Business Mentorship – How Important is it?

Walk with the dreamers, the believers, the courageous, the cheerful, the planners, the doers, the successful people with their heads in the clouds and their feet on the ground.  Let their spirit ignite a fire within you to leave this world better than when you found it…”

Wilferd Peterson, American author

According to Management Mentors, a Boston-based mentoring consulting firm, mentoring is most often defined as a professional relationship in which an experienced person (the mentor) assists another (the mentoree) in developing specific skills and knowledge that will enhance the less-experienced person’s professional and personal growth.mentor

In business having a mentor can be a great asset, especially when you are starting and implementing a business.  It is at that point where you have to make many key decisions.  Having a mentor who is knowledgeable in the type of business you are in is a smart move.  You can also look for a mentor who has an area of expertise that you may be weak in.  The one thing you have to remember is that not everyone is meant to be a mentor.  The person you enter into a mentorship arrangement with should be a trustworthy individual, someone with whom you feel comfortable discussing private and confidential matters.

When you enter a contract/mentorship agreement with a mentor you become a protégéor mentee.  The mentorship process should include a signed contract/mentorship agreement between both where the role of the mentor and mentee are defined. It should also include:

–         Schedule of meetings – frequency and duration

–         Method of communication

–         Expectations and goals

–         Confidentiality agreement

–         Responsibilities

–         How decisions are made and who is responsible

–         Termination of the contract/mentorship agreement

–         Evaluation – monthly or quarterly

–         Accountability – monthly or quarterly

–         Restrictions (what the mentor will not assist the mentee with)

–         Conflict of interest agreement

–         Signatures of both parties

Take your time and make sure you chose the right mentor.  It should be someone who is not only trustworthy but has a good reputation within the community.  The Guardian offers this advice: “You have to reach out and be proactive. Good business mentors are busy running their businesses. You have to attend relevant events and may have to attend more than one to meet the right mentor. If you find someone you get on with and respect, never be afraid to ask them.”

When you align yourself with the right people you will gain confidence which will help you move forward with your business.  Choose carefully!

Also remember to align yourself with Halton Region’s Small Business Centre.  We are here to help you work towards gaining success in your business.  One of the goals of the Centre is to empower small and medium-sized enterprises and give you the tools to achieve success. For more information about Halton Region’s Small Business Centre resources, services, including our Access to Professionals program and how we can help direct you to the right resources, contact us by dialing 311, 1-866-442-5866, online at www.haltonsmallbusiness.ca, by email at smallbusiness@halton.ca or visit us at 1151 Bronte Road, Oakville.  Follow us on Twitter at twitter.com/haltonecdev.

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