Given that it helps businesspeople grow both professionally and personally, mentorship can prove invaluable in franchising
Since I started climbing my way up the corporate ladder, I have been able to call on the wisdom of two fantastic mentors: one of Scotland’s top 100 businessmen and my father, who's an award-winning engineer. Both have mentored, supported and advised me as I've grown my business.
And I’m not alone in this: the Sage UK Omnibus April 2014 report revealed that 22% of UK businesses have used a mentor. Both Richard Branson and the late Steve Jobs have benefited from the advice and wisdom of having a mentor and Jobs, in turn, famously mentored Mark Zuckerberg, the founder of Facebook, in his early years. As this proves, no matter where you are in your business lifecycle a mentor can shape and change your perceptions, helping to develop both you and your business.
A mentor can provide honest, thought-provoking advice, offer a different perspective and fill any gaps in knowledge you may have. However, the first step you need to take is to admit to yourself that you could benefit from a mentor, as well as acknowledging you would benefit from help, guidance and a dose of honesty about yourself and your business. By opening your mind to the advice they can give you, you can develop key business skills. They help you with your problem-solving abilities, build your confidence and help you work on your own personal development.
But once you’ve established that you want a mentor, how can you find one? As a franchisee, you should have a framework of support provided by the franchisor to run your business and part of this may include access to mentoring from other franchisees. If not, you could ask one of the successful members of the network if they would be happy to mentor you.
Alternatively, you can find a mentor who doesn't know your business sector and can provide a fresh pair of eyes. One place to start is the website mentorsme.co.uk, which is a free online portal that provides lists of mentors by region and service. Many of these mentors – unlike business coaches – don't charge a fee and they can provide a valuable service to their mentees.
With time, the relationship you build with a mentor will develop and grow. They’ll share the wisdom of their business experiences – both good and bad – to help you to flourish personally and professionally. The best entrepreneurs have benefitted from having a mentor. Without a doubt, you and your business can too.