A good mentor is great for business. That’s why we always ask our guests on That Great Business Show for their best business tips. Frequently though, they say that the best tip they can give is to get a mentor who in turn will have many tips and insights about business.
Who is a great mentor?
Respect. You have got to respect the advice of any person you choose to mentor you. If you don’t you’ll end up wasting both of your times. Accept that your chosen mentor is wise, very likely has been down the same road but before you and can make a huge difference to your business long-term. They will;
- Share experience and knowledge
- Give tailored guidance, support and advice
- Help in the creation of a business plan (or maybe knock some of the nonsense out of your existing plans)
- Provide encouragement and motivation - you cannot underestimate the value of encouragement
- Give direction and help in the discovery of new opportunities – sometimes you’re too busy just running the business to see opportunities right under your nose
- Identify problems and provide constructive feedback – but feel free to disagree – your mentor is a sounding board after all
- Discuss solutions and innovative ways of improving business activity
- Create networking opportunities – TeamGBS so believes in networking, try Irish International Business Network for a start
- Offer a different perspective – not all your ideas are great, are they?
- Give confidence to make better decisions – and the confidence to carry on, particularly when things look bleak – and they sometimes will
Where do I find ‘the one’?
When looking for a business mentor, ask yourself:
- What exactly do I need?
- Which areas of expertise you’d like your mentor to enhance
- Alignment of values and interests – vital, if you’re devoted to sustainability don’t get a mentor who wants to burn the planet!
- The strengths and weaknesses of the potential mentor – and they will have both, they’re not God after all.
Enterprise Ireland Mentor Network
The Enterprise Ireland Mentor Network has a panel of 400+ highly experienced entrepreneurs, founders and senior executives with international commercial business development experience. They can offer practical advice and guidance based on their own business experience, on a 1:1 basis. Mentors do not act as consultants. They are a confidential sounding board, advising business people on key operational and strategic issues. The Mentor Network is open to Enterprise Ireland clients who are manufacturing or internationally traded services companies employing between 10 and 249 people and High Potential Start Ups (HPSUs).
Local Enterprise Offices (LEOs): The Mentor Programme
LEOs have been mentioned countless times by entrepreneurs on That Great Business Show and it’s really no wonder why. LEOs offer The Mentor Programme to match up the knowledge, skills, insights, entrepreneurial capability of experienced business practitioners with small business owner/managers who need practical and strategic one-to-one guidance. The mentor offers independent, informed observation and advice to aid decision making. The Mentor Programme is open to both new and existing businesses located within the LEO region. LEO Carlow has received multiple shoutouts on That Great Business Show from the likes of Paula Butler of Butlers Organic Eggs (Episode 27).
Going for Growth
Recognising that a gender gap exists in ambition among entrepreneurs, Paula Fitzsimons developed and successfully implemented Going for Growth, an initiative to nurture and support ambitious female entrepreneurs. Going for Growth, funded by Enterprise Ireland and KPMG, is designed to support women who are serious about growing their businesses and are the owner manager of a business which has been trading for at least two years. The initiative is based on interactive roundtable sessions that are facilitated, not by consultants, academics or professional trainers, but by mentors who are successful entrepreneurs. Since 2008, the programme has supported over 660 ambitious female entrepreneurs, including #TeamGBS superstars:
Údarás na Gaeltachta Mentoring Scheme
The Údarás na Gaeltachta Mentoring Scheme provides support through a business mentor who assists businesses in the business start-up phase or advises on specific areas of the business plan – which is critical at this time. Údarás na Gaeltachta officers liaise directly with each client to provide support, inform them of the best support available to them and assist them in their application. Galway-based All About Kombucha (Epsiode 29) have worked in collaboration with Údarás na Gaeltachta, for example.