Running a business can be a lonely experience. One where you can forget about the 9 to 5, and where your weekends become just an extension of your working week. So it’s just as well that business owners are renowned for being resourceful, resilient and focussed. They know what they want and will overcome all manner of challenges in order to achieve it, regardless of the number of hours they have to put in each week. They apply a hands-on approach to all aspects of running their business and have the self-belief, determination and energy needed, but sometimes that isn’t enough.
Knowledge is priceless
All three of those traits are hugely advantageous for anyone in business but are not necessarily the most important. Knowledge is the key and when a business owner doesn’t have the necessary expertise in specific areas of a business they should seek advice from an expert who does. Someone who has been in the same position as them. At the time it may seem like the best option to try and carry on without help and there is a sense of pride in accomplishing everything on your own. There is a misconception that seeking help is a sign of weakness when the opposite is true. Knowing where you need help and engaging with a specialist in that area is a sign of strength. This is where mentors can play such a vital role in the success of any business.
The UK government realises the importance that mentoring plays in entrepreneurship and 5,000 business leaders from across the country have enrolled in a national effort to mentor small businesses in the flagship Help to Grow management programme. With the government placing such an emphasis on the importance of mentorship, let’s look at some of the reasons why you should work with a mentor.
Improve chances of success
An estimated 70% of businesses using mentors survive longer than five years, which is more than double the rate of non-mentored businesses during the same period. An impressive 94% of mentored businesses have seen positive results; 67% had improved productivity and 55% had enjoyed an increase in profits. With those sort of statistics it is easy to understand why mentorship is valued so highly amongst the small business community.
Empathise with you
Mentors understand exactly what you are going through because they have been in the same position as you. They have physical experience of your scenario and are not looking at it from a purely academic perspective. They will share their knowledge and experience not only from their successes but also from their failures. This should ensure that you don’t make the same mistakes as they have.
Identify weaknesses and opportunities
Bringing in somebody from outside of your business means a different perspective on how they view your business model. They will be able to identify any weaknesses and conversely, exploit any opportunities. Your business may have stagnated so maybe you need to pivot and a mentor will be able to guide you in the right direction. It’s important to remember that any criticism form a mentor should be viewed as constructive and acting on this should pay dividends.
Mentors are great listeners and they want to listen to your problems and your ideas. They should challenge your views and encourage you to come up with solutions for the challenges you face. It’s reassuring to know that you have such an asset on board to act as a sounding board.
The business is still yours
A mentor doesn’t burst through the door and takeover a business. They are there in an advisory capacity, so you still do the hard work and make all the decisions. There is a common misconception that mentors take control of a business and even want a share of the business but that is not the norm. At the end of the day you should retain full control of your business.
Expand your network
A mentor will open doors to key contacts and their extensive network of connections. So, if they haven’t got the answer you are looking for then they will certainly know someone who has. They should be able to help you find investors, clients, contractors and suppliers.
Business Butler has several fully vetted mentors that can help you make the right business decisions. To find out more, just click here.
Business Butler is an on-demand talent platform that connects users with a panel of vetted business experts who specialise in a range of business disciplines. To find an expert you can trust please click here.