What better person to speak about Mentors: A valuable sounding board than Small Business Mentoring Service Mentor Elizabeth Raut.
Elizabeth says “The real value in having a Small Business Mentor is that they are not personally involved in the business and come with no preconceived ideas about how the business should look. Business owners can benefit from initial advice and if they continue with a Small Business Mentor over time, they have someone they can go to at any time who knows the background of the business as well as the characteristics of the business and its owner.”
Elizabeth has seen how support and guidance helps business owners gain confidence in managing these important components of their business.
“It’s not just theory,” Elizabeth continues. “SBMS mentors have had years of experience and they draw on this as well as examples of other businesses, which have faced similar challenges and opportunities. This helps the business owners see they are not the only ones facing these situations.”
“The most important aspect of the mentoring process is that we are not here to tell people what to do. We help them explore the options so that they can make choices for themselves. Many new business owners have to learn skills such as time management and planning. They can feel overwhelmed with all the things they have to do and don’t know where to start. A Small Business Mentor is someone to whom they can feel accountable and who can help them focus on the next steps to take.”
“Mentoring is very specific,” Elizabeth concludes. “It is not consulting. It is not coaching. It helps people to identify the knowledge and skills they have and how they can use them in a productive way to build their business.”