In the business world, the notion of the rugged individualist who goes it alone in the face of adversity is often celebrated and even romanticized. But as some of the world’s most successful entrepreneurs will readily admit, sometimes going it alone in the high stakes world of corporate development is a fool’s errand.
Mentorship: The Sine Qua Non of Business Success?
For most business founders, in fact, finding a mentor is a key aspect of success. Mentors can provide everything from encouragement to initial funding for a business idea, and no entrepreneur should miss the chance to learn from someone who has already achieved success in the business world. Here are just a few great entrepreneurs who sought the guidance of mentors when times were tough, and why good mentorship matters now more than ever.
Steve Jobs and Mike Markkula
While Apple Inc. has become one of the most successful businesses in the world, the company faced many challenges in its early days. In 2019, personal computing has revolutionized the day-to-day life of most Americans, but the concept was a hard sell in the 1970s and early 1980s. At such times of crisis, Steve Jobs turned to his mentor Mike Markkula, who supported Jobs’s vision and provided necessary capital for the development of the Apple II. The rest is history.
Bill Gates and Warren Buffett
We tend to think of Bill Gates as one of the most confident entrepreneurs in the business world, but there was a time when even Gates had serious doubts about the future of Microsoft. Fortunately, billionaire investor Warren Buffett was able to convince the entrepreneur that the software revolution had a future in the US and abroad, and Gates still credits Buffett with being there to guide him during times of uncertainty.
Mark Zuckerberg and Steve Jobs
Facebook has changed the way that human beings interact, but the future of the social media behemoth wasn’t always certain. But like many entrepreneurs before him, Mark Zuckerberg turned to an experienced mentor when the going got tough. Steve Jobs had always been Zuckerberg’s personal hero, and seeking Jobs out for business advice may have changed the path of Zuckerberg’s career.
Indeed, true to his slightly mystical reputation, Jobs advised Zuckerberg to attend an ashram in Northern India to achieve a clearer vision of Facebook’s future. (Jobs had attended the same ashram when Apple was getting its start.) The visit evidently did the trick, and Zuckerberg now credits Jobs as a mentor and a key figure in Facebook’s success.