business owner who has had a mentor, chances are that you can speak to how important they have been to your business’s success. A mentor can show you how to run your business, provide you with much needed encouragement and teach you the importance of self-discipline, along with other traits needed to succeed in business.
In most cases where a business owner has been mentored, the mentor has left an indelible mark. A survey of small business owners conducted by deciBel Research for RedZed found that of those small business owners who had or have a mentor, 97% said their mentor has made an impact on their business’s success.
The survey also suggests that women are more likely to benefit from mentorship than men. Of female small business owners who had or have a mentor, 50% reported that their mentors have had a ‘significant impact’ on their business, compared to just 34% for male business owners. Age is also a factor. With business owners aged 44 and under, 50% said their mentors have had a ‘significant impact’, while it is just 22% for those aged 45 and above.
Despite the overwhelmingly positive feedback from those who have had a mentor, many small business owners remain unconvinced or at the very least, indifferent to the benefits of mentorship. According to the survey, almost one in two small business owners (49%) reported that they have never had a mentor. Of these, almost a quarter (24%) said that they hadn’t really considered a mentor, while 17% reported that they didn’t see the benefit in having one.
However, there are more factors than just skepticism or indifference that contribute to small business owners not availing of a mentor. Of those small business owners who said that they had never had a mentor, 17% of them reported that they didn’t know how to either find or approach a suitable mentor.
A contributing factor to this may be the misconception that the only way to have a mentor is to search for an experienced individual who inspires you and then try and convince them to help you. This can be a pretty daunting prospect, especially if you’re just starting out in business. Fortunately, there are several other ways a small business owner (or someone aspiring to start a business) can be paired with a highly experienced individual. These include state-sponsored initiatives, as well as programs aimed at women, immigrants and others from underrepresented groups. With all of these initiatives, the aim is to provide the advice and support business owners need to succeed.
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