A business mentor can help you take your business to new heights: but only if you choose the right one. From offering advice, support and a listening ear, business mentors understand and really ‘get it’ when it comes to the struggles a business owner faces. Like everything though, all business mentors are different, with varying strengths, experiences and interests. Therefore, choosing the right business mentor becomes your first task in your search for business support.
What is a Business Mentor?
Business mentors are experienced business professionals who have made the decision to give back to newbie (or relatively new) business owners. They’ve been where you are now, understand the ups and downs of business life and want to help you develop your business.
A great business mentor will aim to:
- Build a longterm relationship
- Share their experience and knowledge
- Support you
- Offer new ways of doing and looking at things
- Introduce you to their business network
- Analyse where your business is now and identify where you want it to be
- Help you clarify your business goals and objectives
- Assist with business planning
- Offer solutions to solve business-related problems
- Provide constructive feedback
Many people have heard of Business Mentors New Zealand, which are a not-for-profit organisation which pairs up volunteer mentors with mentees. They work with clients throughout the country and it’s fair to say are the most well-known mentoring organisation. Many new or developing business owners have used their service with great success, but there are other options which can provide a service which is as good or even better.
Our team of business advisors can also provide business mentoring services. The benefit of choosing us is that we can provide a more in-depth and overarching service, including:
- Working with you to write and assess your business plan
- Help you to create your businesses core values
- Improve your bookkeeping and accounting practices
- Assist with an organisational review
- KPI coaching
- Business coaching services
Let’s now take a look at the reasons why you should work with a business mentor this year.
Why Should I Work With a Business Mentor?
A business mentor will not do the work for you. They’re not going to tell you what to do either, but rather make suggestions based upon their experiences and knowledge. This offers you plenty of benefits, including:
- Reducing the level of risk you face when making decisions
- Helping you focus your attention on the details which really matter
- Challenging you to step outside of your comfort zone
- Holding you accountable for your decisions by setting and following up on goals and milestones
- Support you to leverage a range of networking opportunities
- Being a sounding board for new and rehashed ideas
- Helping you to step back and take another view of your business
- Assist with understanding the legal and tax obligations of running a business
- Providing a fresh perspective
- Helping to implement business changes
- Support with marketing ideas and implementation
A business mentor helps to stimulate new ideas and support you as you implement them. They are someone who really ‘gets’ what you are going through, having been there and done that themselves. Providing a service which cannot be offered by well-meaning friends and family, they are highly valuable business professionals – if you choose the right one.
Key Questions to Ask When Choosing a Business Mentor
When using the Business Mentors New Zealand service, you are matched with a mentor of their choosing, not yours. While this can and has worked successfully in the past, it doesn’t always. Other than the application fee, their service is free though, which is a big plus.
On the other hand, when you have the option to choose between different mentors or different companies which offer mentoring services, you hold the power. You are able to pick a mentor who has the specific skills needed within your industry and has a personality you feel comfortable working with. You’ll also have more say in what areas you receive help with, when and where you meet, as well as choosing the level of support and assistance you require.
Therefore choosing a mentor can be a bit like holding an interview. You want to do enough research before you approach them to ensure they will potentially meet your needs, as well as ask questions to them directly. Some of the key questions to ask a potential business mentor include:
- What is something you wish you should have done differently? Why?
- What used to be your biggest weakness?
- What are you most proud of?
- How do you stay connected within your industry?
- What could you offer me and my business?
- What type of communication would you prefer we used?
- How would you move my business to the next level?
- How do you rebound from failure?
- What did you like best when you were just starting out in business?
- Where do you find inspiration from?
- How do you balance work and home life?
- What key values do you hold close?
The answers to these questions will help you gauge more of an understanding of who they are and what they can offer. That way you can pick the mentor who is the best fit for you and your business.
Tips On Finding the Best Business Mentor for You & Your Business
A great business mentor will be around for a while, making spending time picking the right one well worth your time. To help you select the best possible mentor, here are some tips to help you:
- Be sure you understand the role of a business mentor – know that they will be able to support and provide direction to you, but will not do the work for you.
- Take time to find the right one – it is well worth spending time researching and then interviewing prospective mentors. Feeling comfortable with your decision is vital, as you will relying on their advice and skills. Make sure you feel you can trust them.
- Choose a compatible person – this will be someone with similar values to you, who you are happy to work with, find their personality works well with yours and is totally committed to building a positive working relationship to help your business succeed.
Then let’s talk money. If you are paying for the services of a business mentor or advisor, understand what the costs will be. Are you charged per hour, meeting, month or each time you contact them? If you are signing a contract, be sure to check out the clauses regarding the cessation of services too.
Our team provides business development services to people like you all throughout New Zealand. Whether you want to visit our Taupo office, fill up our email inboxes or meet regularly online, we’ll work in whatever ways suit you best. Get in touch with us now and together we’ll help you move your business to where you want it to be.