Choosing the right mentor for your business

Business Q&A

A Having a business mentor can make your growth journey a lot more enjoyable and productive. By having a person to assist you with the large and small decisions in business, you can get exactly what you want from the business.

A business Mentor will help you bring clarity to your business objectives and goals, and implement a strategy and tactics for delivery. Most importantly a Mentor will help you stay focused.

Choosing a business mentor is the first step in embracing an entrepreneurial frame of mind. It signals you're ready to learn, pivot, adapt and evolve. But don't feel you have to take the first mentor that comes along. It's important to connect with them on a personal level. You'll get much more out of your mentor if you can share the full experience of running a business - from the numbers right through to the behavioural side of the business and how you address habits and problems.

When picking a mentor, go for someone who's in business themselves and has industry experience. An industry veteran can offer useful insights but they don't know what it's like to run a business.

What should you expect from a Mentor?

- Knowledge and expertise, you don't have yet

- Access to valuable networks and capabilities

- Reassurance that mistakes are okay

- A good eye for spotting business weaknesses & opportunities you can't see

- Support, encouragement and provide you with direction

- Provide solutions and innovative ways of improving business activity

- Help with the decision-making process in your business

- Assistance in completing a business plan

A business mentor will not tell you what to do. They tell you about similar problems they had and show you how to find a solution. You have to feel comfortable with your mentor as a person because you'll be sharing more than just numbers. That means they'll see your vulnerabilities when you have bad days.

You've chosen a business mentor because they represent success in your eyes. You want to get as much from them as possible, but don't become a burden. Ask them how they'd like to organize your time together. Also, be aware that you're only outgrowing a particular mentor, not mentorship. Find a replacement. Even serial entrepreneurs need mentors. And, of course, be sensitive about how you exit the relationship. Always remember what your mentor did for you. Be respectful and stay in touch, you may need them again and you may refer them to another business that needs assistance.

Where can you get a mentor? Wexford Local Enterprise Office provides grant aid for a mentor programme designed to match up the knowledge, skills, insights and entrepreneurial capability of experienced business practitioners with small business owner/managers who need practical and strategic one to one advice and guidance. For more information on mentoring contact Paul Redmond on 053 9170507 or email paul@rda.ie or visit http://www.rda.ie/advisory-services/

As a small business owner, I feel certain areas of my business now need attention, how do I choose the best Mentor to help me grow my business?

Wexford People