Birdwing Business Solutions

Let your business fly...

Why Mentoring?

Sooner or later all managers and business owners realise that they cannot do everything themselves; either they do not have the skill set or simply not enough time.  At that point many turn to a consultant - it could be for something specific like web design or book keeping or something more nebulous - such as business improvement.  So what are you actually looking for?

It seems that these days almost anyone with a college or university degree is setting themselves up as a "consultant"; now that's fine if what you are looking for is a very specific set of skills and not much experience of running a business, but are you looking for a consultant or a mentor?

What Should a Mentor Do?

This is how I approach mentoring which shows why its different from consulting:

A Mentor is someone to be accountable to.  Too often business owners neglect the management and marketing of their business because of lack of time, inertia or simply putting things off till tomorrow.  Sharing your goals with your Mentor means that your mentor will want to know why things have been put off or have lapsed.

A Mentor is someone who helps you refine and implement your ideas.  You may have great ideas but while some can easily be put into practice, others will be harder and need refinement before you proceed.  A Mentor should have a vast knowledge of marketing strategies, why and how they work and what can prevent them from being effective.

A Mentor is someone who has ideas to grow your business.  Your Mentor endeavours to make your time together educational to help you understand business principles and apply them in the future.  When you run out of ideas on how to sell your products and services both your mentor and the knowledge you are gaining will help you to look in new directions.

A Mentor is someone who has the contacts you need.  Your Mentor is a networker and source of information to help you find contacts for business, equipment or investment advice.

A Mentor is someone on the outside, looking in.  Its too easy for owners and managers to become immune to the daily noise of their business - the clarity with which you view your business clouds after time.  Your Mentor brings a fresh perspective to look at you and your business, knows what to look for and most importantly, sees what your customers see.

So How Do You Choose a Mentor?

As you can see, the skill set for a mentor is complementary to a consultant; the mentor will have "been there and done that" and experienced the ups and downs of commercial reality, making things happen on budgets that are too small and keeping customers (or clients), employees, managers, boards and stakeholders happy with minimal resources!

So here are some thoughts:

The web is a good place to start, but also talk to your peers, business contacts and chamber of commerce.

Get Personal
Mentoring is personal - while you don't have to like the mentor, you do have to work with them; speak to them, ask for referees and meet with them - most mentors will have a no-cost introductory session and they will be interviewing you too!  Do remember that you may not always hear what you want to hear from the mentor once you work with them.

Costs will vary, but ask for an estimate and don't be afraid to give a budget per week or month; do ask for and expect a proposal from the prospective mentor in a timely fashion.

Finally, mentoring can tap into the skills and experience of top executives that your business might not be able to otherwise afford; the results will surprise you and can help to take your business to the next level; the learning experience will help you in the future and many mentors are invited onto the boards of companies they help. However, the mentor can only advise and discuss - its up to you to follow through with the implementation.

For a no obligation discussion call 0418 816 883 today or email