Firstly, lets just dive right in here and get straight into what a Business Mentor is. You probably understand the principle of what one is – someone who mentors you in your business, right? Pretty self-explanatory. But what exactly do they do? Mentor you how? What do you actually get from it? Is it a good use of your limited budget?
What does a Business Mentor do?
A Business Mentor is someone who has many years of experience running a business and now acts as an advisor to those who are at the start of their journey. A mentor should not be confused with a Business Coach; while there are some similarities, they are also very different.
A Business Coach is normally an expert in a particular area of business, such as sales, or marketing, and they will help you aggressively attack your goals and make you accountable for them. A Business mentor provides a more ‘all round’ level of support in your day-to-day challenges, which will often change and evolve as your business grows.
For example, this month you might be landing your first client and you need someone to help you prepare a contract or terms and conditions. A few months later, you might be looking to hire an employee and you’re unsure about where to advertise, how to interview them, or what might happen if the business experiences a downturn and you can no longer afford them.
A Mentor is like a business partner, who doesn’t take any of your profits! A business friend, who you can ask all those questions that you scour Facebook Groups and blogs to find the answers to.
So should you consider investment in Business Mentoring?
If you’ve been in business a little while, you can probably look back and count a fair few rookie mistakes that you made – where you wasted time and money from inexperience. While it may take you all day trying to find a certain piece of information that you need to progress your business, getting that information instantly from someone who has already done it dozens of times before provides a short cut to your goals.
If you’ve found yourself needing any of these areas of help, then a mentor might be a good choice!
- You have an idea, but you wish you could talk it through and sense check it with someone in case you’re making a big mistake
- You’re spending a lot of time trying to find information in Facebook groups, blogs and YouTube
- You’re not sure what the next steps should be in your business
- You need an unbiased opinion from someone who isn’t your family and isn’t trying to sell you something!
How do you know if you’ve got a good mentor?
Personalities play a bit part in the mentoring process – and sometimes you just won’t gel with someone, so it’s always good to have a trial session and see if you build that rapport.
While there’s big money in Business Coaching; mentoring on the other hand comes with a much smaller price tag and therefore tends to attract people who aren’t doing it for the money, but for the love of it. These are usually people who have exited their own business, retired or simply enjoy helping small businesses.
Mentors will rarely coerce you to sign up to an expensive programme, or a long-term commitment, with many offering their services on an hourly ad-hoc basis for a set hourly fee, allowing you to engage support as and when you need it and can afford it.
Many Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEP) Hubs in the UK offer free mentoring to start-ups, which is UK/EU funded, and if they are unable to provide you with funded mentoring, they can certainly point you in the direction of a reputable one.
At The Small Business Academy, we offer 1 hour of Zoom Mentoring with our founder and Award Winning entrepreneur Nikki Hesford for a flat rate of £45 per hour.