Running a business is tough. There are a thousand little decisions that need to be made every day. And each of those individual decisions has significant knock-on effects.
Often, business leaders get so bogged down in the details, that they lose track of the bigger picture. The goals they initially set for the company get lost in a sea of deadlines and meetings.
What’s more, business leaders often find that they are turning into mentors themselves. They’re forever dealing with customer complaints and difficult staff. Their job is no longer about breaking new frontiers. It’s devolved into a game of people management that drains their energy.
That’s where having a franchise mentor comes in. Franchise mentors aren’t individuals who know the ins-and-outs of your business. But they are people who can help you refocus on the big picture.
What Do Mentors Do?
Traditional mentors are there to help you focus back on the big picture. More than anything they want you to be to able to keep focused on your original goals. That means helping you to look beyond the minor issues with staff and suppliers and back on why you started a business in the first place.
Many business leaders began their businesses because they wanted to make a real difference in the world. Perhaps they wanted to make the highest quality winter clothing in Britain. Or maybe they wanted to bring online tutoring to the masses at a lower cost. Perhaps their goal was to set up a healthy fast food outlet so that everybody could get affordable food on the move. Whatever their purpose, it had some noble content that drove them forward.
Now, though, that drive has evaporated. And that’s where a mentor can really come in handy. A mentor is somebody who helps a business owner refocus on the task that they initially set out to achieve.
They’ll usually do this through a number of means. One way they can help is by asking some of the more difficult questions you’ve personally been avoiding. Why, for example, are you targeting one particular group of clients, when your product is more suiting to another? In other words, they are people who are willing to say the things that your colleagues may not. And clearly, this can be both enormously valuable and profoundly challenging.
How Can They Help?
There are many different ways that mentors can help, but how they help usually falls into one of two groups. The first way they can contribute to is to deal with immediate concerns. Things like how to deal with a difficult member of staff, or how to manage debts. And the second area in which they can help is to focus on strategy.
One of the problems that many business owners have is a lack of faith in their own abilities. They tend to believe that they are personally inadequate and unable to run a team. If this applies to you, then you’re one of the people who will benefit most from mentoring. Great mentors will often talk you through how they’ve faced similar issues of self-doubt. They’ll let you know that self-doubt is something that is quite routine and that can be overcome. Even the best entrepreneurs struggle with feelings of inadequacy from time to time.
But mentors are also a place where you can safely vent about issues that you have been having in the company. Often you are restricted in what you can say because you never know whether your words will get back to the wrong people. Mentors, however, will listen to your complaints in the strictest of confidence. They’re well-versed in the importance of venting. And they’ll use your frustration and anger to motivate change.
Lastly on the subject of immediate concerns, mentors are people who can give you some perspective. It’s hard as a new business owner to see your company through the eyes of different people. You simply don’t have the experience to do so. However, a great mentor will often have plenty of experience in many different positions relating to business. Perhaps they ran their own company for a time. Then, soon after, worked in a government department dealing with companies directly. And then after that became a member on the board of a company.
In that sense, they’re able to see all aspects of your business from points of view other than yours. And they’ll be able to give you a perspective on how you appear to others. It might be that you think shareholders will perceive you in one way. But mentors will be able to show you how your actions could be interpreted in quite another.
Secondly, mentors are there to help you develop a strategy for your business. In fact, dealing with immediate concerns is simply a way to get you to refocus on your core objectives.
One way they get you to focus on strategy is by making you more accountable. People who are more accountable to others are more likely to make positive changes both at work and at home. Mentors might decide to set a target that you have to strive to complete. Usually, that involves better motivating staff and boosting morale.