WildTomato November 2018

Page 40

Business Mentoring

Modern business mentoring for smart solutions Being in business can be a tough gig, yet there are lots of helping hands out there, if you know who to ask and where to look, writes Sadie Beckman.

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hether you’re a newbie or have many years of experience under your belt, the ability to be flexible, adaptable and most of all to continue learning is vital. Often, humans work better with support networks in place and being in business is no different. But as a business owner, where do you turn when you need to talk to someone with an objective opinion, solid advice and the expertise to back it up? This is where business mentoring comes in. Nationally a wide range of organisations exists to support business. Economically-speaking, they could be considered a backbone behind the businesses that keep communities thriving. Nationally, organisations like the volunteer-run Business Mentors NZ provide support and advice to enterprises of different sizes, including small and medium businesses, start-ups and the notfor-profit sector. From helping at the planning and launch phase of a business through to offering networking with others and tips on how to tweak things later down the line, many business owners consider these services invaluable. In the Top of the South, we are lucky to have quality options for business mentoring, and the services on offer are broad, far-reaching and effective. Connecting with a business mentor doesn’t mean you don’t know what you’re doing either. The support of someone with different experience who can cast fresh eyes over a business makes it possible to evaluate and crystallise your goals and direction. After all, most people who get into business do it because they have some kind of vision, and it is undoubtedly a creative process. The day-to-day grind and reality of running the show though can sometimes mean it’s possible to lose sight of the 40

bigger picture. Accountability is important too, and working alongside a mentor or business coach means you keep yourself honest with progress towards goals. A mentor also relieves the potential loneliness of being in business, particularly for self-employed people and sole traders. It can be a relief to have someone else to bounce problems and ideas off, especially if they have the know-how to help you. Business mentors can usually also provide a valuable avenue into a network of business contacts. Communication is key, and connecting up with others is one of the most effective tools a business can have for opportunities, exposure and growth. And when this growth occurs, especially if it is rapid or perhaps unexpected, you might feel like the universe has thrown you a curveball, so having a business mentor to help you catch it is certainly a savvy move.

Nelson Tasman Business Trust

Catching curveballs and being savvy are definitely in the repertoire of the Nelson Tasman Business Trust (NTBT). The trust is an incorporated society originally set up in 1993 through Nelson City Council and community grant schemes, along with commercial sponsors. Manager Sarah Holmes oversees 100 businesses a year being matched with mentors and over 300 receiving free consultations. She says the organisation provides support to anyone starting a business, or already in one, with the ultimate goal of seeing them succeed. It is an independent, nonprofit organisation, to provide free assistance and advice to both start-up and existing businesses in the Nelson and Tasman regions.


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