Why Do You Need A Business Mentor

The UK Government recently published a report stating that a new business that works with a Business Mentor has a 20% greater chance of surviving the first 30 months of it’s life, than ones that don’t.

Given that 1 in 4 businesses fail in the first 12 months, it makes total sense that a business should consider using a Business Mentor whether it is in the start-up phase or where a business is established and looking to enter into a growth phase.

Many Entrepreneurs that I meet don’t use a Mentor. They don’t really understand what the benefits of having a Mentor are, instead they would rather use friends or family to support them. Using Friends and Family is fine, providing that they are open, honest and objective, and have the knowledge and experience that is necessary to give the right support or advice. On many occasions in have heard stories of Family and Friends giving help and advice, however the Entrepreneur has told me they had really only been told what they wanted to hear, advice from close acquaintances does have risks, nobody ever really wants to upset anyone close to them.

A good business Mentor will be able to offer a strong, cost effective solution to supporting your business, allowing it to grow and develop in a sustainable and robust manner. Finding a good Mentor may take some time, but it is a worthy time investment, a Mentor and Entrepreneur should be able to work well together, respecting each other, but not being afraid to challenge the others thinking. A good business Mentor will work to your agenda, discuss your business with you, ask questions (Maybe ones you don’t want to be asked), listen and provide constructive feedback by bringing in a new perspective to your business. They will be able to help you find solutions to issues within your business by sharing their expertise and knowledge, help you to identify and un-lock opportunities, whilst supporting, motivating and inspiring you, both within the business and personally.

I always ask the businesses that i work with what they get out of Mentoring, and each and every one give me a different answer, Mentoring is very personal and there is no genuine format to this fine art, the Mentoring and Coaching must what is right for the Mentee and their business. There are so many benefits to using a Mentor i have made a short list of the ones that my partners say are most beneficial to them;

  1. Work ‘ON’ and not ‘IN’ the business: It is important to look at the bigger picture overall, being embroiled in the ‘everyday mechanics’ of a business does not give the business owner a true opportunity to do this. A good Mentor will encourage the owner to step back and out of the business, look at it with a different perspective, consider the business strategy and work out how best to move things forward effectively.
  2. Improve personal productivity: Making the time to focus on the most important issues within the business and working out the best steps to address them.
  3. Personal performance: Ensuring that personal goals are set, objectives met and delivered, agreed actions delivered on time and in full, and the business owners efficiency is maximised.
  4. Motivation: In times of difficulty or ‘stress’ it can be difficult to see the woods for the tress, a good business Mentor will keep the Mentee focussed and motivated by re-assuring and supporting the business owner, and the business.
  5. Confidentiality: By providing a business owner the opportunity to share the trials and tribulations of the business, listening to the issues faced, giving impartial advice and sharing their knowledge and experience the Mentor can support the business by confidentially helping resolve challenges and turning these into successes.
  6. Maximise the business potential: An ‘Outside Looking In’ view will give a third party perspective of a business, allowing the identification of opportunities or improvements where they may have been missed or avoided previously.
  7. Challenge belief: A strong Mentor will challenge convention and encourage a business to consider opportunities where they may have previously been dismissed. Often drilling down the thought process to a granular level to ensure that decisions have been completely thought through.
  8. Knowledge expansion: The sharing of experience, knowledge and previous successes and challenges will allow a business owner to develop personally and will give them the skills needed to continue to develop the business together.
  9. Develop relationships: Relationships are always difficult to manage, whether internally or externally. A Mentor can be an excellent listener and advisor, helping business owners to make more considered decisions when dealing with relationship issues, they can also act as a third party source of support for negotiation, business challenges or just someone to bounce ideas off.
  10. Strategy planning: A business plan will say what a business plans to do, but a strategy plan will be the how it will be done. A strong Mentor will help support the strategy development, challenge and question many aspects to ensure that they are relevant, achievable and SMART.
  11. Facilitate effective management: Frequently sitting in and observing meetings a strong Mentor will identify areas of strength and weakness within a meeting structure, and will suggest measures to develop the areas where there is potential to improve where appropriate.
  12. Support creativity and innovation: Providing the experience, knowledge and an array of contacts to support ideas where innovation and creation are necessary as part of the business development and growth.

And then there is the ‘everything else’, the areas of business that we all hate to do and think about, but know we have to, from Staffing Issues to Profitability to Implementing Change to Sales to Achieving A Work/Life Balance.

Please feel free to contact us if we can provide assistance in any of these areas, or more should you identify them.

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