One thing many successful entrepreneurs have in common is a close relationship with a mentor. Bill Gates was mentored by Warren Buffet, Mark Zuckerberg by Steve Jobs and Steve Jobs by Bill Campbell. Why is having a mentor so important when it comes to growing your business?
The first years in business can be challenging, especially for those starting a business for the first time. According to a Finnish study by Tilastokeskus, half of all new companies starting out in Finland have already shut down operations after just five years of being in business.
Many companies end up going out of business because they haven’t fully considered customer demand or the feasibility of their business models when they get started, according to Vesa Riihimäki, Head of Startup & Growth Finland at Nordea.
“These companies often fail to make quick adjustments to their initial business models along the way, based on feedback from their first customers, and instead focus on developing the wrong things,” Riihimäki says.
“Many companies end up going out of business because they haven’t fully considered customer demand or the feasibility of their business models when they get started.”
Why should an entrepreneur get a mentor?
The situation isn’t as hopeless as it sounds. Around 92% of entrepreneurs report that mentoring has a positive impact on the growth and survival of their business. Just five meetings with a mentor have been shown to have a considerable impact on improving growth potential.
According to Riihimäki, there are three clear reasons why every entrepreneur needs a mentor:
You get access to know-how
Imagine hiring ten of the world’s best talents whose areas of expertise match perfectly with the challenges and opportunities your company is dealing with. Then imagine an alternative situation where you would have ten of the world’s best mentors readily at hand to advise and coach you when those challenges and opportunities arise. Which option would you consider more affordable, effective and flexible?
You get an external perspective to support decision-making
A mentor should be the type of person who can maintain a suitable distance from your company. An outsider will more easily be able to see pain points, as well as new opportunities and areas with room for improvement. You and your team might not always be able to spot the things that a mentor can.
You get to expand your network
A good mentor typically has an excellent network. This means that when you find a mentor, you’ll likely get to expand your own network as well. A mentor can help you find new sparring partners and contacts who can help your business to grow or connect you with relevant partners and service providers.
Mentoring and sparring are key parts of Nordea’s Startup & Growth units’ work across the Nordics. We help companies grow by helping them find mentors, investors and service providers from our broad network. In addition, we want to make an impact in the community, which is why we team up with organisations such as Ashoka and mentor entrepreneurs across the Nordics.
Recommended reading: When the ongoing pandemic has closed down all live events, Nordea Startup and Growth opens up the opportunity of virtual matchmaking. Nordea Investor Speed Dating brings together high-growth startups and scaleups and local and global investors – safely online. If you are a startup or scaleup looking for the right investor for your brilliant business idea, read more about this matchmaking event and send in your application.
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