Did you know that many of the world’s most famous entrepreneurs have mentors? They understand that success is not a one-person show and that mentors can help keep their businesses innovative and relevant. According to Richard Branson, a large reason entrepreneurs don’t get mentors is because they feel it is a sign of weakness, but this is a big misconception. Entrepreneurs with mentors show that they are willing to learn, open to different perspectives and adaptable to change. Take it from these three famous entrepreneurs who credit much of their success to their mentors.
Famous Entrepreneurs and their Mentors
Mark Zuckerberg, Co-Founder and CEO, Facebook
“A small amount of time invested on your part to share your expertise can open up a new world for someone else.” – Mark Zuckerberg
Mark Zuckerberg recently made headlines for making $1.6 billion in one day propelling his net worth to $33.3 billion. So how did the Harvard graduate create a lucrative company that has transformed the world? In an interview with American talk show host Charlie Rose, Zuckerberg talked about his inspiring mentor Steve Jobs. “He was amazing,” said Zuckerberg. “I had a lot of questions for him.” He described how Jobs gave him advice about how he could build a team that was as focused as Zuckerberg on building “high quality and good things”. They also both believed that their life paths were meant for more than just building businesses. They wanted to change the lives of people. Zuckerberg wrote in a final farewell Facebook post to Jobs: “Thanks for showing that what you build can change the world.”
Bill Gates, Founder and Technology Advisor, Microsoft
“As we look ahead into the next century, leaders will be those who empower others.” – Bill Gates
Bill Gates is currently listed as the richest person in the world. The Harvard drop-out credits part of his success to his mentor, businessman and investor, Warren Buffet. During an interview with CBC, Gates credited Buffet for teaching him how to deal with tough situations and how to think long-term. Gates also greatly admires Buffet’s “desire to teach things that are complex and put them in a simple form, so that people can understand and get the benefit of all his experience.” Buffet is empowered by Gates too. “What I really most admire about Bill is the view he has about what he should do with the wealth he’s accumulated…he knows he’s a beneficiary of a terrific society.”
Richard Branson, Founder, Virgin Group
“If you ask any successful businessperson, they will always (say they) have had a great mentor at some point along the road.” – Richard Branson
Richard Branson understands the importance of mentorship. Branson asked British airline entrepreneur, Sir Freddie Laker, for guidance during his struggle to get Virgin Atlantic off the ground. Branson wrote in British newspaper The Sun: “It’s always good to have a helping hand at the start. I wouldn’t have got anywhere in the airline industry without the mentorship of Sir Freddie Laker.” Branson believes the first step to finding a great mentor is admitting you can benefit from a mentor: “Understandably there’s a lot of ego, nervous energy and parental pride involved, especially with one- or two-person start-ups…Going it alone is an admirable, but foolhardy and highly flawed approach to taking on the world.”
The Importance of Perspective
If you have an experienced mentor it can be life changing and extremely valuable to your personal development and your business. Whether your relationship is just for one year, or ongoing throughout your business journey, mentorship can empower you and drastically increase the chance of your business succeeding. So, if you want to become British Columbia’s next Zuckerberg, Gates or Branson, find a mentor program that works for you.
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