In my experience, for most people, running a small business is a challenge. In some cases it can push you to your limits – financial, physical health, mental health, relationships, etc. With demands like this, it’s important to use the resources that are available to support you to maximise your success. There are many benefits of mentoring in business.
I run a small business consulting firm. I’m both a small business owner myself, and an advisor / mentor to many other small businesses. At the time of writing, our clients have grown their businesses by 64% in the last 12 months, and I have grown my own business by 58%. Here are some of the things that we do with our clients that lead to these results.
There is an old saying that sometimes it can be hard to see the wood through the trees. Sometimes when I meet with clients, they can be bogged down in the detail of some part of running their business. They may have a problematic customer, a difficult member of staff, or technology problems. Whatever the issue, sometimes they will be feeling pretty negative about their business.
As a consultant, I care a great deal about my clients, but I’m not so caught up in the details – for example, I won’t have the same emotional reaction to a problem customer as my client might have. In a case like this, by taking the emotion away, my client and I will be able to work out a better way to deal with the problem customer.
A really important part of what we do is measuring our clients’ performance, and showing them how they compare to other businesses. We can this ‘growth benchmarking’.
We measure lots of different aspects of our clients’ performance, in particular changes in their turnover. With some cool technology, we can show our clients how they compare to all our other clients, average client performance, fast growth UK companies and the UK as a whole. Clients are often surprised and delighted at how well they are doing, and this knowledge can provide a real motivational boost.
When you’re running a small business, you tend not to have a ‘boss’ that you’re accountable to. Sure, you have customers and clients that ultimately won’t pay you if you fail to deliver, but you probably won’t talk to your customers about whether you’ve hit your sales targets or not, for example.
We meet with our clients face-to-face once per month, and speak to them over the phone half-way through the month. We do this to create a sense of accountability and urgency – “Oh, gosh, I’m seeing Hooke & Co. next week, I better get X done!” Mentors in business can really accelerate your planning,
Clients tell me that without an external person holding them to account, it would be very easy for important actions to slip, and time to pass without enough progress being made.
Experience And Expertise
In my opinion, one of the things that makes running a small business hard is that there is so much to learn – everything from marketing and sales, through to people management, technology, planning, government rules and regulations and dealing with government agencies like HMRC.
It’s very easy to burn a lot of time figuring everything out yourself. Time is arguably your most precious resource. You have to use it wisely. A business mentor or advisor can save you a lot of time, right from the start, by sharing how other small businesses do things.
Finally, it’s important to ensure that the business mentor you work with actually runs a business themselves, ideally their own limited company, rather than a franchise. The contribution that they make to your business will hinge on this. There are a lot of people out there offering advice. Some of the best things I have learned have been through actually doing it myself in my own business, e.g. developing a marketing and sales process, and selecting the software to support it. The importance of first-hand experience should not be underestimated. Knowing the theory is important, but so is learning on the job.
If you think that you might be able to benefit from our services and support then have a browse around our website. If you would like to speak to one of our team and start experiencing the benefits of mentoring in business for yourself then please don’t hesitate to get in touch.