Business is not a competition of the smartest guy in class. Yes, that you were academically talented means largely nothing. Business is simply figuring out what markets want and then offering those things at the most optimal points across value, pricing, timing, and service.
Interestingly, it takes the support of people who had experienced what you want to do to provide guidance to unlock great moments. This is where mentorship comes into play. No matter how brilliant you are, to thrive in business, you need a mentor. Without one, you would make mistakes which might have been avoided.
Think about it: Mark Zuckerberg dropped out; Bill Gates dropped out. Nonsense – they did not drop out. They dropped out from academic mentors (professors) into the hands of business mentors (venture capitalists).
No matter how you see those two – I would vote for the man that would give me $1 million, and still answers my phone calls, because he wants to help me ensure that everyone is richer. That is the venture capital industry! A critical part of that industry is mentorship: the best founders accept investing capital based on deals the investors would catalyze. Simply, sending money is not enough – you need to bring growth by introducing and linking the startups to new opportunities.
The other mentor – the professor – wants me to pay him to teach me. Both are valuable in the society but context is important: no American kid that has raised $500,000 has ever dropped out of college. Those kids simply left university halls and academic professors behind to start new “education” under the tutelage of legendary business professors called venture capitalists. The best among them are the finest professors in the world if you believe that education can come outside of people who might have been teaching the same thing for 20 years. The venture capitalists now pay those kids, give them money, and technically serve them as they pilot missions to make everyone richer!
I have my own business mentor – he has been kind to offer insights and perspectives whenever I need them. Yes, Mr. Tony Elumelu has supported in many ways. Without him, there would not be Zenvus.
Find your own mentor – he does not need to be your university professor unless the professor knows and understands business. It is always good to use active practicing professionals who are facing the challenges you are encountering at higher levels.
If you run a business, it does not make sense to pick a big corporation uncle (unless he founded a firm) as a mentor – he is guaranteed income at month end and may have never felt the stress of paying workers, and growing margins. There is urgency that comes when you meet people running their shops, a civil servant would not give you that.
Invest in finding a mentor in 2019 –it would help you a lot!