We’ve discovered that a lack of mentoring in the UK is holding back five million small and mid-sized British businesses (SMEs) from achieving growth and contributing to the economy.

These business are twice as likely to fail in five years’ time than those who follow the advice of an experienced advisor.

According to new research from Sage, the software company, two thirds of SMEs believe mentoring can help them expand, but only 22% are seeking support from an expert or industry veteran. Worryingly, many are turning to personal contacts without any experience of running a business.

Can you expect a business to survive, let alone grow, on the wise words of the bloke in the pub?

Vincents mentoringAccording to the Department for Business Innovation and Skills (BiS) nine out of ten businesses who had worked with a mentor said it had a positive impact on their business.

It also found that nearly twice as many mentored businesses reported an increase in turnover (44%), than non-mentored counterparts (23%).

Those taken under the wing of an expert also went on to hire more staff.

“Businesses that do not have access to, or choose not to make use of business mentoring are at a disadvantage. In our information rich age it can be difficult to know if you are doing the right thing. Mentors can play a big role in helping young businesses to navigate the sea of advice on offer,” said Amanda Jobbins, Sage Group.

As we at Vincent & Co have reported before, the top three problems facing businesses were controlling costs, effective marketing and reaching a broad enough customer base, the survey of 1,110 companies found.

“There is a wide gap between those businesses who see the value of business mentoring and those who actually make use of it,” said Amanda Jobbins.

“We need to educate startups and small businesses about the benefits of mentoring and where to find them. According to a survey of our customers, nearly a quarter of UK businesses highlighted a shortage of information on mentoring as a barrier to its widespread adoption. While 22% said that a lack of proof that mentoring can help businesses to grow hindered its uptake.”

Do you feel the need for mentoring, help and good advice in your business? We’re here to help you to succeed so call us on 01803 500 500 for a confidential discussion.