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Five Reasons Why Structured Mentoring Can Accelerate Startup Growth Creating a mentorship culture in your business builds a network of integrity that is highly attractive to prospective investors.

By Steve Mayne

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

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Offering structured mentoring to your team, and embracing mentorship for yourself, is a powerful way to help your new business avoid failure and accelerate brand growth. As a business tool it is proven to offer numerous benefits:

  • Optimizing recruitment
  • Future-proofing your business
  • Reducing workplace stress
  • Attracting investors
  • Boosting business revenue

With Dubai set to become a 'Smart City' by 2020 and the rest of the UAE likely to follow suit, you can see why implementing strategies like mentoring are crucial. It can help you become a winner in the increasingly lucrative but competitive digital world.

Mentoring boosts recruitment and promotion prospects
If you're looking for a primary reason to implement mentoring within your new business, then consider the potential impact on recruitment. Offering mentorship opportunities is a real incentive to prospective employees, because it's been proven to enhance their career prospects.

This is something highlighted by one of the world's leading mentoring experts, Anne Fisher, who investigated the impact of mentorships on 1,000 US employees when working for Sun Microsystems, before the company was sold to Oracle.

The impact of mentoring on 1,000 workers over five years:

  • Mentoring increased pay rise prospects by 20%
  • Mentorships boosted promotion rates x5

Offering people the chance to be mentored, is something that you can leverage to attract the best talent. Use it to entice hot prospects to apply for roles– and then to ensure job offers are accepted.

The data also found that managers acting as mentors were also more likely to get a promotion, and 28% of mentors received a pay rise. Compare that to just 5% of non-mentors getting a pay rise, and it's clearly an excellent addition to your company culture.

Mentorship gets your company ready for the future
With the imminent arrival of Dubai's 2020 Smart City, the whole of the UAE is gearing-up to embrace an increasingly real 'tech world'. And this means that your next wave of young employees will be very advanced when it comes to technological developments. And so here the mentoring goes in the other direction.

Consider the importance of reverse mentoring. It's vital to embrace the concept of reverse mentoring. We're talking about people aged 30+ being mentored by tech-savvy younger employees, who have grown up using the latest smart technology. In fact, more and more successful startups are using two-way mentoring platforms, where age and experience aren't barriers. Consider this:

  • In 2020, your MD could be the ideal mentor for developing a graduate's confidence and business acumen.
  • But that same graduate may be able to mentor your MD on using holographic marketing.

Mentoring reduces workplace stress for mentors and mentees
Significant research suggests that being mentored can reduce mental stress in the workplace. However, just as importantly, scientists have discovered that when senior employees mentor their junior colleagues, it also helps to alleviate their own level of anxiety and improve mental health:

"Mentoring could help organisations address the serious and costly workplace issues of anxiety and mental health.'

Given that anxiety and stress could be very costly to your startup's functionality and revenue, mentoring is a vital protective business tool. But remember to also seek holistic mentoring for yourself– not just your employees. According to research by global logistics brand, UPS, mentoring significantly reduces the risk of business failure for business owners:

  • 70% of small startups who received mentoring survived their first five years of trading.
  • Only 35% of small businesses survived for five years without mentoring

Good mentor check list

  • Friend and role model
  • Very honest but compassionate
  • Supports personal growth
  • Listens to your problems
  • Offers experienced perspective
  • Promotes taking action and positive change
  • Encourages self-reliance

New investors are impressed by mentoring integrity
If the future success of a business can be predicted by its mentoring ethos, then Steve Jobs' mentorship of Mark Zuckerberg certainly provides supporting evidence. Unquestionably, creating a mentorship culture in your business builds a network of integrity that is highly attractive to prospective investors. In fact, whether you're seeking a private injection of cash, or are aiming for an acquisition deal, investors are intuitively looking for signs that your business is structured for continued growth and success.

Mentoring displays business traits that are built for success and structured to reduce the risk of failure. In short, mentoring underlines key positive characteristics:

  • Personal care for others
  • Humility to listen, learn, respond and grow
  • The confidence to achieve more
  • A structure that breeds success

Mentoring can increase employee confidence and your business revenue
Statistics suggests a link between companies that embrace a mentoring culture, and healthier profit levels. Data has shown that US businesses receiving mentorship increased their annual revenue by an average of 83%, compared to 16% for those who don't use mentorship.

While the benefits of mentoring on your revenue are likely to be holistic in nature, enhancing many parts of your business processes, the potential for mentoring to enhance confidence and emotional intelligence is particularly interesting. Research suggests that these traits are correlated with job performance and career progression. It makes sense. If your workers are focused and confident, they're also likely to make you more money, and thereby gain promotions and pay rises.

So in some form, practically every startup success relies on mentorship. And few entrepreneurs succeed without it.

Richard Branson is quoted as saying he would never have built Virgin without the guidance of his mentor, Sir Freddie Laker, of Laker Airways. Laker, taught him to 'Get out there and make a noise'.

The alternative was trying to compete with the marketing budget of British Airways. And Branson is sure that Virgin would have failed without that simple, yet crucial, advice.

If you are starting a new business in Dubai or somewhere in the UAE, there are many viable paths to cultivate relationships with mentors. But it's crucial to link-up with professionals who can offer you genuine support not merely friends who may lack business acumen and the capacity to be brutally honest with you.

That means working with company registration professionals who can put you in touch with SME entrepreneurs and industry mentors.

In the end, Dubai's 2020 Smart City status is set to create a ground breaking environment for new businesses. And the use of mentoring will remain a key to ensuring your business accelerates growth.

Related: Reach New Professional Heights With The Help Of A Mentor

Steve Mayne

Founder and Managing Partner of Creative Zone

Steve Mayne is the founder and Managing Partner of Creative Zone, a Dubai-based company formation firm established in 2010. With expertise in company formation and workspace solutions, he has provided advice and support to numerous startups and incubation centres. He also brings more than 26 years of experience in sales, management, business consultancy, corporate leadership and entrepreneurship. Steve holds an MBA from Charles Sturt University, Australia.


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