The facts about mentors

I’ve been thinking a lot about business mentors lately. In fact, I just landed in Washington, DC to visit with 350 of them at the SCORE National Leadership Conference.

Coincidentally, one of my own mentors just sent me this article which summarizes the results of a British survey on mentoring.

Sage, the software company, commissioned the survey which asked 1,000+ small businesses about their experiences with mentors. Here are the highlights:

  • Businesses who follow the advice of an appropriate mentor are half as likely to fail.
  • Two thirds of SMEs believe a mentor can help them expand.
  • Businesses who were mentored were almost twice as likely to grow revenues than those without a mentor.
  • 90% of SMEs who had worked with a mentor said it had a positive impact on their business.

The survey said that mentors helped businesses with a wide range of issues with the most common being:

  • controlling costs
  • effective marketing, and
  • reaching a broad enough customer base.

The survey mirrors my own experience: I’ve heard countless stories of mentors making a significant difference to the lives of entrepreneurs and the success of their ventures. And my own mentors have made a material difference to my business.

Incredibly, many mentors do it on a purely volunteer basis. It’s their opportunity to “give back”, to support their community, to stay active in a field that is stimulating and rewarding. They’ve had some success in business and now simply want to share their good fortune with others.

Which leads me back to DC: I’m attending the National Leadership Conference of SCORE, one of the largest volunteer mentoring organizations in the world.  SCORE has 11,200 mentors in about 350 chapters across the U.S. Its mentors help entrepreneurs with any aspect of their business at no charge. Amazing resource.

Over the last year I have had the privilege to meet SCORE members at all levels and I’ve been uniformly impressed. So I’m really looking forward to this week!

As always, very special thanks to Tom McKay, Mike Reid, Joe Daley and their colleagues who work out of the SCORE Fort Worth chapter.

Alex Glassey

Alex Glassey is the founder and CEO of StratPad.