For many people starting up their business, finding an investor who can give them the start up capital they need to get their enterprise under way is often their highest priority mentor. For those who are looking for investment, the number of potential investors which need to be approached in order to find the right one can far exceed even the wildest expectations. Entrepreneurs today frequently spend countless hours in attempting to raise funds from a wide range of investors, however they fail to dedicate the same amount of time to something equally important and, arguably a lot more instrumental to the success of their enterprise – a supportive mentor.

Mentors – A Proven Success

mentoring image Studies have been carried out in recent years which have looked at thousands of technology businesses with the aim of finding out how successful firms have achieved their success. The results were especially interesting.

Many of the factors which have been traditionally believed to be important in the success of a company were actually demonstrated in reality to have minimal impact on an organisation’s ability to thrive in the long term, however the one factor which seemed to be overlooked by many entrepreneurs and yet which had a key role to play in obtaining the entrepreneurial advantage was the use of a supportive business mentor.

Real World Examples

Mentoring relationships have been proven to be vital for the success of some of the biggest and best known organisations within the tech industry. For example Etsy’s founder Chad Dickerson and Flatiron health’s founder Nat Turner were both mentored by successful entrepreneurs like AppNexus’ Brian O’Kelley and Flickr’s Caterina Fake.

mark zuckerburg imageWe need only to look at Mark Zuckerburg’s comments after the death of Steve Jobs which stated how important the entrepreneur had been as a mentor to see how vital mentorship can be to the success of an organisation. Indeed, the power of mentor/mentee relationships is so strong that it has been proven that 33% of business founders who received mentoring from successful entrepreneurs then went on themselves to be top performers in their field.

In fact, mentorship doesn’t only offer benefits to entrepreneurs. Research carried out in a range of fields has shown that a good mentor can improve their protégé’s performance regardless of their sector. Yet with there being such a visible difference between how well companies that have successful mentors perform and the performance of companies which lack mentorship, it is clear that anyone considering starting up in business should seriously consider engaging their own mentor to give them the advice and support they need.

Maximising The Mentoring Relationships

If you are considering looking for a mentor for your fledgling company, you need to know how to get the most out of your relationship with your chosen mentor. Here are three valuable lessons to bear in mind when it comes to maximising the mentor/mentee relationship.

Quality matters

Just having a mentor isn’t sufficient to guarantee your organisation’s success. If you’re keen for your business to rank among the top performers in its field, you’ll need to select a mentor with the knowledge and skills necessary to get to that level of success. Finding a mentor with existing successes in the same sector as the one in which you are operating is essential if your start up is to outperform its peers in a competitive marketplace. If you make the mistake of choosing a low quality mentor, the benefits will not be so great.

Sustained mentorship relationships

The highest performing proteges and mentor meet on a regular basis. A single one-off meeting just isn’t enough to make a difference to the success of any start up company. Maintaining a consistent level of contact is vital, with at least quarterly meetings being the minimal necessary for ongoing success.

A focus on business critical issues

It is vital to use the talents, skills and knowledge of your mentor to their fullest extent. Top mentors are extremely busy and therefore finding the best ways to harness their expertise and time is essential. You need to have a clear idea of the areas in which their support and advice could help your business the most in order to maximise their abilities.

By bearing these things in mind, you will be able to ensure that not only do you have the right mentor for your organisation on board, but you also know the best ways to take advantage of their skills and talent. With a top performing mentor in your sector helping you to succeed, it’s possible to pave the way to success and to achieve your company’s goals more rapidly than if you try to go it alone without their advice and support.

Don’t overlook the benefits of engaging the assistance of a skilled mentor in your field, and harness their potential to drive your business onwards and upwards.