Business mentoring

Find out how the Business Mentoring Service could benefit your business and how to get involved.

Guide

4 min read

1. Overview

Having a business mentor can give you an independent view of your business or social enterprise. Engaging a mentor can help guide your strategy and ensure that you're meeting objectives, addressing key issues and exploiting your opportunities to grow.

The Business Mentoring Service matches experienced mentors with ambitious businessmen and women. The service is delivered across Scotland through a partnership between Scottish Enterprise and the Scottish Chambers of Commerce. It is supported by the European Regional Development Fund. There is no cost to companies or social economy organisations to use the Business Mentoring Service.

This guide explains the benefits of business mentoring, how the Business Mentoring Service works and how you can get involved.

2. The benefits of business mentoring

A business mentor can help you develop a stronger and more sustainable business. Mentored businesses and organisations report many benefits, including increases in turnover, productivity and employee numbers as a direct result of engaging with a mentor.

Mentors are volunteers who give their time freely. They have a wealth of knowledge, skills, experience and contacts they are willing to share. As successful business people, they understand the challenges you face as a business owner or leader of your organisation. By providing an impartial view, mentors can encourage you to look at your business or organisation with a fresh perspective. Sometimes, this is all that's needed to identify opportunities for growth.

The mentor's role is to support, develop, stimulate and challenge. An experienced mentor can help you to:

  • develop key business skills
  • improve your problem-solving abilities
  • build your confidence
  • develop your leadership skills
  • widen your network of business contacts

If you are planning to develop and grow your business, this could be a very effective tool to help you plan your way forward.

3. The Business Mentoring Service

The Business Mentoring Service matches experienced mentors with ambitious business people. The executives at Business Mentoring Scotland will talk with you to discuss your business development objectives and ambitions. You will then be carefully matched with a mentor who has the skills and experience to meet your needs.

Mentors can meet with you on a monthly basis for a couple of hours to help you to think through your strategic objectives and ambitions. They can also be at the end of the phone to support and encourage you when things get tough, or when you just need someone to act as a sounding board. Mentors can help you stand back from your business and look at the 'big picture', identifying strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. They can offer information and insights, provide counsel, caution against potential pitfalls and help build your confidence.

Mentors typically have a broad network of contacts, friends and colleagues built up over their careers. As a result, they can sometimes make useful introductions for you.

One-to-one mentoring and group mentoring

Mentors can work with you on a one-to-one basis. Or, you can work as part of a group, where eight or ten companies meet to discuss common issues and share knowledge and resources under the guidance of a shared mentor. Either way, you can benefit from the insight, support and experience of a successful business person.

However having a business mentor won't automatically fix all your business problems. Mentors are not consultants and they don't take the place of existing professional advisers. See our guide on the extra help and support available for your start up.

Further information

You can get more information by calling Business Mentoring Scotland on 0141 444 7400 or by visiting the Business Mentoring Scotland website.

4. Becoming a business mentor

Do you have the skills and experience to act as a business mentor for ambitious, growing businesses?

Business mentors are volunteers who are keen to share their knowledge and experience. Acting as a sounding board, mentors help to support, develop, stimulate and challenge the leaders of businesses or social enterprises.

As successful business people in their own right, mentors have the experience and knowledge that growing businesses and organisations look for. Most importantly, they are willing to share their knowledge and provide encouragement and confidential and objective feedback to help you consider how to grow your business or organisation.

The benefits of being a business mentor

Being a mentor is a rewarding and satisfying experience. Mentors report that it can help them to:

  • hone their coaching skills
  • widen their contacts
  • develop a new perspective on their business

Mentoring is challenging and stimulating for both parties. You'll feel considerable satisfaction when your mentee reports back progress and improvements on the issues and challenges that they are addressing. You'll also have the added satisfaction that you are giving something back and supporting the Scottish economy.

Skills and experience you'll need as a mentor

Business mentors have the right mix of skills and experience, including:

  • the ability to listen and empathise
  • respect for other people's views
  • experience of the issues and challenges faced by growing businesses and organisations
  • the ability to offer encouragement and sympathy
  • a supportive and hands-off approach that allows others to make their own decisions
  • a willingness to volunteer your time, knowlege and skills

How to take part

You can find out more about the role of a mentor by calling Business Mentoring Scotland on Tel 0845 609 6622.

You can email Business Mentoring Scotland at mentoring@scottishchambers.org.uk.

Business Gateway runs events covering all areas of running a business. You can also talk to an adviser by calling 0300 013 4753.

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