Over my years as business advisor I have met countless people who want help with their business. While challenging at times, it’s often a very rewarding experience seeing somebody start or move forward with their business as a result of our conversations.
As you can probably imagine the types of issues raised vary from person to person and business to business, but I often hear the same comments said time and again. I wanted to recount and share with you some of my experiences and remarks that I often hear as a business advisor and mentor.
“I didn’t know what to expect”
Many clients I’ve spoken to have one or more specific topics in mind which they want to discuss, but there are also a large number of people who feel they want to talk things through but have no particular issues.
Whilst I feel it’s good to arrive for a meeting armed with information I believe will be useful, it’s equally rewarding to sit down, talk through how they see the business and let the ideas gradually grow.
Any number of questions can be raised during these discussions. Some can be answered on the spot, while others require more research. In every case they require time spent talking and actively listening. Ideas pass between each of us and sometimes gradually sometimes immediately a solution (more often the basis of a solution) comes to the fore.
It is at this point I quite often hear my client say “I didn’t know what to expect from this meeting but this has been really useful.”
“All this time and it never occurred to me”
The added value gained from mentoring isn’t confined to just new business owners. It’s not unusual for me to sit down with someone who has been running a business for many years, sometimes having taken on the role from a predecessor.
During our conversation they mention an ongoing issue that perhaps was not at the front of their mind initially but is something that clearly needs to be addressed. We talk through the issue, various suggestions and alternatives are discussed and a plan begins to take shape.
This is when they very often have the “eureka” moment and declare “All this time and it never occurred to me!”
Please do not think I am suggesting that I am some sort of all-knowing oracle, that is far from the truth, but one of the advantages of being remote from the business is the ability to “see” things more clearly. How often have we all said “I can solve someone else’s problems, it’s mine I struggle with.”
“I didn’t know about that”
For new business owners, plenty of time is spent talking through the basics of running a business such as legal status, income tax, V.A.T, insurance, banking, marketing and so on.
I often hear clients say “I didn’t know about that” but as with anything in life it only seems basic when you know it. To someone new to running a business all these things form part of the great unknown.
There are not many things that are more unnerving than the unknown and so sitting down with someone who’s been through it themselves and having that fear removed can be very empowering.
In truth none of us know what we don’t know so spending time talking through your business, its needs and your own can only be time well spent.
Being able to speak to a mentor or advisor about your business can be a very beneficial experience whether you have a particular issue you want to discuss or just going in with an open mind.
From a mentor’s point of view, it’s also a great learning experience and often highly rewarding. Sue, one of our volunteer business mentors had this to say:
“I have found the experience most fulfilling. It is an opportunity to put back into the community something of value drawing on my knowledge and experience as a business director. The reward of seeing an idea develop into a sound business plan is most satisfying. Meeting people from all walks of life, in a variety of industries is refreshing and I also learn something along the journey.”
If you’re in Devon and are looking for someone experienced to help with your business or if you can volunteer a little time to help someone else, it’s always great to hear from you. Either way just give a call on 0800 592 872.
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