Whether you’re a one-man band or you employ hundreds of staff, one thing’s for sure; you don’t know everything, and you won’t always make the correct decisions. Running a business can be stressful, feel a rather lonely and sometimes isolated existence, and you don’t always have that ‘right person’ to discuss things with or to give you that different view.
These are just some of the reasons why every business owner should have a business mentor; to give a second opinion, sometimes to offer a contrary point of view; to challenge your thought process or to offer up alternative options or choices. In addition, we all sometimes need that person to pick us up, to motivate us and keep us focussed on where we are headed.
Does a business mentor know everything? No, of course not, but a good mentor will have years of experience and knowledge to draw on and will have made mistakes along the way; all of which you can learn from.
As a business mentor, I have worked with numerous entrepreneurs/business owners over the years and whilst they all have similarities, the actual businesses and the owners’ needs vary enormously.
Here are just a couple of examples of how I in my role as a business mentor have helped my clients:
Twelve months ago, a client told me they had been given the opportunity to tender for a contract for £3million with a blue chip company. This would have the effect of doubling their turnover and, if managed well, would take them to well in excess on £1m net profit per annum. An absolute game changer for the business. They produced a pitch document which they asked me to look over. The feedback I gave them was direct and honest, the pitch was awful and did nothing to highlight the quality of their work, their values and the sustainability of their products. I helped them to produce a new tender document which was submitted.
Roll forward twelve months, I sit here writing this blog when the client phones me, hugely excited to tell me that they had just been informed that they had indeed won contract and in total it would be around £3.7million. I am absolutely delighted for them, they deserve it.
Another client, who I have worked with for three years has a good strong profitable business and one of their key objectives was to buy the freehold of their premises. This had not previously been possible due to the amount of commercial loan required versus the profits of the business and also the lack of a reasonable deposit. In two years, his business has grown from a net profit of just over £100k to just short of £500k. At the end of last year, they purchased the freehold and looks set to repay the loan over just three years rather than the 20 year term (their choice not mine!) The smile on my client’s face when they exchanged contracts on the purchase was priceless. Since then, a new senior manager has been appointed to free the owner up to spend more time doing what he loves – motorsport. The business continues to grow and prosper.
Here are my top six reasons why every business should have a business mentor:
A mentor will discuss any aspect of your business in absolute confidence and use their experience to help you look at options and decide on the best way forward.
Your mentor should have a wide range of experience in leading people and teams and be able to help you with the many challenges of managing and getting the best out of your people.
When you start with your mentor, they will discuss with you what your goals are, what you want to achieve, whether that’s an increased income, an ultimate sale or another form of exit. Their role is to help you come up with the strategy to get you where you want to be. Along the way they will help you get up and dust yourself off when things go wrong, and keep you focussed on achieving your goals.
Your mentor will quite possibly be the only person who challenges you when you are about to make a mistake or do something that you may regret.
A good mentor is not there to judge you; they are there to help you stay on track and stop you beating yourself up when things go wrong.
Your mentor is there to be constantly thinking of how you can improve your business or indeed yourself. Coming up with suggestions and ideas that will help you along the journey you are on with your business.
A survey conducted by Sage revealed that 93% of business owners feel that a business mentor will help them succeed yet, only 28% actually use a mentor. So why that big gap? From my experience there are three key reasons:
One of the fastest ways is to use our "find a local business mentor" search feature to find a business mentor near you. Simply select your location and you'll see which of our mentors covers that particular area. Alternatively, you can view bio's for each of our mentors to see if there is a mentor whose skills and experience most closely aligns with what you need. Finally, you can also contact us and we will be happy to advise.
Alternatively, my advice would be to take a look at the www.mentorsme.co.uk portal; a joint venture between the UK Government and British Banks to help businesses find mentors. Also, do a good old Google search and see who comes up in your area. Look at the mentors’ client testimonials; are they genuine, are there lots of them and maybe you could speak to some of their clients? Importantly, when you first meet or speak to prospective mentors, bear in mind you want to know about their background, what experience they have and most importantly ask yourself, “Is this someone I can see myself working with for years to come?”
If you would like to experience what a mentoring session looks and feels like, then we offer a complimentary, no-obligation mentoring session. This will give you an idea of how it could benefit you and your business and let you decide if it’s for you – if it isn’t then I would suggest you are in front of the wrong mentor!