As a Founder of a startup, there's a danger in assuming that hustling hard will get you where you need to be. Holding onto blind optimism that things will somehow work out for the best.
You might be lucky enough to have the bonus of support from friends and family, allowing you to bounce ideas and receive encouragement. But there’s another way to navigate the rocky road ahead – mentors. For a startup, there’s nothing quite like having a dedicated mentor to help your business accelerate at scale.
That’s why Stone & Chalk created its flagship Mentor Program, partnering with Stephenson Mansell Group, Australia’s pre-eminent executive coaching, mentoring and leadership development firm.
Our Head of Community Programs, Annie Le Cavalier, sits down with Founders to understand their specific needs, then matches them with high-calibre mentors through a bespoke program. SMG steps in to provide best practices in teaching both parties how to work well together and build productive relationships.
In a focused session at the start of the program and ahead of Founders meeting potential mentors, Stephenson Mansell Group runs a facilitated workshop for mentors and mentees. This boosts skill development in areas such as advanced listening and questioning techniques. It also provides a strong framework for mentors and mentees to get the most out of their initial compatibility conversations.
And the numbers prove it. Several research bodies have reported entrepreneurs who have received mentoring have found it instrumental to their growth. Take for example, Endeavor, a not-for-profit organisation focused on supporting entrepreneurs, reported Founders who have been mentored by top-performing entrepreneurs are three times as likely to go on to become top performers themselves.
A study by global logistics brand, UPS, also revealed that 70% of startups who received mentoring survived their first five years. That's double the rate of startups who didn’t have a mentor over the same period. The same study showed that 88% of Founders say having a mentor to lean on is ‘invaluable’.
It’s safe to say that the best mentors help future-proof a startup by fostering a culture of trust, helping Founders expand their network, providing vital lessons and listening to their needs.
Not only does mentoring expose startups to new ways of thinking, it sets fresh eyes on any challenges they may be facing. It’s a rare opportunity to talk through thought processes, and have an accountability partner who listens and challenges - whilst at the same time remains supportive, working alongside you to create positive change. Overall, this increases confidence to learn how to become a better Founder.