Business mentors are different to business coaches and would your business benefit more from one or the other?
A business coach is someone who tends to ask questions for you to answer to discuss topics and challenges further. They have some experience but nowhere near as much as a business mentor.
A business coach tends to be a lower cost to engage so if you own a small business and are strapped for cash a coach may be better suites for you.
From there, you may want to check out their website and then create a due-diligence checklist to assess each site you visit, if you want to spend a long time finding one.
Suggested Due Diligence Checklist for Brisbane Business Mentors
Here’s a list of suggestions to consider when on a business mentors website…
- Is the quality of the website high? Many business mentors are not skilled in marketing, which can be reflected on their website. If you want a mentor for marketing this point is important.
- Check out their About page. Look for how many years of experience they have, the more the better.
- How many businesses have they owned? More than two is a suggestion for your criteria, and in very different industries.
- Do they provide you with anything, such as ready to use systems, tools for analysis, management reporting tools etc.?
- Are they strategy focused with growth or more financials focused? Some mentors are like accountants, others are more diversified?
- Do they get results? Do they state specific financial improvements of multiple clients in different industries?
- Are their results impressive? Do they show real businesses and owners by name, so you can verify they are real?
Brisbane is considered to be like living in a big country town. In the Brisbane business community its common to ask someone, do you know (person) and they say ‘yes.’ In Sydney and Melbourne that rarely happens.
You can find a good business mentor, if you’re a Brisbane based business owner, often just by asking around.
The QLD government has a Mentoring for Growth program running out of Brisbane as well as regional areas.
They have dozens of business mentors registered to delivery free mentoring in one-off meetings. While its a free service offered by the government, its not the ongoing business mentoring so many business owners need and can benefit from.
Look for a mention of the M4G program of any business mentors whose website you visit. It will tend to be on their About page.
What Topics Can a Business Mentor Assist With?
There are many, very common challenges that hundreds of different businesses and owners experience and you may be surprised at how many you share with others.
Tim worked with business owners for years, starting by asking them… ‘what are your challenges in business?’ and found they generally fell into these topics…
- Lack of time, to work on the business
- Cash flow, not having enough some times to pay the BAS or other bills on time
- Staff issues – finding reliable ones, ones who work without regular supervision
- Effective marketing, lead generation strategies that are cost effective and work
- Strategies that actually work, to grow the business
- Understanding financials, knowing what to measure, management reports etc.
These are the common challenges most businesses experience as they grow.
Finding a good business mentor that has the experience to overcome one or more is very worthwhile.
There are solutions that can be put in place that lead to permanent solutions for some or all of these points.
Which of these would you like to experience a permanent solution to?
When identifying a good business mentor for your business, ask them about effective solutions to the above, or your own challenges. Ask for examples and specific details of before and after results. They will have plenty for those they have been successful with.
Does the Business Mentor Use Processes?
A process is a methodical, step by step way of carrying out project or working towards a goal. It is identified and refined through years of practical experience.
To solve any challenge in business, its important to follow a process. You’d know this in your own business with your employees, who you have probably explained steps of a process to.
Dr. Edward Deming, a management ‘guru’ from USA made a wise comment about working on a business, with this famous quote…
“If you can’t describe what you’re doing as a process, you don’t know what you’re doing”
When it comes to growing businesses, a 7 step process was identified by working with hundreds of business owners for years.
The 7 steps, when followed in sequential order, allowed a business to follow a J-curve or growth, not the grow-decline, grow-decline model that is often common for businesses.
The order also prevents a lot of stress from having too many, or too few sales, or running out of cash as the business grows.
Often the emotional journey is very different with traditional growth where there are constant worries about various ‘random’ events or situations.
A good business mentor is fully aware of the ‘worries’ of business growth, having experienced it themselves, and can assist their clients to avoid them by their processes.
The 7 Steps and Foundations of J-curve Business Growth
The 7 steps in the process of growing a business through a J-curve of growth begins with…
- Building Your Vision – to identify what your ‘end goal’ looks like for your business.
- Team Building – a great team environment is where your team are happy and productive, which you can leverage through
- Measuring – by understanding and identifying the essential facts about your business, it makes growing it so much easier
- Business Growth Planning – facts from measuring are how to plan to double profits and grow faster
- Systems for Profit Growth – all businesses need systems as they grow, in the form of processes, policies and procedures
- Marketing and Sales – where revenue growth can accelerate the business, after the previous foundations for growth are setup
- Management the Final Phase – where you leverage yourself out of working in the business completely, and let numbers guide decisions
These 7 foundations are topics to learn and master in any business, to achieve constant, above average, stress-free growth.
You may have learned and/or mastered some of these already. A good business mentor can assist you with any that you haven’t.
The reason these are in the order they are is because a Vision clarifies the end goal of the business, so there’s a motivating and guiding influence for the work in and on the business.
Building a Vision
Without a clear vision, there’s no real conviction of what needs to be done and why. The team (employees) may lack drive and motivation too as a result, so profit margins are low and cash flow is a stress point.
A clear vision, defined and shared by the owner with the team, creates motivation and drive.
It can also identify blocks that need to be overcome in achieving the vision and goals.
To enjoy your business, where working in it is no longer necessary, freeing up your time and able to take holidays or days off, your team need to be happy, dedicated and productive. Having team meetings regularly greatly assists with that to be achieved.
Numbers found by measuring very specific aspects of your business, become the facts you can trust and make quality decisions from. Measuring certain ways identifies opportunities for profitable improvement.
Business Growth Planning
This is where the facts from your business and their opportunities are used to plan to grow your business fast with less stress. A good plan will have all strategies for growth, not just lead generation ones so profit margins are increased and so is cash.
Systems for Profit Growth
All businesses need and benefit from systems, in the form of processes, policies and procedures. Policies are the ‘rules’ of how you want employees to carry out tasks and interact with customers.
Another important aspect of systems is KPIs for each role and roles that are shown in an Organisation Chat.
Regular team meetings where KPIs are seen and systems are discussed form the basic “structure” for rapid business growth without your own time.
Marketing and Sales
With the foundations of growth in place – systems, team meetings and measuring/KPIs, a business is ready for rapid growth, by hundreds of thousands of multiple millions in revenue. The foundations maintain the profit margins and therefore cash in the bank necessary for growth. Strategies for marketing and sales keep client acquisition and retention working efficiently.
Management the Final Phase
Managing a business is about making good decisions based on facts. Those decisions involve marketing, employees, pricing levels and growth. With good management a business can grow fast, without the owner even needing to turn up for work every day.
Over 1,000 businesses have benefited by learning and mastering these 7 different topics or foundations of business growth.
A good business mentor will have a solid, in-depth understanding of some or all of these 7 topics. Be sure to ask them about each or all of these topics and their benefit to growing your business.
Lead Generation Mentoring
A beneficial topic to consider for business mentoring is for lead generation.
Business owners pay for marketing services, but often overlook investing in an education to understand marketing and lead generation.
Paying $2,000 or $10,000 for a website is no guarantee of a quality website that is both Google and visitor friendly. Neither is paying $1,000 or $2,000/month on SEO.
Not having any knowledge on website ingredients, Google ranking criteria of keywords and SEO can be risky.
Its all too easy to spend thousands of dollars on marketing and see little return or ROI, which you may have already experienced if you’ve been in business a few years.
One way to significantly reduce the risk with all your marketing is to find a good marketing or lead generation mentor.
A lead generation mentor educates business owners on proven practices of marketing, both offline and online with digital marketing.
Its not expensive, but ignorance sure can be.
For example, a cheap website that costs under $1,000 is often very expensive, become it probably isn’t built with “Google friendly” code, that ranks it higher so that more traffic and leads come from the website.
A website developer is typically far more skilled (and trained) in writing code than they are on proven marketing principles, based on decades of fact-backed results and tests.
Learning more about marketing yourself, is an investment that will give you a much higher ROI on your marketing – for years and years.
Its actually common for a business to save 50% on their marketing and to double their success, producing a 200% improvement, from their education, in the first year alone. Then there’s the benefits in the second year that are even bigger.
The 7 steps above have been identified as ones all business owners benefit from learning. If there was one more to add to the above list, it would be lead generation strategies.
This is a specific topic of marketing in general.
Marketing in general involves these aspects…
- Accurate identification of the ideal target market
- Where the target market can be communicated to, in high concentration, which leads to
- How the target market will be communicated to, what platforms, online and offline
- How customers will be communicated to, after the sale
- Selling steps, the verbal aspect of winning a sale
- Marketing ‘collateral’ for converting more quotes into sales
- Email communication, prior to quotes, after the quote, after a sale
- Defining the Unique Selling Proposition (USP), answering ‘why should I buy from your business and not your competitor?’
Marketing is possibly one of the most broad and complex topic there is in the world today and its forever changing.
Some things about marketing haven’t changed in over 2,000 years or since money or ‘currency’ was invented. People have fear and doubt about getting value for what they have paid for, and that has never changed.
Determining who is a trustworthy supplier is another, so is what words have power, influence and effect on people to move them closer to a buying decision, are also more things haven’t changed in 2,000+ years.
Lead generation is such as big topic, it requires another separate step of its own, which it is now, in additional to the 7 above, in one of Profit Transformations’ programs – the Academy of Business Mastery.
Mentoring to Master All 8 Topics of Business Growth
There’s a couple more pieces of advice on how to find a business mentor, in Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne or anywhere else in Australia or the world.
- A business mentor doesn’t need to live near you
- Consider a small group mentoring program, it has some unique benefits
On the first point, these days you can find and work with a business mentor from virtually anywhere in the world today. There are thousands of business owners who already do.
While local conditions may seem very important, keep in mind people aren’t that different in their behaviours, emotions and decision making criteria. Every person has the same potential emotions that they operate with, all over the world, and have for thousands of years.
Everyone in the world has fear, doubt, excitement, and anger in their emotional repertoire, no matter what country they live in.
Employees the world over have similar desirable aspects of their workplace environment too.
What a good business mentor brings is a deep understanding of the key drivers of people and business that incorporate business and workplace environments, so its advisable to keep an open mind as to where they may live, in Australia or in the world.
Due to the depth and breadth of content that its beneficial to learn on the 8 topics above, why not consider learning them all in a small group, business mentoring program?
One such program has been in existence since 2007 when it was first collated from 10 years of 1 on 1 mentoring experience. It has since been constantly refined and updated all the years since, from feedback on every business owner who has been through the program.
A small group mentoring program, where all your challenges are identified and worked through, proactively with others has many significant benefits, compared to 1 on 1.
Benefits of Small Group Mentoring
- More content can be worked though as it comes in workbooks to write in from Powerpoint content
- The content is give in half-day sessions with a break in-between to a small interactive group
- You learn from other attendees, applying similar strategies
- Its more affordable due to the time component of the business mentor
- There’s templates, specific how-to instructions provided, many with short videos
- 1 on 1 is still included on individual aspects of the content.
That’s just some of the benefit 1,000+ business owners have been enjoying.
The results and case studies of the small group have been even better than 1 on 1 business mentoring too, due to the more structured, higher educational content aspect.
If you’re open to reading all about the benefits of a small group, business mentoring program and the better results its been achieving compared to 1 on 1 business mentoring consider the Academy of Business Mastery course.
Its not just growing businesses, its changing business owners lives for the better.
What’s your experience with business mentoring?
Have you had a good business mentor?
Were they from your city or suburb where your business operates?