They've been there, done that and have seen it all. Yet, a woeful number of entrepreneurs start their careers without one. In an age where instant gratification is glorified, it's unsurprising that many entrepreneurs and young founders do not seek out a mentor as hard as they try to find a Co-founder.
While arguments abound on why entrepreneurs do not need mentors but should only follow their own instincts and gut feelings, most successful tech titans have founders who had mentors. Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg was mentored by Steve Jobs. Jobs was mentored by Mike Markkula -- an early investor and executive at Apple. And Eric Schmidt mentored Larry Page and Sergey Brin of Google.
Like most startup founders, I didn't start with a mentor. I got into the industry and had to look up to someone who is well known in the field. This is not as effective as working hard to get a mentor to guide you while you run your business -- but it's better than nothing. Having been in business for more than Fifteen Years, I've realized the importance of having a business mentor.
Here are reasons having a mentor is important :
Experience is a very expensive asset -- yet it's crucial to business success. There's only so much about a person's experience you can gain from books. It's an unstated truth that most authors do not feel comfortable revealing everything about themselves in books. Some personal experiences may be too intimate to be shared, yet how they dealt with it can help an inexperienced entrepreneur's career.
Aside the fact that investors trust start-ups who are recommended by their friends, a successful mentor has an unlimited network of people who can benefit your career. Since they are already invested in your success, it only makes sense for them to let you tap into their network of people when the need arises. This is an opportunity you cannot tap into if you do not have a mentor.
It has been proven by research that a quality mentorship has a powerful positive effect on young entrepreneurs. Having someone who practically guides you and shares your worries with you -- often placating your fears with their years of experience - keeps you reassured that you'll be successful.
Enduring the consequences of failure on your own can set you back and impact your productivity. In hard times, having a mentor will help you keep your head high. Young entrepreneurs often deal with depression when they are unable to meet their goals and expectations. The impact of depression on entrepreneurs is often underreported. But entrepreneurs without mentors bear the brunt the most.