Having a business mentor can give you an independent view of your business or social enterprise. Engaging a mentor can help guide your strategy and ensure that you’re meeting objectives, addressing key issues and exploiting your opportunities to grow.
The benefits of business mentoring
A business mentor can help you develop a stronger and more sustainable business. Mentored businesses and organisations report many benefits, including increases in turnover, productivity and employee numbers as a direct result of engaging with a mentor.
Mentors are volunteers who give their time freely. They have a wealth of knowledge, skills, experience and contacts they are willing to share. As successful business people, they understand the challenges you face as a business owner or leader of your organisation. By providing an impartial view, mentors can encourage you to look at your business or organisation with a fresh perspective. Sometimes, this is all that’s needed to identify opportunities for growth.
The mentor’s role is to support, develop, stimulate and challenge. An experienced mentor can help you to:
- develop key business skills
- improve your problem-solving abilities
- build your confidence
- develop your leadership skills
- widen your network of business contacts
If you are planning to develop and grow your business, this could be a very effective tool to help you plan your way forward.
Mentors can meet with you on a monthly basis for a couple of hours to help you to think through your strategic objectives and ambitions. They can also be at the end of the phone to support and encourage you when things get tough, or when you just need someone to act as a sounding board. Mentors can help you stand back from your business and look at the ‘big picture’, identifying strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. They can offer information and insights, provide counsel, caution against potential pitfalls and help build your confidence.
Mentors typically have a broad network of contacts, friends and colleagues built up over their careers. As a result, they can sometimes make useful introductions for you.
One-to-one mentoring and group mentoring
Mentors can work with you on a one-to-one basis. Or, you can work as part of a group, where eight or ten companies meet to discuss common issues and share knowledge and resources under the guidance of a shared mentor. Either way, you can benefit from the insight, support and experience of a successful business person.
However having a business mentor won’t automatically fix all your business problems. Mentors are not consultants and they don’t take the place of existing professional advisers. Some organisations that can help you to find a mentor: