Do I need a business mentor?
Posted on April 11 2018
In short, yes. But, of course we'd say this, right? After all, we are business mentors. BUT, the reason we ARE business mentors is because we see the value in them. We appreciate how having a mentor can change your entire outlook on your business, how it can help you move forward, change direction and expand beyond where you first thought you could. And, don't just take our word for it! Karren Brady herself stated "Everybody should have a mentor" when we heard her speak at the Institute of Directors recently (read more about what she said here!)
I met my first business mentor, Colin, through a government initiative to provide small businesses with reduced cost sessions to help them develop. I was pregnant with my daughter at the time & really felt like I needed some help to change my business into something more structured, controlled and, frankly, professional. I knew I had to get my big girl pants on, set new standards & start acting like an employer rather than a one-man band. I clearly remember saying to Colin "I want this to be a proper business.", to which he replied "This IS a proper business! You're making a profit & you're improving every month so this definitely is a business & a successful one at that."
These words had quite a significant impact on me. It had always just been me. I had never had anyone to ask advice from other than friends & family who, quite frankly, were amazing but don't understand the ins & outs of my industry or business concept. I felt like all my ideas & plans were being picked out of the air rather than formulated in a structured & professional way & needed that cementing before I could really feel ready to hand the reins over to someone else once my daughter was born. And now I had someone who was professional, experienced & knowledgable telling me that I had done a good job. It meant so much to have that affirmation and I realised, quite quickly, that this was something I had really needed more than I ever imagined.
When you're running your own business - particularly if you're an owner operated one, it's a lonely game. Most of the time, you've got your head down, doing what needs to be done & finding it hard to see the wood for the trees. An outsider's perspective is CRUCIAL to helping you gain insight into how you're doing, where you should be heading & wear you could be going. At those meetings with Colin, we set my three year & five year business targets and unpicked where we could make the business more streamlined, efficient & profitable.
Unfortunately, the government pulled the plug on that particular scheme & I found myself without a business mentor when my daughter was born. But, actually, at that time, I was focussing on being a mum, safe in the knowledge that my new manager was handling the business well & I quietly carried on working on those targets in the year that followed after my maternity leave. I had a session with another business mentor who was also great at focussing my plans for franchising & I set the ball in motion with that too.
Fast forward two years from that first meeting with Colin & I scheduled a catch up. I was excited to tell him what I'd been up to & chat about my new plans. What I hadn't considered fully, was that I'd actually smashed my three year targets & achieved some of my five year plan! Again, I had totally forgotten to congratulate myself on just how far I'd come. And, I think this is the same for many business owners we meet. Striving, pushing forward & working really hard all the time can mean we forget ourselves & our achievements. This is equally as valuable as having the strategy because without a positive mindset & the resilience to change path or plans when something goes wrong, it's hard to achieve the smallest of targets.
"Research has shown that 70% of small businesses that receive mentoring survive for five years or more, which is double the rate compared with non-mentored entrepreneurs."
Mentors don't need to be scary & they don't need to be strangers. They're not there to judge, to criticise, to set you straight. Sometimes their main purpose is to help you evaluate, assess & congratulate. Peer mentoring is something I also feel strongly about because what's better than someone in the same field to share ideas with?
Our brand new mastermind sessions are perfect for anyone looking for peer mentors to help challenge & develop yourself & your business. The monthly physical meet-up means we can chat freely on a range of topics in order that ideas are shared, collaborations created & plans put into action. If you'd like more information on these, head over to our online membership page HERE.
If you'd like more of a one-to-one session with either Heidi or Karen to really get to grips with business planning or development, then this can be booked HERE.
Do you have a business mentor? How does it help you develop? We'd love to hear your views!!