Is a Mentor Worth It for Founders? These 6 Statistics on Mentoring Say So
Tech Founders — 6 min read
We talk a lot about the value of mentorship, but to say that a mentor is worthwhile is a very broad claim. Mentoring programs fillmany different roles and serve many different purposes in the lives of mentees. Each and every mentoring relationship is unique. Your mentoring relationships will look very different from someone else’s depending on your personal situation and goals and how far along its journey your startup currently is.
Here are a few of the general benefits of working with a mentoring program, no matter who you are or what kind of company you’re building:
- They’ve been in your shoes. They can help you navigate the common pitfalls of the founder's journey with the perspective of someone who is already standing on the other side.
- They can provide technical assistance — teaching you new skills and helping you plan your business strategy.
- They can help you prioritize tasks and stay focused on what’s important, as well as hold you accountable for reaching your goals.
- They can be your “in” to the startup world — meaning they can draw upon their own networks to connect you with the people and opportunities that will unlock further progress for your company.
- They can celebrate your wins with you and offer motivation when you’re feeling discouraged.
- They can serve as a valuable critical eye, alerting you to holes in your business plan and calling out your blind spots in your development as an entrepreneur.
- They can challenge you to push yourself to your limits — as well as encourage you to be mindful of where those limits are.
All of these benefits represent meaningful contributions to your professional development or the growth of your company. However, while they sound nice, none of them probably look like very measurable arguments for mentoring programs from where you’re standing now.
So, without further ado, let’s shift focus toward what the numbers say about the effect of mentorship programs on startup founders. We’ll break down six verified mentoring statistics, explore what kinds of conclusions we can draw from each, and evaluate what those conclusions mean for you.
1. 70% of Mentored Businesses Survive Five Years or Longer.
According to a study conducted by the Small Firms Enterprise Development Initiative, 70% of small business owners who receive mentorship make it through the first five years successfully — that’s twice the rate of business owners who don’t receive any mentoring at all.
It’s common knowledge among experienced founders that the first few years of a startup’s life are the most precarious; the high rate of failure among new startups is an oft-repeated warning among entrepreneurs regardless of industry. Most sources agree that around half of all startups go under within their first five years of life. This first mentoring statistic highlights that you can greatly improve your startup’s chances of avoiding the same unfortunate fate many other young startups have met, simply by finding the right mentor to guide you.
2. 88% of Business Owners Say Having a Mentor Is Invaluable.
A survey of 187 entrepreneurs from the UPS small business owner community reveals that 88% of business owners who have a mentor say they consider their relationship with their mentor to be invaluable. It’s true that there’s no substitution for the experience of someone who has walked the founder’s road successfully. Not only do mentors help with career development, but they can also offer empathy and support when it comes to navigating the emotional challenges of building a startup.
3. U.S. Business Owners Who Receive Mentorship Increase Annual Revenue by an Average of 83%.
Entrepreneurs who receive guidance from an experienced mentor increase their annual revenue by an average of 83%, whereas entrepreneurs who don’t have mentors only increase their annual revenue by an average of 16% — according to a report published by the mentorship organization Mowgli.
In the startup world, growth is the name of the game. The ability to show significant growth early in your startup’s life will be a key advantage when it comes to attracting interest from investors. This statistic should stand out to you because it highlights how crucial mentorship is for achieving that all-important early growth.
4. 92% of Small Business Owners Agree Mentoring Programs Directly Impact Business Growth and Survival.
Speaking of growth, here’s another growth-related fact about mentorship programs that paints a compelling picture: In a survey of over 200 small business owners from across the United States, 92% of them said their work with a mentor directly impacted the growth and survival of their business.
In the startup world, it’s not uncommon to see growth and survival mentioned side by side — that’s how vital your startup’s early growth plan is. If you’re like 92% of other entrepreneurs, you have a much better chance of growing your startup successfully with the help of a mentor.
5. Accomplished Mentors in the Tech Industry Have Helped Younger Tech Startups Outperform Peers by a Factor of 3.
According to an Endeavor Insight analysis, companies whose founder (or founders) received mentorship from a successful entrepreneur in their field are more than three times as likely to become top-performing companies in their industry than companies whose founders did not receive mentorship.
More specifically, the analysis was conducted with the participation of hundreds of founders from New York City tech firms founded between 2003 and 2013, and found that 33% of mentored startups went on to become top-performers, whereas only 10% of startups with no mentorship were able to do the same. This statistic draws attention to the important distinction that mentors not only help entrepreneurs succeed — they frequently help them excel.
6. 97% of People With a Workplace Mentor Say the Mentoring Programs Are Valuable.
One of the most striking statistics about mentorship is that, according to research compiled by the National Mentoring Day Organization, 97% of people who have a mentor in the workplace say they’re receiving value from the relationship. It’s hard to deny the benefit of mentorship when nearly everyone who participates in one gets something positive out of it.
However, despite the overwhelming consensus that mentor relationships have real value among those who have experienced it, the same study from Sage found that only 85% of surveyed entrepreneurs currently had a mentor — and 89% of those said they wish they did.
Finding a Mentor Should Be Easy
There are many possible roadblocks that might prevent someone from finding a formal mentor, but the problem is often that they simply don’t know where to look for one. If your organization has a formal mentorship program, that can be a great place to start. However, if you’re an entrepreneur without access to a formal mentorship program through an employer, you can get access to highly accomplished mentors online through a service like Mentorcam. Mentorcam partners with experts who have achieved success in their fields and provides a platform for them to pass their knowledge along to young startup founders like you.