Some of the most successful entrepreneurs in the world have had business mentors, Richard Branson says that “No matter whom you are, where you’ve come from, or what you have achieved, a good mentor is an invaluable asset in business.” But what is a mentor, how can they specifically help you as a Mumpreneur and what should you look for when selecting one?
What is a business mentor/coach?
Mentors have been in the workplace for many years. The process of an older and wiser member of staff supporting the younger more inexperienced fledglings is quite established in the corporate world.
The role of a mentor has expanded considerably though, particularly in the entrepreneur circle. Historically mentors have not worked with entrepreneurs, as business leaders they tend to think slightly differently to those opting for more secure employment and are bigger risk takers. Therefore asking for someone else’s input doesn’t necessarily come naturally.
The truth is that running your own business in a big responsibility and it can be a very lonely job. A business mentor or coach is able to support the decision making process, provide a fresh perspective and offer impartial advice in all areas of your business.
How can a mentor help Mumpreneurs?
It may surprise you to learn that women are particularly bad at seeking support in the work place, it did me! I assumed that because as women we love to connect with others and will quite happily share our problems with a friend that we would be able to ask for help in our professional life too. A survey conducted by Levo found that 95% of women didn’t seek the guidance of a mentor in the workplace. With the rise of Mumpreneurs I imagine the figure to be very similar with women business owners. I think the problem is that we still feel we have to prove ourselves. It’s difficult to admit to the world that sometimes we need a little help.
Looking for support from a business coach is far from admitting defeat. It is accepting success. In a recent post I explored the benefits of asking for help but of course a key factor is who you seek the help from.
What should a Mumpreneur look for in a mentor?
Finding a mentor that understands the challenges a Mumpreneur faces is vital to the success of the relationship. I am personally passionate about women empowering each other and believe that as a gender it is the only way we can plug the gaps in equality that remain.
This is why I suggest that Mumpreneurs who are seeking a business mentor look for a coach who ideally has experience in juggling the same balls.
Here are 5 other assets your ideal Mumpreneur business mentor should possess
A mentor isn’t a friend, in some cases though they become even closer and should definitely be more influential. Apart from the physical logistics of having to spend time together, for the process to be successful you have to form an open and honest relationship with them. If you don’t like the person you’ll also be less likely to act on any advice they give you. When you hire a mentor the relationship you develop is instrumental to the level of success it will bring you.
It doesn’t have to be in your exact business field but your mentor should understand business and have been successful in their own right. Don’t let age be a deciding factor, yes someone older than you may have had more experience but be aware they may have spent the last 30 years of their life unfocused. Look at personal credentials.
Mentors come in all shapes and sizes with varying degrees of experience in different areas of business. If you find working on the accounts a specific challenge then choosing a mentor with expertise in this area will specifically benefit you. Look for a mentor that has a broad knowledge of business but also one who can provide you with the bespoke plugs to fill your knowledge gaps.
When you are looking to employ a mentor you need someone who is interested in who you are as an individual and what your business brand stands for. You also need to check that there are no areas of resistance. For example, if you sell beef burgers you probably don’t want a vegetarian mentor. Your chosen coach has to be fully on board with your business and its mission.
- Goal orientated
When you first meet a perspective mentor make your business goals very clear. You want your mentor to fully understand and appreciate the direction you see your business going in. If this is not established in the very early stages you could be led away from your desires far too quickly.
To conclude before you make a commitment to a business mentor take the time to ensure they are right for you. Even if a friend has hired someone who is perfect for them, as an individual you may benefit from someone different.
When I have an initial meeting with potential clients I make sure they know who I am and what has led me into the coaching profession. I share with them my 10 years’ experience and my training in coaching and counselling. Most importantly though I try to find out as much as possible about their individual business and any potential barriers to success. I am honest and open about how I feel I can coach them onto the next level of their business success.
If you have any questions and would like to find out if I am the right business mentor for you then don’t hesitate to get in touch.
To Your Success