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Find a mentor or counsellor

Simple Alliance, Kenya Limited


When starting a small business you cannot be an expert overnight and with the range of important decisions to be made and especially in the first months of opening business you definitely need on the guidance of others to help you through this. This brings in the role of a mentor or counsellor as an important resource that will see you grow from a new business owner to an experienced entrepreneur. A mentor is a person who has gone through the same path you intend to follow. These people are experienced, are successful and are always willing to provide advice and guidance for no personal gain.

 

Mentors and counsellors can be found through many different channels and there are steps that are bound to guide you as you set out looking for this important resource to ensure that you get the right person. Counsellors can however be found through some financing organizations which offer networking, coaching, and other business consultant services.

 

You may consider checking the following places when looking for a mentor for your business;

 

Government-Sponsored Mentor Organizations

The government in many cases offers free resources and business support services to aspiring business owners through the funds set aside mostly for the groups considered marginalised in the society in a bid to empower them. This includes the youth, women and the disabled. This may act as a great resource for mentors for the aspiring entrepreneurs as most of these services come with advice on how to go about a chosen business field. Of late the government has adopted an online strategy in dealing with a lot of these issues and hence it would be easy finding a mentor through the internet.

 

Some of these resources provided by the government and that may offer a great insight for mentors would include the Youth Development Fund and the Women Enterprise Fund set aside for the youth and the women respectively to enable them engage in the SME segment.

Join and utilise Trade Associations

Trade associations within your field of operation act as a very valuable resource for prospective business owners in terms of finding mentors to take them through step by step guidance on how to go about start-up. It is therefore important that a new business owner joins/subscribe to a trade association as early as possible as this ensures unlimited access to the support services they may offer. In most cases they provide guidance on building the business through mentoring programmes that are often a combination of one-on-one mentoring sessions, group networking and discussion of opportunities with fellow new business owners. Through these associations one is able to network with many different mentors who provide insights from different perspectives. Such trade associations exist for virtually all business industries with some even catering for special groups.

Your network as your greatest resource

The people you know could work as a great source of mentors; this could be in the case of previous workmate or even employer who was inspiring to you or even a friend who is a business owner. These people if rightly approached will work to tell you of their struggles and subsequent successes. This comes with readiness on your part to tell them the reasons as to why you chose them in particular, the goals you have set and what you expect of them as your mentors.

 

Probably the best way to find a mentor who knows the industry under discussion well and who will be a great resource in referral is through your network.

 

Tips on working with a Mentor

Working with a mentor requires you as the business owner and who is seeking help from the other quarter to have a clearly defined structure on how you are going to work together. It is important that you ensure there is a formal mentoring program if you chose to work with a mentoring organisation and establish a mutually beneficial structured relationship if you chose to work with an individual.

 

The following tips will come in handy when going about the mentoring process:

Be organised, prepared and consistent to avoid wasting your mentors time, time as it is a resource that no one would want wasted and especially in the business circles.

Have your mentoring sessions planned in advance. This means working with a clear structure that stipulates what time and in what frequency you meet with your mentor. Outline clearly what you intend to discuss with your mentor the next time you have a meeting.

 

As much as having casual one-on-one sessions is a good way of going through mentorship, it is important that you also include more structured sessions which you will use to address the different aspects that affect starting, running, managing and growing the business.

It is important that you take notes, own action items and review the progress against these in your next session with your mentor.

 

Learn to respect your mentor’s time and use their insight applying it as you best see fit.It is important too that you show appreciation for the value that your mentor brings to your business planning process.

Copyright (C) 2016, Simple Alliance Kenya Limited

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DAVID NGARI  |  February 27, 2016
Hi, am 28 years old, am currently running a computer college in Nairobi, later in the year i plan to open a driving schoo...but i need alot of help...because for the time i have been doing this i have made very little profit margins...kindly help
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MARIAM ADHAN  |  February 26, 2015
Hi i am a 21yr old university student doing accounting. I have a 2yr old child i am balancing my career n catering for her alone.. i have a dream of getting on the great height of corporare world. I hate to give up but its hard being on my own i hate to give up but things are too tough on me.. i need a mentor who can hear me out and guide me... any person out there who has gone through what i go through and came out strong and successful and can mentor please reach out to me.
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DENIS MAINA  |  May 28, 2014
I want to start a company with interests in driving schools,insurance agency,outdoor advertising,property development and transport services.Is this a viable idea?Can i use one bank account in the future even after i have registered the businesses as separate legal entities?With regards!