SMEs Name Richard Branson As Top Would-Be Mentor

Richard Branson Is The Person SMEs Would Most Like To Have As Their Mentor


Steven Beahan, Partner | +44 (0)114 294 7868

Virgin founder Richard Branson has been named in a poll of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) from the UK as the individual they would most like to be mentored by.

Everline questioned 500 decision makers from small businesses in its survey, with 40 per cent of firms citing Branson as the person they would prefer to receive support from.

Managing director of Everline Russell Gould commented: "When it comes to aspirational business leaders, it's hard to see anyone knocking Richard Branson off the top spot anytime soon."

In second place was founder and chief executive officer of Facebook Mark Zuckerberg, with 13 per cent of those surveyed saying he was the figure they wish they could be mentored by.

Zuckerberg was much more popular among the younger generation, with 25 per cent of respondents aged between 18 and 34 citing him as their preferred would-be mentor.

This shows that money was not necessarily an influencing factor in people's survey responses, as Branson is believed to have a net worth of around £2.8 billion, while Zuckerberg is thought to be worth in the region of £20 billion, making him the 16th richest person in the world.

Also popular were high-profile figures including author of the Harry Potter series J K Rowling, who received six per cent of the votes, but she was only one of three women included in the poll, alongside ex-band members turned X Factor judges Mel B and Cheryl Versini-Fernandez.

However, some of the country's top politicians did not fare quite as well in the survey, with prime minister David Cameron gaining five per cent of votes, while Ed Miliband got two per cent and Nick Clegg came in with one per cent.

Mr Gould stated: "It's worrying that there is a lack of people in the pipeline that small business owners can aspire to or would want as their mentor.

"We need government and business partners to do more to help small businesses get off the ground and ensure they get the support they need to keep growing."

Expert Opinion
This research provides an interesting insight into the mindset of many entrepreneurs, regarding not only who they regard as mentors or admire but also how many do thinking about the issue of external support.

"Small businesses should never underestimate the important role that advice from third parties can play in their success, particularly as the size of their operations means it is often difficult to have specialist support on a range of matters based internally.

"SMEs should particularly consider tailored advice on matters including legal issues, with lawyers being able to help on a diverse range of topics from contract law, finance and employment to real estate, litigation issues and IP.

"One of the key issues that small businesses should never forget is that they simply do not need to go it alone."
Steven Beahan, Partner