You do not have to be a hardcore Star Wars fan to know who Yoda is - wise, weird, little, and green. He was portrayed in the original Star Wars movie as a mentor to both Obi-Wan Kenobi and Luke Skywalker. Calling someone Yoda is essentially referring to him/her as a mentor - advanced in his/her field, smart, and willing to teach others.
Most of the great success stories in business and entrepreneurship began through mentorship. Mark Zuckerberg, Steve Jobs, and Larry Page are all hugely successful entrepreneurs who credit part of their achievements to their mentors.
The Force is Strong (and Business Savvy)
Think about Yoda - he was an expert in his field who had his share of successes and failures. He had a wealth of knowledge and experience that he passed on to other up and coming professionals.
A business mentor is essentially the same; he/she offers advice, encouragement, and industry guidance to less-experienced professionals. The idea is to grow up and groom that person to excel in his/her particular field. Facebook, Apple, and Google would not be the industry giants they are now without mentorship.
Mentorship brings a host of benefits, especially for new and struggling business owners:
- Gain valuable experience that you will probably never learn in a classroom, a book, or any seminar. The mentor has faced similar situations or experiences and has either succeeded or failed. Either way, he/she can tell you either what to do or what not to do to help you avoid a negative fate.
- You are in a better position to advance your business through mentorship - over 80% of successful CEOs have been mentored at some point during their career. More than 90% of new business owners also tout the benefits that mentorship had for their company.
- You will have far more network opportunities with a mentor. In addition to offering advice and support, your mentor is also kind of like a Rolodex of important business connections that you would likely not otherwise make without him/her.
- You have a better chance of making it with a mentor. statistics show that approximately half of all new businesses fail within the first 5 years, with 30% not even getting through a full year. But for businesses with a mentor in the ranks, the survival rate jumps to approximately 70%.
Pat My Back/Pat Your Back
Everyone needs help from time to time, and this is especially the case for new business owners. Even if you have years of experience in your industry, you are still new to running your own ship and still need advice from someone it was already walked your path.
And as you learn from your mentor and your business excels, you can someday pass that knowledge and experience on to someone else. Steve Jobs was mentored back when he was founding Apple - years later, he became a mentor to a promising young programmer and visionary who later founded Facebook.