Mentoring Found to Increase Small Business Survival Odds
When it comes to starting a new business, having someone by your side who knows the ropes can go a long way. Whether it’s a one-time meeting or long-term mentorship, having the opportunity to ask questions and get encouragement can mean a lot to a budding entrepreneur. Now a new study finds that having a mentor can also help increase a small business’s survival odds.
According to data from SCORE, business owners who had a mentorship were more likely to still be in business one year after opening. While three-quarters of mentorless entrepreneurs survived their first 12 months, that number rose to 87% among those with mentors. Further data shows that the number of interactions with said mentor can also have an effect on a business’s success. In fact, on the whole, those who reported meeting more than five times with their mentors were less likely to be struggling and more likely to be expanding than those who only had one meeting (28% to 39% and 43% to 30% respectively).
Not only did the study discover mentor relationships to have a positive influence on business survival rates but also found that they led more would-be entrepreneurs to start their ventures in the first place. Of those without access to a mentor, only about 2% go on to start a business. Meanwhile those with mentors were found to be five times more likely to follow through on their business ideas, with 10% starting businesses.
It should be noted that SCORE, the nonprofit association behind this study, offers a large business mentor network. However this is something SCORE CEO Ken Yancey acknowledged in a statement regarding the study’s finding. He said, “This data confirms what SCORE has learned over 54 years of helping 11 million entrepreneurs to start or grow their businesses – that mentoring has a significant, positive impact on small business success rates.”
Although this study was released as part of SCORE’s “The Megaphone of Main Street: Women’s Entrepreneurship” series, another interesting finding was that mentor-pupil gender pairing had little impact on student satisfaction. In nearly all scenarios, at least three-quarters of entrepreneurs reported that their mentors offered them relevant advice, nearly 80% saying they found their mentors to be helpful, and nearly 90% asserting that their mentors treated them with respect. In a statement, Yancey also noted some delighted astonishment at these findings, saying, ” We were surprised to find that there was no statistically significant difference in our clients’ satisfaction rates according to whether an entrepreneur worked with a mentor of the same gender. Above all else, our small business owner clients want a mentor who listens to them, and who accurately assesses their particular business situation. They want a mentor who is helpful and who provides relevant advice in a respectful manner.”
Overall these latest numbers from SCORE quantify an effect many likely already knew to be true. Still it is interesting to see just how much of a difference having a business mentor can make when it comes to the success of an entrepreneur. For more information on SCORE’s services and mentorship network, you can visit them online.
Also published on Medium.