Mentorship matters. This is especially true for small startup companies, including those that are owned by women. In fact, a common challenge for female entrepreneurs is a lack of mentorship. This article discusses the importance for women entrepreneurs to seek out mentors and provides tips for how to do so effectively
Entrepreneurship Tips: How Can Mentoring Help?
The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) calls mentoring “the missing link to small business growth and survival.” A survey by the UPS Store showed 70 percent of small businesses that received some sort of mentoring survived past the five-year mark. That’s double the survival rate of non-mentored companies.
For the women-owned business, this mentorship can help overcome some of the additional hardships they face due to their gender. For example, women-owned business loans are more difficult to secure and pay inequities between men and women are still an issue. Mentoring can help the women-owned business by providing crucial tips for starting a small business—or sustaining it. Here are some of the other common mentoring benefits for women to consider:
- Mentoring helps women entrepreneurs avoid costly business mistakes. One study by Harvard showed 84 percent of CEOs say that a mentor helped them avoid gaffes that would have harmed their companies.
- Mentoring helps improve operational performance. The same Harvard study reported that CEOs say mentoring helped them make better decisions that improved their bottom line.
- Mentoring improves networks, which opens doors to new opportunities. Mentoring is a form of entrepreneur help that expands relationships into business corridors and expands the confidence of the new business owners. Having an established mentor introduce your new company into their networks is a huge business boost. Companies with larger networks have more business opportunities. Consider that these mentors may have spent years building these relationships. An introduction into these networks could open doors to new business and provide higher community visibility to boost your brand.
- Mentoring can help with franchising or women-owned business loans. Don’t discount the power of your mentor’s network to provide funding guidance. The statistics show that women-owned businesses only get 19 percent of the available angel funding each year and only 6 percent of the venture capital. Finding small business funding or women-owned business loans is more challenging for these entrepreneurs. Having a mentor to give you funding guidance can help with everything from franchising assistance to women-owned business loans for a startup venture. Mentors can serve as a reference for investors or help guide a women-owned company through financing.
While these are a few of the benefits of mentorship for the women-owned business, there are other intangibles that help with street credibility in a community when the company is just starting out. Starting a small business is hard anytime, but for women, there are additional challenges that can be lessened or alleviated by working closely with a mentor. Mentoring also helps the mentor; it’s a highly satisfying way to give back to the community.
Benetrends helps mentor small business owners by providing women-owned business information about loans and resources for other non-traditional funding sources, such as the 401(k) loan. To find out more about our programs, download our Innovative Funding Strategies For Entrepreneurs.