Is a mentor what your business needs?

The scene

Your business is struggling and you are struggling trying to keep it going, let alone trying to build growth into it.

Adding to your problems is the fact that you know the business is fundamentally sound and that there is potential for growth – if only you can identify the pressure points and act on them.

You need help; but you need the right kind of help.

The solution

One solution is to find a business mentor. The benefits of using a mentor should never be overlooked as an essential part of your business plan.

They bring experience and knowledge to your business – as well as a fresh set of eyes through which to view your business and its operations.

A mentor develops often long-lasting relationships with the mentee and becomes an integral sounding board for the business until such time as the mentor and mentee are both confident the business is able to continue its growth independent of the relationship. Having said that, many mentors and mentees maintain permanent friendships arising from their business association

However, remember that a mentor is not a business coach or consultant, roles that usually involve specific projects and timeframes. If you decide you need this sort of assistance, Omania Terry efficiency expert is the person you need.

Importantly, you ideally need a mentor, not many mentors. Too many people providing too many perspectives on your business can be confusions or even contradictory. Business is hard enough so keep it simple.

Think carefully about who you approach to be a mentor. When entering a relationship with a mentor, full disclosure and honesty are critical.

Be prepared to be open and honest

The mentor can’t fulfil his or her obligations if they are not able to access all information about your company and know all its secrets – warts and all.

You also have to be ready for a two-way relationship. The mentor will learn from you as well, and will grow from the knowledge you provide them. While they may be expert at your sector of the business, there will no doubt be a lot they will learn about how individual processes and systems are adapted, demographic challenges unique to your area and so on. Don’t hold back in contributing to a valuable but reciprocal arrangement.

Support the mentor in their work. This may sound obvious but in some cases it may be hard for you as the mentee to accept or acknowledge the work the mentor is doing. For instance a mentor may recognise potential in an employee which you may have missed in the pressures of running the day-to-day business. The mentor’s recommendation that this employee be nurtured and encouraged is not a reflection on the mentee’s judgement or ability – it is simply fulfilling an important role of the mentor – the fresh eyes approach.

A quote often referred to when talking about mentors is that “the delicate balance of mentoring someone is not creating them in your own image, but giving them the opportunity to create themselves”.

Results

Accept that you will emerge from the relationship a different person – stronger, wiser, and a lot better able to run a successful business. But the road to that ultimate goal may not be smooth all the way and there will no doubt be some tense and difficult times but it is important to remember that the mentor is always looking to grow you and your business.

Another important aspect of a mentor-mentee relationship is that it needs to be free of fear. While the mentor may make hard suggestions and comments, both the mentor and mentee must feel able to raise issues and discussions without fear. As a mentee you need to feel confident in raising suggestions, offering opinions and generally being open in your consultations with the mentor. You may not always like the responses you get, but being able to raise them puts you on are respectful equal footing with the mentor.

Lastly, but perhaps most importantly, never regard calling in a mentor as a sign of weakness or a sign that you have lost control of your business. Rather it is a true indication of your worth as a business person if you can accept the advice that helps you succeed and prosper in your chosen field.

Working with businesses to help them become more efficient and effective whilst saving them time, money and effort is what Omania Terry does. Visit: www.omaniaterry.com.au

Tips

  • Think carefully before deciding who to approach to be a mentor.
  • Keep it simple, do not have too many mentors as the information can get confusing.
  • Do you need a mentor or a business coach or consultant for a specific project in your business?
  • Accept that full disclosure and honesty from you are critical.
  • Be ready for a two-way relationship.
  • Support the mentor in their work.
  • Accept that you will emerge from the relationship a different person.

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