It was interesting to see that the first thing Gai Waterhouse did when she won this year’s Melbourne Cup was to acknowledge her mentor Lloyd Williams. Having a business mentor is now recognised as an important component of running a successful business by many people but just as choosing an accountant or lawyer that suits you needs to be done carefully, so too finding the right mentor is just as important. It is sometimes thought that business mentoring is for businesses in difficulty, and while this is sometimes the case, most mentoring is with successful people wanting to take their businesses to the next level.
As Christchurch business mentor Terry Fullerton says “ Many people make the mistake of asking friends or family to be a mentor for them. More often than not these people have no experience of being a business mentor and they are not comfortable being open and honest about what they see as weaknesses with the way the business is being managed.”
When looking for a mentor it is important to select someone who has been successful themselves and has experience as a mentor. This may include accreditation from organisations such as Business Mentors New Zealand. To find the right mentor can take many hours of networking and meeting successful people in your area of activity and then once you have selected someone that fits the bill you then need to approach them to give their valuable time to help you achieve your goals. Some people are not comfortable approaching possible mentors and unfortunately end up deciding against having one.
For many people, a much better option is to contact a qualified business mentor to work with them on a professional basis. There are a growing number of mentors now practicing in most major centres. While this will involve payment of a retainer or fees on an hourly rate most mentors offer a free introductory session where you can get to know your mentor before making any financial commitment. A good mentor will add much more value than the costs incurred and, provided you are careful to retain the right to terminate the contract at any time if you are not satisfied with the way things are going, there is little risk to seeing if mentoring is for you.
So you may not end up winning the Melbourne Cup but you could easily get your business on the right track!
*Terry Fullerton is a business mentor with www.mybusinessmentor.co.nz .