For the 2013 Sage Business Index, 11,000 small and medium-sized businesses in 17 countries were surveyed about mentorship. While 93% of those questioned accepted that having a business mentor would help their business prosper, only 28% actually hired one. In the UK, the result was even lower at 22%. When you look at the benefits that mentors bring to Startups and SMEs, it’s somewhat surprising that less than a quarter of UK businesses go down the mentoring route. If you think it’s difficult to calculate the ROI, here are just a few of the reasons that should convince you hiring an experienced external advisor will be money well spent.
It’s all about goals
A business mentor will work with you to tailor a strategic and practical business concept with achievable long- and short-term goals. These goals would be reviewed and updated periodically. Any blockers to success would be identified and (hopefully) eradicated. Your mentor will suggest proven marketing strategies, such as raising your organisation’s profile at events like the Yorkshire Business Market.
No one knows it all
You might have come up with the hottest new product or service on the market, but that doesn’t automatically make you an expert at running a successful business. You need to know about finance, sales and marketing, IT, HR and compliance. Hopefully you’re competent in some areas, and the business mentor will fill in the gaps, provided you’ve done your research and chosen the right advisor.
Your mentor will take an in-depth look at your business, then tell you what you’re doing right, and more significantly, what you’re doing wrong. It’s easy to miss things when you’re immersed in a project, especially one where you’re emotionally invested. A mentor will be quick to spot anything that needs attention.
It’s not what you know…
If you’ve done your homework and chosen a mentor with a varied and well-rounded background, the networking opportunities alone should bring a justifiable ROI. An external advisor can connect you with individuals and organisations from a wide range of sectors, creating opportunities for new leads and better supplier options.
Even the cleverest entrepreneurs can feel a bit lost at times, and although not a life coach, a good mentor should be able to motivate you and boost your confidence when it’s waning. Empathy is a necessary asset for a good business mentor.
A second opinion never hurts
Big decisions about finance or expanding your business can always benefit from outside advice. Chewing things over with colleagues can help, but a second opinion from someone outside the business who’s ‘bought the t-shirt’ can pay dividends. A worthwhile business mentor is one who spots an error in judgement, then stops it from happening.
If you’ve chosen the right mentor, growth won’t be limited to your business. You’ll also grow from the leadership and management skills passed on from your advisor. These will help you develop into a more effective CEO.
How to pick your mentor
You probably won’t go for the first mentor you see; interview several before you decide. Consider the following when choosing an external advisor:
- Look for skills and experience that are relevant to your needs.
- A good mentor is one who practices active listening.
- Your overall business philosophies should be similar.
- Do you have a rapport? The mentor in question could have an excellent resume, but if you don’t hit it off, the process will be less successful.
- Remember that the ideal mentor for you now may not be the right person several years down the line. You may end up using several mentors long term.
Hopefully now you know the benefits of hiring a mentor, you’re ready to take the next step. The Yorkshire Business Market provides the perfect opportunity, as experienced mentor Julian Horrocks is offering FREE 40-minute ‘Meet the Mentor’ sessions. YBM takes place on Monday, 30th April 2018, at the Pavilions of Harrogate. Pre-booking is essential for Julian’s sessions, which you can do by clicking below.