Starting in business can be tricky, especially for those new to the industry and first dipping their toes into the water. In this challenging stage, it is advised that entrepreneurs make the most of any support and tools available to them. One of these is business mentoring.
Through mentoring, new entrants can seek valuable advice from those who have already experienced and exceeded. On top of this, it brings many benefits in networking, skills-building and overall performance.
Many institutions and groups now offer mentoring, either as a programme on its own or to complement other services. It’s also possible to find your own personal mentors to refer to throughout your career.
Below, we have pulled out the benefits of business mentoring to highlight how being involved with it can help your entrepreneurial efforts.
- Build connections
- Improve skills
- Maximise opportunity
- Develop confidence
- Added incentives
- Mentor benefits
When taking part in a mentoring programme, a relationship naturally develops between the mentor and mentee. Building and maintaining relationships is a critical part of business, and so mentoring can help you in your mission to create connections.
The first connection is with your mentor. As these are usually individuals with rich business experience, they can be a valuable source of insight and knowledge. They are also there to help you, so you should feel free to ask questions and seek guidance with your venture. Over time, they may provide practical support in the form of referrals or solutions to problems you may be facing.
Beyond this, your mentor may be able to introduce you to other relevant contacts. This could include offering you details of individuals who can help you with gaps in your operations – such as partners, funders and suppliers. They may also put you in touch with their friends and allies to increase your business’s visibility, helping you form better connections and even future customers. In this way, your mentor acts as a gateway to a broader network of people who can assist your company’s longevity.
Another advantage of mentoring is that you can build on skills that will empower you to run your business better. In most cases, a mentor is someone who has succeeded in your industry, so they are well-placed to tell you the strengths you need to survive.
Through regular sessions with your mentor, they will likely pass on the significant lessons they have learned during their career, which can help you form strategies that increase your venture’s chances of success. You will also be able to develop your skillsets, including leadership, industry-specific and general business skills. This can help you improve resilience and set you on the right path.
In the same way that a mentor can introduce you to their contacts, they can also lead you to a new opportunity. This could be through offers from the mentor themselves – such as a deal between your businesses – or referral to another offer they know within their network.
Even if your mentor does not lead you directly to an opportunity, they can still broaden your horizons. Throughout your relationship, you will likely get to a point where you can comfortably discuss your business and prospects. Mentors can often provide a fresh view, away from those inside your company. This can expose you to new ideas, diverse ways of working and solve problems you are facing. With this added perspective, you may identify different possibilities that can lead you to success.
If you are considering an opportunity, there’s always the option of asking a mentor for a second opinion on whether it’s the best route for your firm.
As your business grows, it’s understandable to be uncertain about your capacity to succeed and overcome barriers. While developing your skills and learning from your mentor, you will be growing your confidence, making you sure of your leadership ability.
Part of this confidence will come from the mentor’s reinforcement in supporting new initiatives or key decisions and being a sounding board. Over time, this will enable you to make decisions for yourself and minimise the need for support.
As you become more confident, you’ll likely find your business performance improves, feel more prepared to take the necessary risks for your business and adopt new approaches. Increased confidence will also help you network and pitch on behalf of your business, enhancing your overall chances of success.
Mentoring often comes as part of packages alongside other crucial services. One example is within business networks that may offer a mentoring programme to new entrepreneurs joining the community. This is beneficial as it allows you to be accepted into these networks, providing long-term support and connection building for your company while still giving you access to guidance.
Similarly, mentoring is included in some start-up funding programmes and competitions – such as under the British Business Bank’s start-up loan initiative. Again, this provides dual advantages. Firstly, you get access to crucial funding that allows you to set up your venture. Secondly, you get hands-on advice that will help you use this money effectively and support your business’s success.
By using mentoring as an added incentive alongside funding or networks, you can access a higher level of support across various key areas.
It’s not just mentees who benefit from mentoring. It provides considerable rewards to mentors beyond their altruistic objectives.
By mentoring, seasoned professionals can access flourishing businesses with which they can build valuable connections. This may help the firms, providing new possibilities for partners, suppliers, customers and even investment opportunities, as well as give insight of the changing state of the industry. It also helps them to become exposed to ideas from a new cohort of upcoming entrepreneurs, keeping them on top of trends and innovation. This can help mentors develop their skills even at differing stages of their careers and find ways to drive excellence for their company in an everchanging market.
It is clear that business mentoring possesses many advantages for all parties involved. Ultimately, it is an excellent way for established professionals to share their experience with upcoming entrepreneurs, with the aim of creating a diverse business population in which more companies succeed. On top of this, it can provide significant assistance for networking among business communities. It can also serve as a route to funding and investment.
If you are looking for funding that encompasses mentoring or general business advice, we can help. Our team of advisors can suggest possible programmes and options, including mentoring you and providing funding options, to help you identify an appropriate solution for your company.
Get in touch today.