NEWS: Mentors can turbo-charge your business
17 August 2018
Kendra Walsh looks at the power of mentoring as she prepares to attend this year's Social Enterprise World Forum in Edinburgh
Kendra Walsh is Director of Expert Impact, a charity that matches social entrepreneurs with some of the UK’s most successful entrepreneurs for mentoring. She is a contributing speaker at SEWF 2018, exploring different ways social enterprises and entrepreneurs can upskill. She will be speaking at the workshop Teaching and Learning – upskilling social enterprises and entrepreneurs on Friday 14th September at 2.15pm.
Anyone who’s run a business knows that it’s really, really hard work. Things go wrong. Your organisation seems to mutate every other month. So what do you do?
Ask for help! Help from people who know what they’re talking about, who have been there and done it, and who can counsel you through the particular challenge at hand.
This is the role mentors play. They’re well-informed advisors. They might be entrepreneurs, executives, or industry experts. Ideally, you’ll have a mix of mentors you can call on, in time this group might eventually become your advisory board.
Mentoring isn’t typically as structured and formal as some people imagine. Mentors might not even call themselves “mentors”.
They’re just people who like what you’re doing, and provide good counsel on how to do it.
Before you think about who to approach, you need to zero in on exactly what you want help with. You can then target people likely to be interested in that challenge.
Put yourself in the potential mentor’s shoes. If you ask them for “general help with my business”, it sounds unfocused. It doesn’t seem tailored to them. It sounds broad and openended and messy, when they are short on time.
Better would be a request like: “Whether we approach social investors or take a loan;” “Whether a new website is worth the cost;” “Who to hire next.
When you define the question, it’s much easier to find the person who can help answer it.
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