Advice and support can be just as important as funding in the early stages of starting up in business, which is why a good mentor is worth his or her weight in GOLD..!
They are sounding boards, voices of reason, and fonts of knowledge; all rolled into one, and can be a lifeline for those new to running their own business.
Richard Branson a legend and an inspiration for entrepreneurs and life adventurers alike, but I am particularly fascinated by the help he received to launch Virgin Atlantic in 1984 - one of his highest profile businesses.
His mentor was legendary airline entrepreneur Sir Freddie Laker, a man he had always admired, but who became a source of practical help and inspiration during the early days of Virgin Atlantic.
“Drawing on his experiences with his own airline, Laker Airways, his advice on how to set up the company was invaluable, he helped shape our vision for high quality service at competitive prices, and was the first to bring my attention to how fiercely we would have to battle with other airlines to make a success of our airline. 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. Now, I love mentoring young entrepreneurs.” - Branson
As American author and businessman Zig Ziglar said: "A lot of people have gone further than they thought they could because someone else thought they could." "Find a mentor."
Freddie Laker was one of Britain’s highest profile entrepreneurs in the 1960’s and 1970’s and was regarded as one of Margret Thatcher’s ‘Golden Boys of Industry’ along with Clive Sinclair and Alan Sugar.
At this time, Laker launched the ‘Skytrain’ service under his own airline, Laker Airways. He is regarded as the founder of the low-cost airline model - also mentoring Stelios Haji-Ioannou when his EasyJet business was the subject of British Airways bullying tactics. He was only able to add this value after going through a similar situation with BA when starting his own airline.