As the saying goes, there’s no substitute for experience. Your new business idea may be the next big thing since sliced bread, but do you have the right guidance you’ll need to make it a success?

The uncertainty of launching a new venture is always exciting. Every day, a new challenge will crop up. Knowing which direction to take to overcome these barriers is key.

Having a mentor can help you navigate the wobbles and bumps in the road most founders have, particularly in the first few months, as you look to bring your new product or service to market.

Finding a mentor can sometimes be hard. Start-ups need someone who can really add value to their business, and on a level both mentor and mentee can understand.

With money invariably tight at the start of any new venture, having a free mentor can make a huge difference. It’s pretty handy that each entrepreneur receiving a Start Up Loan from Virgin StartUp gets a mentor then, isn’t it? The best mentors are always the ones who give their time for free. They want to give something back, often in the way others have helped them previously.

Mentors sat around a table

Using our fancy software, we’ll match you up to a perfect mentor with relevant experience. They’ll be able to advise you how to avoid common pitfalls, listen to your problems and come up with solutions to push your business forward. They’ve made the mistakes already, so you don’t have to.

They’re not there to steal your ideas, judge or criticise you. They’re there to give impartial advice, encouragement and develop you as an entrepreneur. You’ll be able to bounce ideas off them, just like an old friend that’ll tell you exactly what they think. They’ll inspire you and keep you focused.

You’ll usually notice a huge upturn in confidence and your business is more likely to succeed. A recent study by accounting firm Sage showed that 93 per cent of start-ups admitted that mentorship was instrumental to their success as a growing business.

Our mentors are committed to providing eight hours of support over six months. It requires commitment on both sides, but the results will be worth it. It’s important to let go of any ego you may have, recognise your strengths and weaknesses and embrace the support that’s on offer.
Sir Richard Branson was mentored by aviation entrepreneur Sir Freddie Laker, who supported him during the early days of Virgin Atlantic.

In his book, The Virgin Way, Richard says: “Understandably there’s a lot of ego, nervous energy and parental pride involved, especially with one or two-person start-ups – factors that tend to manifest themselves in a cocoon-like state of mind where, ‘Only I/we get it and nobody else can possibly help make this thing work’. Trust me: they can, and they will. Going it alone is an admirable but foolhardy and highly flawed approach to taking on the world.”

He added: “So please, take it from me: no matter how incredibly smart you think you are, or how brilliant, disruptive or plain off -the-wall your new concept might be, every start-up team needs at least one good mentor.”

Learn more about how Start Up Loans can benefit you today.