How a business mentor can help
As Britain’s first specialist online mentoring portal, mentorsme.co.uk offers free access to a comprehensive list of quality business mentoring organisations across Britain. It is operated by the Better Business Finance programme, set up by five high street banks: Barclays, HSBC, Lloyds Banking Group, Royal Bank of Scotland and Santander, and overseen by UK Finance.
Any UK business can use mentorsme.co.uk, but start-ups, entrepreneurs and businesses tackling new challenges tend to get the most out of it. An easy-to-use search engine allows you to refine your search according to the life stage of your business and location.
Business mentors will normally offer wide-ranging business experience, or expertise in a particular business area such as finance, marketing or export. They will act as your trusted confidant over a flexible period of time, although you should be clear on what you can and cannot expect from them.
What are the benefits?
Independent business experts can play an invaluable role in any business. They draw upon their personal experience and networks to offer support, act as sounding boards, and open up new sources of contacts and facilitators.
Your mentor will:
- Provide an outside perspective on both you and your business
- Listen in confidence to the matters that worry you
- Share their own experience of both failure and success
- Offer friendly, unbiased support and encouragement
- Provide honest and constructive feedback
- Provide a sounding board for your business ideas
- Help you with decision-making by suggesting alternatives
- Give you access to contacts and networks that might be able to help your business development
Your mentor will not:
- Provide a counselling service
- Invest in your business
- Give specific technical business advice, which would normally be provided by an expert business adviser
- Offer any training or coaching
- Take credit for the success of your business away from you
Who are the business mentors?
Mentors are made up of both current and retired bank employees working voluntarily through independent, established, non-profit mentoring organisations. The majority have worked (or still do) as Relationship Managers, but staff from all areas of operations have been recruited to ensure you have access to specialist skills such as marketing and HR.
Are bank mentors properly qualified?
All business mentors complete a training programme run by the independent UK Skills Sector Body for Enterprise and Business Support (SFEDI). Their extensive training covers communication, legislation, health and safety issues, funding and accounts, market research, customer service and marketing.