Most startups fail. One of the biggest reasons for this is undoubtedly a lack of experience. As a novice founder, it is inevitable that you will make easily avoidable mistakes. This can lead to a lot of wasted time, effort and capital. And in most cases, an early stage startup doesn’t have the spare capacity to survive such inefficiencies.
Experience makes a big difference – 60-year-old entrepreneurs do 3 times more likely to build a successful startup than 30 year old founders. In addition, founders with at least one previous entrepreneurial success have a 50% more chance to succeed in a new venture compared to the first founders (30% success rate compared to 18% success rate).
While it is possible to educate yourself by reading books and articles on the subject, it is not a foolproof method for: avoid startup errors. Most of your problems are case-specific, and if you don’t have the experience, it would be difficult to practically apply the general lessons you’ve gathered from applying content.
That’s why it’s invaluable to get advice tailored to your specific problem from a person with hands-on experience in taking projects from zero to one.
According to an UPS store inquiry70% of small business owners who receive mentoring survive five years or more. This is double the survival rate of founders who do not receive guidance.
So, here are a few reasons why mentors can add a lot of value to your project:
First and foremost, an experienced mentor is well versed in the basics of startups. While you may not be an expert in lean thinking and empirically validating your ideas as a startup founder, these are basic concepts for startup veterans. A good mentor would save you a lot of time by pointing you in the right direction from the start of your startup journey.
2. Access to a professional network
While what you know is vital, who you know is just as important. As a newcomer to the field, your professional network is probably not that developed. This can make it difficult to reach potential employees, partners, investors or even customers, which would slow down your growth.
A well-connected mentor can solve this problem for you and introduce you to people who can add a lot of value to your project.
Connecting with the right people is only half the battle. After you achieve them, you need to convince them of the potential of what you are doing and of your chances of success.
This is very difficult to do alone as your lack of experience makes your opinion less credible.
Fortunately, the support of a person with a strong reputation can solve this problem.
4. Emotional Support
The mentor’s experience is useful not only for rational guidance, but also for emotional support. Unlike most people in your life, an experienced founder would know how difficult it can be to take a project from zero to one. When the going gets tough it becomes invaluable to have a person who understands you and supports you along the way and even pushes you forward when needed.
“Our most important need in life is someone who will let us do what we can.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson