Help to Grow: Management Course – How to choose the right mentor for your business

Help to Grow: Management Course – How to choose the right mentor for your business

Posted: Mon 1st Aug 2022

The Help to Grow: Management Course was launched in 2021 to support small and medium sized businesses to boost their performance, resilience and long-term growth.

Participants of the course are benefiting from online and in-person workshops, peer networking and one-to-one mentoring.

Mentorship is a critical part of the programme with mentors providing insight into business processes and management, acting as a personal sounding board, facilitating networking, and encouraging creative thinking.

With this in mind, it's important to choose the right mentor for your business.

What is a mentor, and how can they benefit my business?

Simply put, a mentor is an individual who will work with you to develop and improve your business ideas and strategies. Business mentors are accomplished and successful people who will provide mentees with guidance.

For many entrepreneurs, mentors are vital to the success of their business, and their presence can tip the scales of success in a company's favour.

A good mentor will:

  • listen

  • empathise

  • offer fresh perspectives and ideas

  • help your business perform to its best

  • improve your problem-solving abilities

  • encourage you and build your confidence

  • develop your leadership skills

  • widen your network

How do I choose the right mentor for my business?

Participants on the Help to Grow: Management Course will use the Enterprise Nation platform to search for and choose a mentor.

Many professional and personal factors can influence how well a mentoring relationship works. There are a few things you should consider when choosing a mentor.

Clearly define who you're looking for

Good mentors are more than cheerleaders; they challenge their mentees to grow and change. Take some time to think about what you or your business need at this point and how a mentor will help you achieve your goals.

Are you looking for an expert in a certain field, for example? If so, filter your search by category of support (marketing, international trade, accounting etc.). Consider factors like their background, skills, expertise and network.

Your mentor should have a track record of success and real-world experience in the areas in which you're most interested. While a mentor isn't there to spoon-feed you all the answers, they should have the relevant experience to help you navigate the challenges you may encounter.

Consider your values and interests

When looking for a mentor, it's important to consider your own character traits and values – and seek out someone who shares those with you. Some differences between you can help bring new perspectives, but shared values and aims can really enable you to build a strong relationship.

If you and your potential mentor have the same goals for your work and your industry, you can more easily understand their approach, and it'll likely lead to a better relationship.

Equally as important is whether you admire this person for their achievements and industry experience. A great mentor could be someone who shares a similar professional outlook and may have overcome similar challenges or achieved the goals you're working towards.

Don’t be afraid to step outside of your comfort zone

Mentoring is a relationship that will help you develop professionally and personally. Often, that requires you to step outside your comfort zone. Don't be afraid to consider a mentor who will do just that (while still aligning with your values).

You can find great mentors in people who are a different gender, age group or nationality to you. They don't even have to be in the same line of work as you. Having someone from a different background can add value by providing a different perspective and help you gain clarity.

Choose your preferred communication style

Think about how you like to communicate and decide whether you'd like to have in-person sessions with your mentor or if online or telephone conversations work best for you.

If you feel that in-person meetings with a mentor would be best, filter your search by location – and ask your chosen mentor if they're happy to meet face to face. You can use the secure messaging system on Enterprise Nation to start the conversation.

And remember…

Mentoring is a relationship – which means you'll want to feel a genuine connection with your mentor. While we hope you'll easily find your perfect mentor match, it's possible that the chemistry won’t always feel 'right'.

First, we advise that you speak to your mentor about your concerns. If things don't improve, however, you can contact the Help to Grow: Management Course team, who will help you match with someone different.


Help to Grow: Management Course – Develop your business with a mentor

Want to help a small business grow?

Being a mentor goes far beyond the rewarding feeling of 'giving back'. Mentors gain a range of personal development benefits from the experience.

Become a voluntary mentor for the Help to Grow: Management Course and commit 10 hours over 12 weeks to support businesses with their growth action plan. Sign up today 

The national mentoring element of the Help to Grow: Management Course is being delivered by a partnership of Newable, Enterprise Nation and the Association of Business Mentors on behalf of the Department for Business & Trade.


Relevant resources

Enterprise Nation has helped thousands of people start and grow their businesses. Led by founder, Emma Jones CBE, Enterprise Nation connects you to the resources and expertise to help you succeed.

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