In a nutshell, business mentors can help you develop your ideas for business growth by sharing their skills, expertise, experience and contacts.
Whether you are a start-up or existing business, you may already be working with a mentor. If you are ‘in the market’ for a mentor then this feature gives practical advice on finding the right person for you and your business, as well as how to optimise your relationship with your Mentor.
It’s often said that a good Mentor should be like a ‘critical friend’ but what does that actually mean? Here are some important questions to consider…..
TOP TEN QUESTIONS TO FIND THE RIGHT MENTOR
- Has the mentor even owned/managed his/her own business?
- Is the mentor well connected/networked?
- Is the mentor aware of the latest business grants/loans and finance initiatives?
- Will the mentor hold you accountable for the actions that he/she suggests?
- Does the mentor have a proven track record of success? (E.g. with client case studies)
- How accessible is your mentor? (E.g. face-to-face, Skype, telephone, email?)
- Will the mentor set realistic and ambitious goals for you?
- Does the mentor share your vision – for both your business and its industry?
- How ‘innovative’ is the mentor?
- Does the mentor have access to co-mentors with specialist and complementary skill sets?
Two resources to share with your Mentor
Life is too short to reinvent the wheel, so when you are looking for resources to help you focus then here are two tried and tested tactical tools….
- The Business Model Canvas – go ahead, Google it. According to good ole Wikipedia, the Business Model Canvas is a ‘strategic management and lean start-up template for developing new or documenting existing business models. It is a visual chart with elements describing a firm’s or product’s value proposition, infrastructure, customers, and finances.’ You can literally sit with your Mentor and map out your business in bite size chunks like ‘key partners, market activities, key resources, value propositions, customer relationships, channels, customer segments, cost structure and revenue streams. To download a Business Model Canvas template visit https://sarahbeemarketing.com/free-stuff/
- Marketing Plan – as the saying goes, if you fail to plan, you might as well plan to fail. A marketing plan is a key piece of collateral for any business. Your mentor can help you complete this – giving you a strategic roadmap for: market research, target market, positioning, competitive analysis, market strategy, budget, metrics, value proposition and SWOT. To download a Marketing Plan document, visit https://sarahbeemarketing.com/free-stuff/
There’s no such thing as a FREE mentor – or is there?
For the Europhiles amongst you, the European Regional Development Fund (‘ERDF’) is a rather large pot of money that funds many, many, UK local authority business support schemes. This means that you can benefit from local schemes that include FREE mentoring, workshops, training etc – all courtesy of the European Union (most of these schemes will run until December 2020). If you are familiar with your local Growth Hub then check out their website or contact them for details on business support and ERDF schemes.
To wrap it up, a good Mentor will help you through your journey into the unknown. Every Entrepreneur has to fly by the seat of their pants sometimes and a Mentor will be there to fly with you – overcoming the lows and scaling the heights.
By Sarah Brockwell
Sarah Brockwell is Director and Founder of sarahBee marketing and pr www.sarahbeemarketing.com A professional business mentor, Sarah founded sarahBee marketing in 2010, on a budget of just £250, as a one-stop shop providing no-nonsense marketing and PR support. Since then, her company has supported over 1,000 entrepreneurs with mentoring and marketing support.
Sarah is passionate about business and has been rewarded with six business awards (including Essex Businesswoman of the Year). Sarah is a regular speaker at conferences and also on BBC radio.
Sarah has 25 years experience in global marketing including VP marketing of a $13bn software company in the USA. She is media trained by the BBC and Press Association. She was hand-picked by Essex County Council to mentor SMEs in the ‘Essex Innovation Programme’. She currently supports businesses with mentoring in Essex, Kent and East Sussex with the South East Creatives scheme.
Kizzi Nkwocha is the editor of Business Game Changer Magazine and publisher of The UK Newspaper, Money and Finance Magazine, the net’s fastest growing wealth creation publication. Kizzi Nkwocha is chair of The Ethical Publishers Association and co-chair of The Logistics Association. Kizzi made his mark in the UK as a publicist, journalist and social media pioneer. As a widely respected and successful media consultant he has represented a diverse range of clients including the King of Uganda, and Amnesty International. Nkwocha has also become a well-known personality on both radio and television. He has been the focus of a Channel 4 documentary on publicity and has hosted his own talk show, London Line, on Sky TV. He has also produced and presented both radio and TV shows in Cyprus and Spain.