Why is business mentoring so important to the success of start ups?
A Start Up Loans Delivery Partner, The Prince’s Trust, has launched a report outlining why mentoring is so important to the success of new businesses. The report shows how businesses started with funding and mentoring from The Trust are more likely to survive than those who go it alone.
Business mentoring is a key aspect of the Start Up Loans scheme, and while access to finance is vital, a mentor can provide valuable insight and experience that can really make a difference in those early stages.
Eddie Holmes founded his charity Launch22 with the help of a Start Up Loan. A full service incubation hub to start ups, it offers a workspace and mentoring support.
A passionate advocate of mentoring, here’s what Eddie has to say about meeting your mentor:
“When you meet your mentor, remember that they are there as a sounding board and not as an adviser. It’s your business and a mentor isn’t there to tell you what to do. However, as complicated as some problems may seem to a new business owner, the chances are that an experienced mentor will have seen it before. Share your problems and feelings – don’t be ashamed or afraid to admit that you don’t know what to do or to talk about how running a business is affecting all areas of your life – and you just might receive a nugget of wisdom that you’ll find very helpful.”
What Does a Mentor Offer?
Mentors are often someone who has ‘been there, done that.’ They have a wealth of experience from their careers which often allows them to spot issues and strengths in your business that you may not have thought about. This is so beneficial because it means you can avoid making mistakes, which will help you to save time and money in the process.
An alternative viewpoint
When you work on your business all day, everyday, a common issue is not being able to see the woods for the trees. Working with a mentor allows you to be alongside someone who can look at your business form a different angle, with different opinions and experiences, and this can be invaluable to help you identify potential obstacles to business development early on.
It can be tricky to manage finances as a start up business, even with a robust business plan and cash flow forecast. A mentor will often be able to help you make the most of your resources and avoid making decisions that could end up proving very costly. With your finances focused on better spending, your business has a much better chance of succeeding.
How to Make the Most out of a Meeting With Your Mentor
Being prepared in advance is vital to ensuring meeting with your mentor will be productive and maximise the business support they can offer. The role of a business mentor is not to give you all the answers and create a business strategy for you. They are there to have an open discussion about your ideas and how future plans will develop as a result, to be a sounding board and guide you to making your own decisions.
In order to build a productive relationship with your mentor, it is important to be realistic, open and honest. When looking for guidance and support, you should be willing to learn and take on advice, which can only be given with confidence if your mentor knows exactly where you and your business are coming from.
Measure Your Progress
At the end of each meeting it is important to establish a clear set of goals and objectives. This will allow both you and your mentor to measure your businesses performance. It will also help you identify which ideas and decisions have worked and those that haven’t. This is essential if you want to learn and keep on improving and growing your business.
Make time for your business mentoring sessions. Regular meetings will aid you in measuring if you are on target to achieve your business goals. It is advised you receive mentoring for an hour a month in the first year of your business. Remember, even if your business is going well, a mentor can still provide useful guidance and support.