Why would you or I need a business mentor, coach or adviser? If you know your industry because you’ve done your research or you are an expert in the products or services you are selling why would anyone need a business mentor? Because there’s more to business than meets the eye and most people fail (or just get by and struggle) in business because they concentrate on what they are selling and not how they are selling it or how to create a successful business.
When I started my first proper business I was only about 23 years old, I was humble enough to recognize my own naivety so I sought advice from wherever I could get it. It didn’t take long for me to get hugely disappointed in the advice I got and realized that most people dishing out business advice knew no more than I did.
I spoke to business bank managers, local business advisers, small business accountants and anyone I could find who was in business. I remember clearly my biggest question when starting out was “How do I get new customers?”. Of course, I needed revenue, I needed to make money so I could reinvest that money as well as pay my bills. I had just become a father for the first time, I was a young Dad with responsibilities, I couldn’t get by without making money.
The advice I got was basic to say the least, such nuggets as “Have you thought about setting up a website?”, I know the internet was fairly new back then but of course I already had a website. Another gem offered more than once; “Have you got a yellow pages ad?” (this was when that was still important) and of course I already had more than one decent size ads.
It began to dawn on me that these people were either used to dishing out advice to local self employed plumbers or other micro businesses, or their own business was built on something they inherited or fell into, none of them had any experience in building a proper business enterprise from scratch.
The next thing that dawned on me was finding people who had built a big business from scratch was next to impossible and even if I could, finding one that would give me any of their time or advice was even harder. The people who knew nothing were quite happy to throw their opinions around but the rare few that knew something were hard to track down and tight lipped or bereft of time.
Thankfully I did track down and get help from some very experienced business people and it didn’t stop me from going bust because by the time I found them I was just about scraping a living but what they did do is propel me forward in business at a much faster pace than I would have done alone. They gave me shortcuts that shaved years off doing it through trial and error. It’s possible I wouldn’t have even achieved some of the things at all no matter how long I’d kept at it.
So why do I still need business mentors, coaches and advisers? Because I like to do new things and I know the difference between those that succeed in business and those that just get by or fail is the willingness to get advice and delegate to the right people. We can’t know everything and we can’t do everything. We can learn as much as we can and we can try and cover the tasks ourselves in the beginning but there comes a point where you have to admit your own limitations and get help, or get stuck within your own limitations.
I don’t care what your aims or goals are for your business, they all come down to money, even if you want to save the whales, you can save more whales when you’re making more money. So if I’m starting a new venture I want to prove it works by making money or at least generating some revenue as quickly as possible. Time and time again I’ve proved that my past experience in business and what I’ve learned from previous mentors, plus seeking advice from the right people in the industry (or related industries), gets results fastest. Reinventing the wheel, pretending I know it all and getting bad advice from people who haven’t achieved anything is the recipe for the slowest results.
Some of the key things I learned from my mentors that I put into practice and now teach others:
- How to effectively market a business to generate interest
- How to harness the interest from marketing and engage with potential clients
- How to sell to potential clients, not just pitch but close sales
- How to make sure I always get paid quickly without fail
- How to price products and services so they are profitable
- How to sell to the right clients who will pay and come back and how to ditch the bad customers who will eat your time, never pay promptly and create more problems than they solve
- How to add value to products and services that don’t cost too much in time or money so clients are happy to pay more and a larger profit margin is created without more investment
I could go on but I think you can see a theme here; these are all things that can be applied to almost any business and they revolve around generating revenue. Guess what? If you can do these things effectively then you can pay other people to do all the other stuff. Believe it or not the points mentioned above are the things that are hardest to get right. You can have THE BEST award winning products and services but if you can’t get clients, can’t sell to them, can’t get paid or get repeat business then you have a broke business that is destined to fail. on the flip side if you can find clients, build relationships and trust, sell to them and take their money, you can find someone else’s products or services to give them, you don’t need any products and services of your own to have a successful business.
My first decent mentor helped me transform my tiny business that was ticking over on a few thousand very month (as it had been for a couple of years) to making 15 grand a month in just 2 – 3 months. And this was done without any external help just me and his advice. This was just the start of my proper entrepreneurial career that went on leaps and bounds from that time onward. If this has peaked your interest and you’d like to know more about my business mentoring and coaching fill out the form below and I’ll be in touch.