On this blog we’ve talk a lot about the challenges we face as small business owners. Especially around the fact that many of us work completely on our own which, of course, means that we are 100% responsible for every aspect of our businesses. From marketing to finance to sales to admin. We’ve talked about things like the benefits of accountability when you run a small business. About the importance of community. But today we’re turning our attention to the benefits of mentoring for small business owners.
What is mentoring?
Put simply, mentoring is a relationship between two people which is designed to further both personal and professional development. The mentor shares his or her knowledge and experience with the mentee and guides and supports them towards the achievement of their goals. Usually, meetings will take place at least once per month, and can be either structured or free-flowing, dependent on what the participants decide. The length of the mentoring relationships is also , of course, up to those involved, but they can last for as little as a few months, or sometimes even a number of years! But regardless of the nature of a specific relationship, this research from Kabbage shows in figures, just how beneficial choosing to work with a mentor can be when you run a small business.
What are the benefits of mentoring?
There isn’t really a pre-defined list of benefits that apply to everyone who chooses to work with a mentor. This is because each relationship is different and each has its own goals and objectives. However, there are a number of common themes which arise when it comes to the benefits of mentoring.
One of the great benefits of mentoring is the potential for your mentor to make connections and introductions that would have been more difficult for you to facilitate yourself. This can be as simple as being introduced to someone who can help with a particular challenge that you’re facing. Or it could be making you aware of a grant scheme that you weren’t aware of. Or it could even be making a connection for you to a potential investor, or your dream stockist or supplier. As the proverb says, it’s not what you know, it’s who you know, after all!
How many times have you looked at something your competitors have done and thought – but how have they managed that? Or perhaps an opportunity has come your way and you’ve said to yourself – I can’t possibly do that. I’m not ready?
Well, the role of the mentor in this case is to challenge those kinds of negative thoughts and in doing so, empower you to step up and move forward. In the case of the first example above, they will help you to figure out how that competitor might have ‘managed it’, and to consider whether you could do something similar. And in the second, it may simply be a case of Why not? What’s stopping you?
3. Validation and a different perspective
We are all guilty of working in rather than on our businesses. It’s all too easy to get swept up in the minutiae of every day that we lose sight of the bigger picture. And in this case, a huge benefit of mentoring is that you can get a fresh perspective. A mentor might help you to see a particular challenge in a different way, thus enabling you to remove barriers and move forward. Or they might make suggestions that you hadn’t considered, but which might be hugely beneficial. Equally, if feeling unsure about a decision that has subsequently left you procrastinating, they might be able to give you the validation that you’re looking for.
Another great benefit of mentoring is the sharing of knowledge, and ideally this will be a two way street with the mentor learning something too! By definition though, a mentor takes on this role in order to share their knowledge and experience with someone who isn’t as far along in their journey as they are. And so when you’re choosing a mentor, it’s really important that you choose someone who has been there and done it. Who gets what you’re going through and what you’re trying to achieve. Because those people will have the hands-on knowledge of where you’re heading, and the experience to support you in getting there. They will also have the interest and the enthusiasm to do their absolute best for you and your business.
The fifth in our list of the benefits of mentoring is a simple one, but one that is extremely powerful, and underpins any successful relationship – trust. We all need a support network around us, and one that is made up of people who are not only good at what they do, but one who you can trust to give you the best advice and support that they possibly can.
So a good mentor should have the capacity to become a trusted advisor. Not the kind of advisor who merely tells you what you should or shouldn’t be doing. But instead, one who you can vent to when you need to. One with whom you can share what’s really going on in life and business. And someone that will, of course, keep your discussions confidential.
These five points are key benefits of mentoring in general terms, but there will be more benefits that are generated dependent on your specific circumstances.
When seeking a mentoring relationship, it’s also really important to make sure that you and your prospective mentor are the right fit for each other and that you’re both on board with what you are looking to achieve. That’s why we offer all of our potential coaching and mentoring clients a FREE introductory call to chat about how we could work together. And don’t forget, of course, that when you choose to work with us here at Tabono, you get to work with both of our co-founders. Not just one!
So get in touch today and let’s start a conversation about how we can work with you to achieve the success that you’re looking for.