In a business mentoring relationship, a seasoned business owner meets with a new or potential business owner one-on-one to give advice, focus objectives or simply boost morale.
The relationship can be a paid arrangement organised through a business support group or free advice from a local business expert. Either way, there is strong evidence that mentoring hugely benefits small businesses:
However, despite these encouraging statistics, surprising evidence has emerged recently that suggests 42% of small-businesses owners have never consulted a mentor (source: Moore & Smalley accountancy survey). Furthermore, according to a recent poll we conducted at BCSG, 55% of start-ups do not plan to use a mentor once their business is up and running.
It can be easy for small-business owners to get caught up in the whirlwind of day-to-day tasks involved in running their business, but putting aside time for regular mentoring sessions can prove invaluable, for personal development and business growth. Specific ways in which mentors can positively impact success include:
Above all, effective mentoring can foster a long-term, mutually beneficial relationship between mentor and mentee that can span the length of a career.
The Government is encouraging small business growth through mentoring by promoting initiatives such as MentorsMe, a national portal that gives businesses a single, easy-to-use search engine to locate organisations that provide mentor services. So far, 100 mentoring organisations are accessible through the portal, providing details for more than 16,000 trained mentors, and organisers are aiming for a network of 26,000 mentors by the end of September 2012.