I’m so pleased to be part of the team delivering the Small & Mighty Enterprise programme for Small Business Britain again. This time we’re welcoming and supporting nearly 1,000 small businesses on their journey – which is a fantastic number! A big part of this programme is mentoring – each participant gets access to both a one-on-one and group mentoring session. I often talk about the power of mentoring, but I still get asked “when should I get a mentor?”. Having a great mentor can be imperative to your business growth and success so I’ll explore more here.

When is the last time you worked on your business?

We’re all guilty of not working on our business enough, me included. It can be challenging to carve out the time to dedicate to your business when the ‘actual work’ takes priority. However, mentoring allows you to have that space and gives you the opportunity to think, process, review and plan. I see business owners relish this opportunity and this time often produces the best thinking, solutions and opportunities.

What can a mentor offer me?

As well as space and time, a good mentor offers insight and experience and can challenge you. Being challenged is a good thing as it can allow you to think differently, open yourself up to new possibilities and take a step back from your business to see the bigger picture. Often, we are so ‘in’ our business that we can’t see opportunities or issues that are in front of us. A mentor will be someone who is completely in your corner and who is there as a supporter and a cheerleader. They will also open concepts up and ask you critical questions to meet your objectives.

Do I only need a mentor if I want to grow?

Absolutely not. Mentors are great if you want to steady the ship, refocus, find your why, measure what success looks like to you and so much more. I’ve mentored people who want to scale down and worked with them to do that in a manageable way. Success needs defining – to some people it’s building a global footprint or earning £100k a year, to others it’s working a three-day week. Success in business is personal and mentors are a great sounding board to work with and decipher how you define success.

I feel too small to have a mentor

This, again, is a common misconception. If you’re a small business with perhaps just you in it, mentoring can be so valuable. Even more so as you are doing everything yourself! Having that time to figure things out, work towards your objectives as well as have accountability can be hugely vital to growth and success. Small businesses are often the lifeblood of our communities so they need supporting and nurturing. So allowing opportunities and access to mentoring is vital.

How do I get a mentor?

Do follow Small Business Britain and other organisations for their many programmes that offer free mentoring such as the British Library, your local Chamber of Commerce and business groups. You can also approach people you find inspiring in your network and ask if they have the capacity to mentor. If you know you’re actively looking for one, then you know it’s not a case of if, but when should I get a mentor. Feel free to get in touch if you’re looking for some dedicated mentoring support.

Photo by Drew Beamer on Unsplash