Article | Fabulous Women

Pro's and con's of mentorship

Posted on 17/08/2012

It seems to us small business owners are often at a massive disadvantage.
Why?     To start, they have no money to waste on low-impact, low-return spends. Yep. Let's be honest, small business owners are investing in their business hearts, soul and pocket. But these business are the ones most in need of advice and the least able to access it.

Most successful business owners are those who are able to access the advice, skills, perceptions and insights. But small businesses often operate without peers and colleagues.

They fall into the worst trap off all: "Small Business Tunnel Vision". This is a very nasty affliction. It prevents the BO (Business Owner) from operating their business at a strategic level. This can be a disaster. When problems arise they are solved in the "in the business" mind set, often as a knee-jerk reaction to a bad outcome of some sort.

One way of demonstrating this:

Imagine you are late for a very important, life changing meeting and your car breaks down.

OMG! Disaster: you are late, stressed and have no car. Conveniently, across the road from where you have broken down is a car trader. You rush in and buy any car which can be driven off straight away. At that point you do not care about anything else - only getting to your meeting.

Which you do, just in time.

However, after the meeting you jump into your new car and realise it has nothing which is important to you. No air-con. No MOT. No warrantee. It's the wrong colour. Worst of all it has no boot and no backseat, which is a problem because you have two dogs and three kids.

Ooops! The problem has been solved (you got to the meeting) but it has created an even worse long term problem (you still don't have a suitable car).

Understand the problem of Small Business Tunnel Vision?

This is how mentorship helps. It keeps you solving problems and operating, at least some of the time, at the strategic level.

Here are three of the most popular options:

1. One-to-one mentorship is the most impactful, but it's expensive. Good mentors charge about 150-500 per hour and you are going to need at least 2 hours per month to make it worthwhile. This is more than reasonable given how much they bring to the table and I would always recommend this approach if you can afford it.

2. You can join a group mentorship programme. There are many to choose from ranging from the least expensive (aprox 90 p/m) to the most expensive (800-1000) per month. Undoubtedly, these are effective. But they do range from the one-size-fits all approach delivered to masses where there is little opportunity to ask for insights into your specific problems; to the effective but eye-wateringly expensive.

3. Relying on your contacts list and friends. While this is free it has significant limitations. One, you may not want to tell others about your problems. Perhaps you feel you will look unprofessional. Maybe your contact is well intended but gives you really bad advice. At least it is free through.

It is this environment which inspired the Fabulous Women Mentorship Programme which was piloted at the beginning of this year.

It solves a number of problems:

1. Customised Training: Once a month your facilitator delivers to your group of (max) 10 a training module which is tailored to the needs of a very small group. No set programme, the group decides month-by-month what they need more of, and the facilitator delivers it. Outcome: You get to know about stuff you would never even have thought you needed.

2. Accountability: At the start your facilitator works with you to decide your strategy and how you are going to deliver it. Then every week you post your to-do list to a private forum only you and the people in your group have access to. In addition you post what you have done, or not done. Expect your facilitator and group to check up on you and give you feedback weekly. Outcome: You move faster than you ever imagined possible because you know people are watching you. Even better, it is all done in a non-aggressive and supportive manner you have full control over so no need to feel frightened.

3. Monthly Live Mentoring: Every month the group meets for 3 hours on a Wednesday. This is to catch up, receive training, ask questions, get insights, swop skills, get motivated, get inspired and is the anchor for keeping you moving forward fast.

4. Instant Support: Within the private group forum you can ask your facilitator and other group members anything, at any time. The great thing here is these people know you, your strategy, your product/service and are the best people to give you their experience, insights and perceptions. Outcome: Make better decisions, better choices and have a supportive group around you who want you to succeed.

As a not-for-profit Fabulous Women are able to deliver this programme for 360 for 6 MONTHS if paid in advance. That is just 60 per month.

What have you got to lose?

More about:

The programme starts the 12th September and runs for 6 months.

Monthly meetings on the 2nd Wednesday of every month from 9:30 - 12:30 in Hersham, Surrey.

Payment plans are available.

Full info and booking at:

Only 10 places available. 

Back Author : Charlie Thomas

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