mentorsme.co.uk is designed to help you find a business mentor in a fast and easy way, but you may have some questions before you get started.
If you can’t find what you’re looking for in the responses below, please contact us.
Q: I think I need a business mentor but I’m not sure. How do I decide?
A: Only you can decide whether having a business mentor is the right option for you but at certain stages of a business’s life cycle, a mentor can be a useful source of support and guidance. For example, if your business is experiencing a period of rapid growth or has been declined finance, a mentor can support you and your business through that stage and on to the next level of development. Businesses that seek guidance and support, particularly during start-up and the first months of trading, are most likely to survive and succeed.
Q: What support and guidance can a business mentor offer me?
A: A mentor is normally someone who has extensive business experience or is expert in a particular business area, such as finance or marketing. He/she can support and guide you in a number of ways: by providing honest and constructive feedback; by being a sounding board for your ideas; or by listening, confidentially, to the things that are concerning you about your business. Business mentors do not give specific technical business advice; provide a counselling service; or supply a training service. Find out what you can and can’t expect from a business mentor.
Q: How can mentorsme.co.uk help me find a business mentor?
A: Mentorsme.co.uk is an online gateway that can put you in touch with quality-assured business mentoring organisations across Britain. Based on your business’s stage of development and where you are located, our mentor finder will provide you with a list of mentoring organisations that may be able to help you. The next part is up to you. Getting in touch with any one of these organisations will be the first step you take to finding a business mentor. The mentoring organisation you contact will want to know more about your business and what you are looking for from a mentor. This will help them to put you in touch with the right person from their extensive network of mentors.
Q: What will the business mentoring organisation ask me?
A: If you have reached the stage of contacting a mentoring organisation, it is likely that you are facing issues in your business that you think you need help with. Try to be clear on what those issues are. It could be that you don’t feel you have the right team to help you grow, or you want to raise the profile of your business in your area.
You may also be asked if you would like to be mentored face-to-face, via telephone or email, and if you would like to receive formal or informal mentoring. These are things you should give some thought to in advance.
Q: What is the difference between formal and informal mentoring?
A: Formal mentoring refers to a process of support that is set up in an official way and may be part of a wider, structured mentoring programme. Informal mentoring involves mentors working with businesses through network associations, recommendations, friendship groups, online or through word of mouth. Both types can be equally valuable to your business.
Q: Will I have to pay for my business mentor?
A: Mentorsme.co.uk lists both commercial and not-for-profit mentoring organisations. Commercial organisations will charge for their mentors’ time and expertise. Each organisation will charge varying amounts. If you are interested in using a commercial mentoring organisation, you should ensure that you clearly understand their costs before committing to paying for a mentor.
Not-for-profit mentoring organisations do not generally charge for their services although you may find that some charge, for example, a small annual membership fee.
Q: How do I know the mentoring organisations on mentorsme.co.uk are reputable?
A: All of the mentoring organisations featured on mentorsme.co.uk are established organisations with extensive mentor networks, and which already help businesses seeking support. As a condition of being featured on the gateway, every organisation has agreed to a set of mentoring quality standards, which cover issues such as data protection and confidentiality. Agreement to comply with these standards is sought annually. In addition, all mentoring organisations must pass the usual security and credit checks before being listed on the gateway.
Q: How much contact can I expect to have with my business mentor?
A: It is up to you and your individual mentor to produce a schedule that suits you both but a mentor will, typically, spend around one day a month with you.
Q: How long can I expect to be mentored for?
A: This depends on how long it takes to tackle the issues that you would like your business mentor to support you on. You may only need to be mentored for a couple of months or the mentoring relationship could last for a few years.
Q: Can any business find a mentor through mentorsme.co.uk?
A: Yes. The gateway is available to all UK businesses but it is likely that start-ups and small- and medium-sized enterprises will benefit the most from finding a mentor through the gateway.