In the fast-paced business world, it’s not uncommon for owners and leaders to find themselves caught up in a never-ending firefighting cycle. Constantly tackling immediate problems and putting out fires are necessary to keep the business afloat. However, this reactive approach can lead to many risks and challenges without a well-defined strategic plan.
Today I want to highlight the dangers of relying solely on firefighting and emphasis the critical role of an independent mentor in challenging current business thinking to prevent burnout and ensure long-term success.
Firefighting, by its very nature, is a reactive approach to problem-solving. While it may seem necessary in the short term, it often diverts attention from crucial long-term objectives.
In firefighting, the primary goal is to extinguish fires and prevent further damage. Similarly, in business ownership, constantly tackling immediate problems is akin to putting out fires. It involves addressing urgent issues to minimize their negative impact on the business.
Just as firefighters take preventive measures to minimise the risk of fires, business owners need to implement strategies and processes to prevent problems from arising in the first place. This can involve proactive planning, risk assessment, and implementing safeguards to avoid potential crises.
Firefighting is a reactive approach, responding to emergencies as they occur. Similarly, constantly firefighting in business means being reactive to problems as they arise without a proactive plan. Effective business ownership requires a proactive approach, focusing on prevention, long-term planning, and strategic decision-making.
Firefighters work to contain fires, preventing them from spreading and causing further damage. In business, containment can be compared to managing crises or challenges effectively, limiting their impact on operations, reputation, and overall business stability.
Firefighters rely on specialised equipment and tools to combat fires, such as hoses, fire extinguishers, and protective gear. Similarly, business owners need the right tools, resources, and expertise to navigate challenges and make informed decisions. This can include financial management tools, technology solutions, and access to expert advice.
Firefighting often requires collaboration and coordinated efforts among firefighters to tackle complex situations. Successful ownership often involves building a strong team, fostering collaboration, and leveraging collective expertise to overcome challenges and achieve shared goals.
Firefighters undergo rigorous training and preparation to be ready for emergencies. Likewise, business owners need to be prepared for potential challenges with a well-thought-out business plan, risk management strategies, and contingency plans.
After a fire, the focus shifts to recovery and restoration. Similarly, when challenges arise in business ownership, the emphasis should be on recovering from setbacks, restoring operations, and learning from the experience to prevent similar issues in the future.
Here are some of the risks associated with business firefighting:
With a strategic plan, business owners and leaders may gain sight of their long-term goals. They become consumed by immediate issues, losing the focus and clarity needed to drive the business forward.
Firefighting consumes valuable time and resources that could have been allocated to exploring new opportunities, expanding into new markets, or developing innovative products or services.
Constantly tackling urgent matters can lead to haphazard resource allocation. This reactive approach wastes time, money, and effort, as resources must be strategically deployed.
The relentless nature of firefighting takes a toll on business owners and leaders, leading to burnout, increased stress levels, and diminished overall well-being. This can have a detrimental effect on decision-making and overall business performance.
A firefighting mentality can make it difficult for organisations to adapt to changing market dynamics and emerging trends. By focusing solely on immediate problems, businesses may miss out on opportunities to innovate and stay ahead of the competition.
So what’s the answer?
It starts with a strategic plan acting as a business roadmap, providing a clear vision, goals, and a structured approach to achieving long-term success.
A strategic plan helps businesses define their purpose, vision, and mission. It sets specific objectives and outlines the steps required to achieve them. This clarity of direction ensures that efforts are aligned and focused on long-term goals.
It encourages a proactive mindset, enabling businesses to anticipate potential challenges and take preventive measures. By addressing issues before they escalate, organisations can avoid unnecessary firefighting.
Once the strategic plan is in place, businesses can allocate resources more effectively. This includes financial resources, human capital, and time. By prioritising initiatives aligned with the strategic objectives, resources are optimised for maximum impact.
Furthermore, it enables businesses to stay agile and adaptable in a rapidly changing business landscape. It systematically evaluates market trends, competitive forces, and customer needs, facilitating timely adjustments and positioning for future success.
While having a strategic plan is crucial, more is needed. Therefore, coupled with having an independent mentor who can challenge current business thinking is equally important. Here’s how an independent mentor can help prevent burnout and enhance business performance:
I bring an outsider’s viewpoint to objectively feedback on the business’s direction and decision-making processes. I challenge assumptions and encourage critical thinking, ensuring business owners avoid tunnel vision and embrace new perspectives.
I have experience and expertise that can guide business owners in developing and refining their strategic plans. And help identify blind spots, set realistic goals, and ensure alignment between the plan and the overall business vision.
Furthermore, I hold business owners accountable for their actions and progress towards strategic goals. And provide ongoing support, motivation, and guidance, ensuring the strategic plan is implemented effectively.
Overall, A mentor acts as a source of knowledge and experience, providing valuable insights and sharing lessons learned from their own entrepreneurial journey and that of the many others they have supported to their success. They encourage continuous learning, enabling business owners to develop their skills and expand their business acumen.
As the pressure of business, environment, climate, and competition continues to grow, constantly firefighting without a strategic plan will lead to numerous risks, including lack of direction, missed opportunities, inefficient resource allocation, burnout, and limited adaptability. To mitigate these risks and ensure long-term success, it is essential for business owners to develop a strategic plan that provides clarity, focus, and a proactive approach. Furthermore, having an independent mentor who challenges current thinking and provides guidance and support is critical.
As a Global Award-Winning Coaching Company, My TrueNORTH brings fresh perspectives, holds business owners accountable, and helps foster a proactive and strategic mindset.
By embracing strategic planning and seeking the guidance of an independent mentor, business owners can navigate the challenges of entrepreneurship with greater clarity, and resilience and ultimately achieve sustainable success.
Seven years ago, I invited 34 people to join me for lunch at an Italian restaurant in Manchester to announce the launch of My TrueNORTH.
Three hours later, after great food, great conversation and an outline of what I was offering, 29 agreed to become clients, and My TrueNORTH was open for business!
Seven years later, I’ve just returned from hosting a VIP Luncheon to celebrate My TrueNORTH’s 7th Business Birthday.
So, I thought I’d share some reflections and acknowledgements over the past seven years:
Seven years ago, my mission was to help Business Owners discover their true potential and achieve their dreams.
And whilst we still aim to assist Business leaders to achieve this. It has evolved to become:
Our mission is to eradicate unemployment in the UK by supporting 1,000,000 Conscientious professional service-based business leaders to scale up their businesses significantly and sustainably and generate more new roles than those actively seeking employment.
I feel blessed to have and continue to do just that for so many business leaders.
Seven Years – Seven Lessons
The Impact of Mindset
Mindset plays a critical role in achieving success, and I have learnt only too well that helping clients develop a growth mindset is essential in unlocking both their and their business’s full potential. By assisting clients in shifting their minds from fixed to growth, I can help them overcome limiting beliefs and embrace challenges as opportunities for growth.
The Power of Active Listening One of my most significant learnings at My TrueNORTH is the power of active listening. Listening is a critical component of effective communication. I remain a student, continually learning that truly active listening to clients is essential in providing them with the necessary support. By listening actively, we gain a deeper understanding of our client’s needs, which helps tailor our services to their circumstances.
The Importance of Clarity Just like active listening, clarity is crucial when it comes to setting goals and achieving them. I have learnt that helping clients clarify their real goals and objectives is critical in helping them succeed. By defining clear and specific goals, clients are better equipped to create actionable plans and stay motivated throughout the journey.
The Value of Accountability Accountability is essential in achieving success, and I have remained committed to holding clients accountable to ensure they stay on track. Setting clear expectations and holding clients accountable for their actions helps them stay motivated and focused on achieving their goals.
The Benefits of Positive Reinforcement Positive reinforcement is a powerful motivator, and over the last seven years, I’ve learnt that celebrating clients’ successes and milestones is essential in keeping them motivated. By recognising and celebrating clients’ achievements, builds confidence and maintains momentum on their journey towards success.
The Power of Self-Awareness Self-awareness is crucial in personal and professional growth. I remain a student of learning here but remain committed to helping clients develop their own self-awareness. By understanding strengths, weaknesses, and areas for improvement, clients are better equipped to make informed decisions and take meaningful action.
The Importance of Continuous Learning
Finally (And much to the delight of many of my schoolteachers!) I finally acknowledge that continuous learning is essential in staying relevant and providing the best possible service. Not seeing courses, masterclasses/workshops, seminars, or my own coaching as a cost but as an investment. Staying current with the latest research and trends in coaching and business development, I am better equipped to help clients tackle the many hurdles and challenges they face to stay ahead of the curve and achieve their goals.
Seven Years – Seven Highlights
I feel blessed to have the opportunity to impact the lives of the people we work with positively. I am committed to providing bespoke training and personalised mentoring that help our clients overcome their challenges, improve their performance (both personal and professional), and transform their outcomes. Whether it’s leadership or business development, I strive to empower clients to make bigger, better, bolder decisions that create business for good outcomes aligned with their vision, values and goals. Seeing the transformation clients achieve is the most rewarding part of my work.
There is no failure, only feedback. And whilst I remain open to all feedback, I remain most grateful for the regular positive feedback I receive from clients, suppliers, partners, and the community. I continually strive to provide the highest level of service and am pleased to know that our clients recognise the value of our services. Hearing positive feedback motivates me to continue to improve and provide the best possible service to all.
Likewise, every day at My TrueNORTH is a learning opportunity. I am committed to continual learning and development, as I encourage clients to do the same. I also learn from our clients, partners, and community and use these learnings to improve the services. I fully subscribe to the belief that learning is a lifelong journey and remain committed to continually implementing incremental improvements.
Client Success Stories
I feel honoured to have played a part in my clients’ success stories. Whether it’s a successful launch, hitting a milestone, or successfully exiting to either retire or ‘do it all again’. There is nothing greater than celebrating every success with a client. I am incredibly proud to have helped clients overcome challenges, reveal hidden opportunities, and accelerate the speed and level of their success. Your success is testament to the effectiveness of our coaching and mentoring services.
At My TrueNORTH, I have always believed in giving back. Be that through knowledge sharing, time, or finance. We are proud to be members of the B1G1 Global Giving Community and have aligned all our business with giving to others, creating Win \ Win \ Win outcomes.
I remain involved and committed to initiatives supporting worldwide education, mental health, and other global social causes. I firmly believe that true success is not measured by what you have – but by what you give. And that by supporting our community, we can positively impact the world. Through our big and bold mission, I remain committed to continuing our B1G1 giving, pro-bono mental health support work, which continues to make a lasting difference in the lives of others. (use reference BM14841 if you chose to join, and 50 days of education shall be donated on your behalf)
Over the past seven years, My TrueNORTH has continued to grow in revenue, services and impact. Through the early adoption of digital delivery, we have impacted more businesses more succinctly and enabled more Business Leaders to access our #ADDAZERO Methodology. Leading to more enquiries, conversions, clients, and revenue. More staff, more premises, and sometimes even more businesses!
We have also continually reviewed and adapted the delivery of services to align with our client’s current needs, including management/leadership training, executive mentoring, and both online and in-person Mastermind. Our reach has also expanded as digital delivery has served clients from all over the world. This growth has allowed us to impact even more lives and help more business leaders discover how to #ADDAZERO.
Awards and Recognition
But beyond all, I remain incredibly grateful and most humbled to witness no less than 10 of our clients reaching National Entrepreneur of the Year Award Finalists (4 winners within their category). And countless others winning regional and industry-specific awards for growth, turnaround, employer of the year etc. In return, for My TrueNORTH to have received such prestigious awards and recognitions for my work in coaching/mentoring.
2 x Global ‘Big Impact to Business’ Awards
UK ‘Clear Business Thinking’ Power 100
Global Ethical Coaching Company of the Year
and Fellow of the Association for Professional Coaching.
My TrueNORTH has been recognised for our holistic scaleup methodology, the impact this has on our client’s businesses, and our contribution to the community. I remain forever grateful for the recognition we have received. And will continually strive to do more, be more, and achieve more in everything I do.
Like every small business, the first seven years of My TrueNORTH have been filled with highs and lows, surprises and regularity, challenge and reward – Brexit, A European War, and the Cost-of-Living crisis are but a few examples.
But through it all, I have embraced it as invaluable lessons that have helped me grow and serve clients better. I have celebrated working with clients from all walks of life, all types and sizes of businesses, and all sorts of hurdles and challenges. It has spurred me to continually create/improve innovative programs and services, culminating in our holistic scaleup methodology – #ADDAZERO.
Perhaps most importantly, I remain a student. I am learning the power of active listening, clarity, accountability, positive reinforcement, self-awareness, a growth mindset, and continuous learning. These lessons have become the pillars of my business, guiding me as I endeavour to provide clients with the best possible support and guidance.
Looking to the future, I am incredibly excited to continue growing, serving, and evolving as a company. I commit to listening to clients’ needs, refining our services, and staying updated with the latest research and trends. The mission is now set in stone, and everything I do is fully aligned with this outcome, to which I have never been more determined or focussed.
One comment I received yesterday said,
“Thank you, Jay. Your zest for life and all it has to offer is infectious”.
I remain forever grateful for the trust and faith placed within me by clients and partners and look forward to many more years of making a positive and lasting impact in the world. So again, thank you for being a part of our journey. I can’t wait to share with you the ongoing successes still to unfold in the next Seven years as the UK’s leading Ethical Coaching Company – My TrueNORTH, home of the #ADDAZERO Business Challenge.
Tom and Jerry is a classic cartoon series loved by many, but what if we look at it from a different perspective?
What if we see Tom as the ‘fat cat’ within us all, chasing Jerry (money) relentlessly?
In the cartoon, we see Tom trying everything in his power to catch Jerry, but no matter how desperate he becomes, Jerry always finds a way to avoid capture. Similarly, in real life, we often chase after money, believing it will solve all our problems and make us happy. But just like Jerry, money always seems to elude us.
The moral of the story is not to fixate on chasing money. Of course, we all need money to survive, but when we make it the sole focus of our lives, we risk losing sight of what matters. Instead of constantly chasing after money, we should focus on building meaningful relationships, pursuing our passions, and finding joy in the simple things in life.
Tom’s endless pursuit of Jerry reflects our own never-ending pursuit of wealth and material possessions. We convince ourselves that if we just had more money, we would be happier, but in reality, the pursuit of money can be a never-ending cycle of disappointment and frustration.
It’s important to remember that money is not the end-all-be-all. It can provide comfort and security, but it cannot buy us happiness or fulfilment. As the saying goes, “Money can’t buy happiness.” True happiness comes from within and is cultivated by our relationships, experiences, and the sense of purpose we find in our lives.
We should also avoid comparing ourselves to others and their material possessions. Like Tom, we may envy others who appear to have more money or better things than us. But this envy only leads to a negative mindset and a never-ending cycle of comparison and dissatisfaction.
Instead of focusing on what we lack, we should focus on what we have and be grateful for it. Gratitude is a powerful tool that can shift our mindset from one of scarcity to one of abundance. When we appreciate what we have, we realise that we have enough and feel content.
Furthermore, we should aim to find fulfilment in our work and passions rather than solely in the money we earn. When we enjoy what we do and find meaning, we feel a sense of purpose and satisfaction that money cannot provide.
When we focus on making a positive impact in the world, money comes to us naturally rather than us chasing after it.
In today’s world, consumers are increasingly conscious of businesses’ impact on society and the environment. As a result, there is a growing demand for businesses prioritising social and environmental responsibility. By becoming a business for good, companies can attract these socially conscious consumers and create a positive reputation for themselves.
In addition, businesses that prioritise social and environmental responsibility may also be able to attract and retain top talent. Many employees today want to work for companies that align with their values and make a positive impact in the world. By prioritising social responsibility, companies can create a workplace culture that attracts and retains these employees.
Furthermore, businesses can differentiate themselves from their competitors by focusing on making a positive impact. Businesses that stand out for their social responsibility in a crowded marketplace may have a competitive advantage.
Therefore the story of Tom and Jerry teaches us a valuable lesson about the dangers of fixating on money. Instead of endlessly chasing after wealth, we should focus on building meaningful relationships, pursuing our passions, and finding joy in the simple things in life. By doing so, we can find true happiness and fulfilment.
Becoming a business for good can be good for business. By prioritising social and environmental responsibility, companies can attract socially conscious consumers, create a positive workplace culture, and differentiate themselves from competitors. Ultimately, by focusing on making a positive impact, businesses may find that money comes to them naturally rather than them having to chase after it.
What is a Business for Good?
A business for good is a company that prioritises social and environmental responsibility and makes a profit. The primary goal of a business for good is to create a positive impact in the world while also generating revenue and sustaining the business.
Unlike traditional businesses that prioritise profit above all else, a business for good aims to make a positive difference in society and the environment. This can include reducing carbon emissions, promoting fair labour practices, or donating a portion of profits to social causes.
Businesses for good can take many forms, from small startups to large corporations. Some businesses for good may have a specific social or environmental mission, while others may integrate social and environmental responsibility into all aspects of their operations.
One way businesses for good can measure their impact is through social and environmental performance metrics, such as the B Impact Assessment. These assessments measure a company’s impact in governance, workers, community, environment, and customers.
There are many reasons why we should consider becoming a business for good. Here are a few:
Making a positive impact: By becoming a business for good, we can create positive change in society and the environment. We can use our business as a force for good and contribute to the betterment of the world.
Attracting socially conscious consumers: Consumers today are increasingly conscious of businesses’ impact on society and the environment. By prioritising social and environmental responsibility, we can attract these socially conscious consumers and create a positive reputation for our business.
Creating a positive workplace culture: By prioritising social responsibility, we can create a workplace culture that attracts and retains top talent. Many employees today want to work for companies that align with their values and positively impact the world.
Differentiating ourselves from competitors: Businesses that stand out for their social responsibility in a crowded marketplace may have a competitive advantage. By prioritising social and environmental responsibility, we can differentiate ourselves from our competitors and appeal to consumers who care about these issues.
Future-proofing our business: As the world becomes more socially and environmentally conscious, businesses prioritising these issues will likely be more successful in the long run. By becoming a business for good, we can future-proof our business and ensure its sustainability.
Balancing a business for good with sustainable profitability can be challenging
But it is essential for the business’s long-term success. Here are a few ways to achieve this balance:
Prioritise social and environmental responsibility without compromising profitability: It is important to remember that a business for good still needs to make a profit to sustain itself. Therefore, it is crucial to prioritise social and environmental responsibility while also making sure that the business is financially sustainable. This may involve reducing costs, increasing efficiency, or developing new revenue streams.
Measure impact and profitability: To ensure that the business achieves social and financial goals, it is important to measure impact and profitability. This can be done through social and environmental performance metrics, such as the B Impact Assessment, and financial metrics, such as revenue, profit margins, and return on investment.
Innovate to create new revenue streams: To balance social responsibility and profitability, it may be necessary to innovate and create new revenue streams. This could involve developing new products or services that align with the company’s social mission or exploring new and underserved markets.
Engage stakeholders: Engaging stakeholders, including employees, customers, suppliers, and investors, can help to ensure that the business is achieving both social and financial goals. This can involve communicating the company’s social mission and impact, soliciting stakeholder feedback, and involving them in decision-making processes.
Continuously improve and adapt: Balancing social responsibility and profitability is an ongoing process that requires continuous improvement and adaptation. It is important to regularly assess the company’s impact and profitability, identify areas for improvement, and adapt strategies as needed.
Overall, becoming a business for good can benefit society, the environment, and our business itself. By prioritising social and environmental responsibility, we can create a positive impact, attract socially conscious consumers and top talent, differentiate ourselves from competitors, and future-proof our business.
As we go about our daily lives, it’s easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of our routines.
We wake up, go to work, come home, and go to bed, often without taking the time to reflect on the impact we’ve had on the world around us. However, I believe that it’s important to finish each day feeling like you’ve made a real difference, no matter how small that difference may be.
When we feel like we’ve made a difference, we feel more fulfilled and purposeful in our lives. We feel like we’re contributing to something greater than ourselves and that our actions have meaning and significance. This sense of purpose can have a profound impact on our mental health and well-being, helping us to feel more positive, motivated, and engaged in our daily lives.
So, how can we ensure that we finish each day feeling like we’ve made a real difference?
Here are a few tips:
Set clear goals
Whether it’s at work, in your personal life, or in your community, it’s important to set clear goals for yourself. This will give you something to strive for and a sense of direction in your daily life.
Once you’ve set your goals, it’s important to take action towards achieving them. This might involve taking small steps each day or tackling bigger projects that will make a significant impact.
Reflect on your accomplishments
At the end of each day, take some time to reflect on what you’ve accomplished. Even if it’s just a small step towards your goals, take a moment to acknowledge the progress you’ve made.
Take time to express gratitude for the people and opportunities that have helped you make a difference. This will help you to appreciate the impact you’ve had on others and feel more connected to your community.
I certainly consider myself exceptionally fortunate in my role as a Business ScaleUp Mentor, and founder of the #ADDAZERO Business Challenge. Every day, I get the opportunity to work with Business Owners, supporting them to overcome challenges, hurdles and difficulties that prevent them from the significant and sustainable growth of both them and their businesses.
One such recent example of which is Sean:
Sean is a driven and ambitious individual who started his own business during the global lockdown in response to COVID 19. When we first met networking, despite having read every book out there, attended many courses, and applied much of the multiple sources of advice that were available to him. Sean was struggling to grow his business and feeling frustrated and overwhelmed by the challenges he was facing. However, Sean remained optimistic and open to both being challenged and trying new things, through his determination to help others whilst achieving success.
Initially, Sean bought a copy of #ADDAZERO – Establishing BaseCamp. From which he began to see our approach is significantly different to much of the other guidance and advice he had been given. Practical, step-by-step support and the resources he needed to overcome his challenges and reach his goals. Within days of reading, he had already won a new client as a direct result of applying the teachings within, and had been able to identify why the previous methods he had been taught hadn’t worked.
From here, he booked a single coaching session, and together, we developed a comprehensive plan for scaling his business, including strategies for marketing, sales, operations and finance. I was able to offer insights based on my own experiences as a business owner and Mentor, and Sean was able to apply these insights to his own business.
Over the course of a few weeks, Sean went ahead and purchased #ADDAZERO – Scale to Summit. Which I’ve observed as Sean’s business continues to grow and evolve. He implemented new marketing strategies, and new pricing plans, and expanded his reach to new markets. He also gained a newfound sense of confidence and clarity, knowing that he had the skills and resources he needed to succeed.
One of the things I love most about my job as a business scaleup mentor is the opportunity to work with entrepreneurs like Sean. These individuals are passionate, driven, and committed to achieving their goals. They are willing to take risks and put in the hard work required to succeed, and it’s incredibly rewarding to be a part of their journey. As a mentor, I am able to provide these entrepreneurs with the support and guidance they need to navigate the challenges of scaling a business. I am able to offer insights, expertise, and resources that can help them avoid common pitfalls and achieve success more quickly.
At the end of the day, there is nothing more satisfying than watching an entrepreneur like Sean achieve their goals and take their business to new heights. It’s a privilege to be a part of their journey, and I am grateful for the opportunity to support them in any way I can.
As a business owner, you always look for ways to scale and grow your business.
However, one thing that could be holding you back is that you don’t know what you don’t know.
This famous quote from Donald Rumsfeld highlights a crucial concept that applies to businesses of all sizes – the idea that there are blind spots and gaps in our knowledge that we may not even be aware of.
The Importance of Knowing What You Don’t Know
As the business leader, you are an expert in your field, with years of experience and knowledge. However, even the most experienced and knowledgeable business owners have blind spots and areas lacking expertise. These blind spots prevent you from seeing opportunities or potential challenges that could and will impact both you and your business.
Not knowing what you don’t know can be especially damaging when scaling your business. Scaling is significantly different to growth and takes a different set of skills and experience. It not only requires a deep understanding of your business, your customers, and your industry. But also requires identifying and pursuing growth opportunities while mitigating potential risks, whilst considering the size of the company and the ongoing strategic considerations at each stage of growth. You need to fully understand these factors to avoid missing out on opportunities or making costly mistakes that will prevent your business from reaching its full potential.
The Benefits of Mentorship
Working with a mentor is one way to overcome the limitations of not knowing what you don’t know. A mentor has experience across many industries and can offer guidance and advice based on both their own experiences, and that of the many other clients they have supported. They help you identify blind spots and gaps in your knowledge and provide insights and strategies for overcoming them.
Here are but a few of the ways a mentor can help you scale your business:
Mentors can provide an objective viewpoint and offer fresh perspectives on your business, which can help you identify new opportunities and potential areas for improvement.
Mentors can share their industry knowledge and experience, providing insights into trends and best practices you may not know.
Mentors can offer guidance and support as you navigate the challenges of scaling your business. They can advise everything from marketing and sales to hiring and finance.
Mentors often have their own network of contacts and can introduce you to potential partners, clients, or investors.
This is why I’m often surprised to see how few leaders actively seek out the independent assistance of someone capable of supporting them to avoid (or embrace) challenges with more competence and confidence.
What are the risks of not accessing the support of a Mentor
One of the biggest risks of not accessing a mentor’s services is the possibility of missing out on opportunities. Mentors have a wealth of experience and knowledge that can help identify areas of growth and expansion that a business owner may have yet to consider.
A business owner may make costly mistakes without a mentor’s guidance and expertise. These mistakes can range from financial mismanagement to poor decision-making, which can significantly impact a business’s long-term success.
A business owner may lack direction and focus without a mentor. A mentor can help create a strategic plan and provide guidance on achieving specific business goals, which can help keep a business on track and moving forward.
Without a mentor, a business may stagnate and fail to grow. A mentor can provide fresh ideas and insights to help a business stay relevant and competitive in a constantly changing business landscape.
A mentor will help business owners expand their network and introduce them to potential clients, partners, and investors. A business owner may miss opportunities to build valuable relationships and partnerships without a mentor.
And in the longer term, not accessing a mentor’s services will significantly impact a business’s growth and success. The business may need a mentor’s guidance and support to overcome challenges and seize opportunities. This can lead to a lack of innovation and stagnation, ultimately making the business irrelevant or failing altogether.
Furthermore, with a mentor, a business owner may be able to develop the skills and knowledge needed to lead and manage a successful business. A mentor can help a business owner build expertise in areas such as finance, marketing, and sales, which can significantly impact a business’s long-term success.
However, one of the biggest observations I’ve made in the past 10+ years of Business Mentoring is, not being accountable to anyone can also have a significant impact on a business owner’s ability to succeed. While being the boss can empower and give a sense of autonomy, it can also lead to blind spots and biases hindering a business’s growth.
With a mentor or advisor, a business owner may receive feedback and input from those who report directly to them or share similar views, limiting their perspective and ability to make informed decisions. This can result in missed opportunities, poor decision-making, and an inability to adapt to changing market conditions.
Additionally, being the boss leads to a lack of accountability, as there is no one to hold the business owner responsible for their actions and decisions. This can lead to complacency and a lack of urgency to address issues or take risks, ultimately harming a business’s long-term success.
Mentorship provides a sense of accountability, challenging business owners to think critically about their decisions and actions. They can offer objective feedback, highlight areas for improvement, and provide guidance on overcoming challenges. This can help a business owner avoid blind spots and biases, make more informed decisions, and achieve greater success.
How to Find a Mentor
Finding a mentor may seem daunting, but there are several ways to do it. Here are some tips for finding a mentor:
Contact colleagues, industry peers, or even former professors or mentors. They may introduce you to someone in your industry who could serve as a mentor. Almost 2/3 of my mentoring clients come from personal recommendations.
Attend conferences, trade shows, and other industry events. These events allow you to network with other professionals in your field and potentially identify a mentor. Pre-pandemic and lockdown, around 1/3 of new enquiries came from me speaking at conferences, trade shows and events, sharing our Get BIG or Go Home – #ADDAZERO methodology.
Many organisations offer coaching/mentorship programs that pair mentees with experienced professionals. And whilst My TrueNORTH is exceptionally proud of the achievements our clients gain by working with us, I very much acknowledge that our approach isn’t for all. I gladly recommend other coaching/mentoring programmes to those who determine our methodology or style of support is not for them.
After all, we firmly believe in Win | Win | Win outcomes!
Therefore, Donald Rumsfeld’s quote, “you don’t know, what you don’t know,” is a powerful reminder of the limitations of our knowledge and the importance of seeking out guidance and support. As a business owner, not knowing what you don’t know can prevent you from scaling and growing your business. Whilst working with a Scaleup mentor will help overcome limitations and unlock new potential.
If you’d like to learn more about the #ADDAZERO Methodology and our approach to scaleup (That has led to no less than 10 finalists in the Entrepreneur of the Year Awards) You can start by accessing the #ADDAZEROScaleup Scorecard, and receiving a free, bespoke, in-depth report on the current opportunities and vulnerabilities within your business!
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