So, you have a business mentor. Choosing a mentor shows that you’re willing to learn and ready to grow. It also helps you uncover areas for growth and development that you may have yet to realize.
Data indicates that small businesses with mentors show more significant growth and profit potential in their early years, with as high as 68% reaching profitability in their first year.
But like all other aspects of starting and running a business, there are logical and tangible steps to make the most of the new relationship. This is where a mentorship roadmap comes in.
The Mentorship Roadmap
A strong mentorship roadmap helps ensure you and your mentor get the most out of the mentorship. Here are some key components of a roadmap:
1. Start at the End
Setting a clear goal will help frame the relationship as it progresses. This helps you understand one another’s thinking and build your expectations with the final goal in mind.
2. Define Communication
Defining communication helps structure how time together is spent. Whether formal or informal, meetings should be scheduled in advance at a time convenient for both you and your mentor. It’s also important to consider how you’ll be meeting. Some mentorships can be done remotely, while others benefit from in-person visits.
3. Perform an Assessment
Like setting a high-level goal at the beginning of a new mentorship, a self-assessment will help both parties. Your mentor can identify what areas to focus on and what areas you already have under your belt. You may learn things about yourself that you didn’t realize, helping you pinpoint areas where you need support.
4. Identify Trouble Spots
In addition to a personal assessment, mentorship should include assessing your business, identifying bottlenecks, and setting priorities. Some of these bottlenecks may result from a lack of experience, and others may be market or process driven. Identifying them upfront will allow you to make the most of your time together.
5. Make Feedback a Two-way Street
Feedback should work in both directions. Your mentor should provide constructive feedback that helps you grow and learn. It should be framed so you can seek answers and solutions based on what you gleaned from the interaction. You can also provide feedback that helps your mentor identify where they need to re-engage or drill down.
6. Set Boundaries
It’s common for any process to veer. In the case of mentorship, that veer may mean expecting too much hands-on or operational help. And for a mentor, the lure of getting their hands dirty and the urge to take over can be substantial. Boundaries must be set to keep the focus on imparting knowledge and experience.
7. Measure Progress
Measuring progress and ensuring you’re moving closer to your established goal is important. This can be done through milestone tracking, periodic goal reviews, updated self-assessments, and frequent touch-base meetings.
8. Document the Roadmap
In business, process documentation is critical, and the mentor/mentee relationship is no different. A documented roadmap and progress tracking will help guide you and your mentor to the end. It will also help you continue your growth and build discipline around the habits formed during the relationship.
Making the Most of Mentorship
Mentorship is among the most valuable tools available to you as a new business leader. The insight from someone who has experienced a similar business journey can help broaden your understanding of business operations and put you on a path to success.
The Henry Bernick Entrepreneurship Centre (HBEC) at Georgian College helps match entrepreneurs to mentors through a vigorous process that considers personalities, strengths, and experiences.
Contact us to learn how we can help you build a mentorship roadmap and find the right mentor for your business.