In today’s challenging economic environment, mentors play a key role in growing businesses, supporting young entrepreneurs and enabling SMEs to succeed in competitive trading conditions. As a result of some guidance from a mentor, this can provide the business with the platform to develop to new levels of success.

The difference between a business mentor and the many other types of business advisers is small, as a mentor can play any number of roles.

A Mentors Role

A mentor is able to play the role of a strategic adviser, technical expert or business consultant, and sometimes all of them at once, while also being able to recommend the best courses of action to take and when they are required.

Key Characteristics

However, the key characteristics of a mentor have to do with their experience, attitude, and approach. They practice the science and the art of business, not merely science. Business consultants will generally solve specific problems in business and impart formal, defined pieces of knowledge or procedural know-how, and a mentor will also do this, while also striving to impart wisdom based not on textbook learning, but instead on an experience that is earned in the real business world.

Another key differentiation is the motivation behind a mentor’s actions. For a mentor, success means being able to walk away from a business with the entrepreneur driving the business forward.

A mentor will also work with a defined plan and for a fee while empowering the entrepreneur to succeed as a result of the mentoring relationship.

Most importantly, the greatest insight gained from mentors is their ability to not only deal with a specific business but instead deal with the person behind the business - the entrepreneur. An experienced mentor knows that most of the problems in an owner-managed business stem from the strengths and weaknesses of the owner.

For example, most entrepreneurs tend to gravitate towards their own field of expertise and neglect all the other aspects of their business.

For example, a business owner with a manufacturing business, may not feel comfortable with finances and instead tends to overcompensate by operating a lean workshop, thereby not spending enough time on the financial side of the business.

In this example, mentors will set about turning the entrepreneur into a more balanced business person.

Hiring a Mentor

Hiring a mentor is the same as hiring a business consultant, a formal and clear business agreement should be designed and agreed.

This agreement should include a scope of work, a timeline, measurable outcomes, and clearly defined tasks for the mentor, as well as the entrepreneur.

As good mentors are intensely invested in the success of the businesses that they assist, they do not easily tolerate their advice being ignored.

To encourage a strong mentor-entrepreneur relationship, we advise that it is useful to have a facilitator when approaching a business mentor. Good mentors are rare as they are not produced by business schools, but instead through years of experience in the business world.

We can provide mentorship or a facilitating role for specific business requirements. By correctly matching the mentor and entrepreneur, the relationship lasts and grows with the mentor sometimes becoming a non-executive director, and facilitating a long-term relationship with an entrepreneur and their management team as the business grows.

Please CONTACT US for more details.