As a business owner, your relationship with your business can sometimes be a little, well, love-hate. There will be times that you don’t ‘like’ your business and need some ‘space’ from it, but you will always love it.

Let’s face it, if you are not passionate about your business you would not keep coming back day-after-day, spending early mornings and late nights and worrying whether is still OK when you are away
from it.

‘It’s lonely at the top,’ is a phrase commonly heard by business owners and leaders, especially when things are not going quite so well or there are challenging decisions or conversations to be had.

How can working with a Business Mentor have a positive impact on this love story?

You can think about a business mentor as your very own private and confidential agony aunt. Someone to listen without judging, to understand your challenges and help you to see the choices open to you and understand the impact of those choices. They are not going to give you all the answers (partly because they don’t have all the answers), but a great mentor will ask you the right questions to help you discover the answers for yourself.

How do I find the right mentor?

To be effective, a mentor will need to know a lot about you and your business. To that end, there needs to be a strong bond of trust and confidentiality between you. Choosing the right mentor is therefore crucial if the relationship is to be beneficial. Just as with choosing the right staff for your business, your mentor will need to be the right fit, in terms of character and chemistry. If they are to effectively critique your plans, challenge your thinking and bring you out of your comfort zone the bond needs to be strong.

So what can a mentor help you with?

  • Accountability

One of the great things about being your own boss is not having to answer to anyone else. Unfortunately, this is also one of the downsides to being your own boss. A good mentor will hold you to account – making sure that you follow through with the actions you commit to.

  • Prioritising

Your problem is not keeping busy, it is having too many things on your plate. A business mentor will help you understand what is important to focus on to unlock precious time. They will challenge your assumptions about what, and how, things should be done in your business.

  • Focus

You are doing all the right things – all the things the gurus in the books and online are telling you that you should be doing. Or are you? A business mentor will work with you to get under the skin of what really drives success in your business and keep that at the front of the discussions and

  • Time management

Time flies when you are engrossed in doing something you love, but if you are not looking at the clock it can mean that you are not fully aware of how long tasks, activities and appointments are taking you or your team. This means you could be spending too much time on some things and not enough on the more important stuff. A mentor will help you manage your time better and challenge your thinking about the realities of time in your business. They can also help you develop ways of making time work for rather than against you.

  • Work-life balance

You may desire to spend fewer hours working, spend more time with your family, enjoy other interests and hobbies or even just take a break without worrying about the business. Your business mentor can help you understand what is blocking you from doing this and help you to find ways to put things in place to free up your time. Your business means more to you than just profit, of course it does, but you also know your business has to make money, otherwise it is nothing more than an expensive hobby.

The helicopter view

It’s a cliché, but still rings true – a business mentor is like a helicopter. They hover above your business, seeing it from the angles that, because you are so involved in it on a day-to-day basis, you cannot see.

Their role is to look at your business – warts and all – to help you enhance the positives and deal with the negatives. They are invested in the success of your business; they are your advocate, guide and sounding board. They are there by your side to help you enjoy the good times and battle through the darker times, helping your business work for you, rather than against you.