As cliché as it may be, "No man is an island." There is no way you can do everything on your own. In some way or another you need the help and support of other people to succeed in life - whether it's a personal endeavour or a business challenge. Help can come in different forms. It could be an idea or inspiration from someone you respect and look up to, or it could be advice from a trusted mentor.
What is a mentor?
One of the age-old forms of learning is by having a mentor (or mentors). A mentor can be called 'master', 'sensei', 'teacher', 'advisor', 'guru', 'coach' and so on. But what is exactly a mentor? A mentor is someone who is more experienced in a field and is willing to teach and provide wisdom to his/ her student or apprentice.
In the business world, mentors are often referred to as the business advisors, executive coaches and financial advisors who help business owners in making important decisions for their companies. They teach new skills, offer advice or simply provide a new perspective on something that business owners are having problems with.
There are several benefits from having a mentor particularly when it comes to growing your business. One of these benefits is getting an outside perspective on what is really happening in your business. A mentor can help you step back and see the bigger picture whenever you are clouded with uncertainties. The mentor is there to present you with a different angle on the problem and provide inputs for long-term interests of your business.
Below are some of the important areas where mentorship could add value to your business:
- Developing your business vision. Lack of vision is dangerous for every business. Sadly, some business owners do not have a clear vision and this is one of the reasons why many businesses do not succeed. They start a business and run it but they often fail to set a clear perspective on where they are going to. Mostly, they just go with the flow. One of the first important steps in starting a business is to have a mental image of where you want your business to be at some point in the future. According to James Collins and Jerry Poras in their article entitled, "Building Your Company's Vision," a business vision has three components; the core values, core purpose and visionary goals. Whilst a business should continuously adapt and thrive, its ideology must remain constant to grow steadily towards its goals. It is these components that hold everything together.
- Strategic Planning. It is hard to accomplish anything without a plan and the same holds true in business. No business can survive a competitive environment without strategic planning. Its survival ratio would be just like entering a jungle without a map and a compass. If you are lucky, you go around in circles before you reach your destination. However, there is a slim chance you can get out of the jungle and reach your destination without depleting your resources, whereas when you have a specific plan to follow, you can easily direct your business towards your goals and survive the business jungle successfully. Mentors can provide insights or can help you develop a plan. Since they are more knowledgeable in their field they can guide you through the development process and help you see a different perspective including the tiniest details that are often overlooked.
- Setting Business Goals. It is vital to every business to have SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time-bound) goals. As derived from the SMART criteria of Peter Drucker's management by objectives concept, defining objectives in an organisation is very important. However, with today's ever-changing and competitive world of business, having SMART goals is often not enough.
According to Adam Kreek, a motivational speaker and 2008 Olympics Gold Medallist, goal setting should be CLEAR:
- Collaborative (Goals should encourage team members to work collaboratively)
- Limited (Goals should have both scope and time duration)
- Emotional (Goals should connect to team members emotionally)
- Appreciable (Large goals should be pided into milestones to achieve them quickly and easily. This way, goals can be achieved by doing one step at a time)
- Refinable (Set goals firmly but if inevitable circumstances ask for certain changes, goals should be modifiable)
- Financial Management. Gift with numbers is rare and not every businessman has the insights of a Chartered Accountant. Sometimes what you see in numbers is not everything there is. In most cases there are underlying issues behind those business metrics and financial statements which only a financial advisor could see through it. This is one of the reasons why having a financial advisor is important in business. They can either help you with your financial planning or do the nitty gritty part of it.
The list of how mentorship could add value to your business could go on and on. Mentors know what to advise for specific situations because they have been there before. As Academy Award-winning American film director George Walton Lucas Jr. said, "Mentors have a way of seeing more of our faults than we would like. It's the only way we grow."
If you need help with developing your business vision, setting CLEAR goals, strategic planning or financial management, contact us on (09) 576 4166. It's time to accelerate your business growth.