Richard Branson once stated that “a good mentor is an invaluable asset”, and I couldn’t agree more.When winning The Apprentice in 2014, I not only secured £250,000 to invest in the development of Climb Online, but I also secured Lord Sugar as a business partner and mentor – whose advice and guidance is worth 10 times more than that initial investment. From my experience I have learnt that a business mentor is key for success. Aside from their business experience, they have the patience and the knowledge to offer invaluable advice at times when you require it most. Here are my five key areas where mentoring can help: (1) Decision making Generally speaking, a business mentor will have more experience than you in the growth and development of a business – particularly if you are just starting out. This not only means they can offer an alternative perspective when it comes to making the bigger decisions, but in most they would have experienced a similar situation so will know, understand and can advise against any of the common pitfalls and mistakes. (2) Belief Having a business mentor that trusts and believes in you not only enables you to trust and believe in yourself, but also allows others to do the same. As Lord Sugar trusts in me, so do a number of the UK’s biggest brands, which I have now consequently secured as Climb Online customers. (3) Guidance Having grown from a startup to one of the UK’s leading digital marketing agencies with two offices, 20 employees, 155 clients and a forecasted turnover of £1.5m within the first year of trading, the biggest challenge I now face is the increasing pressure of an extremely busy agency. Over the past nine months, Lord Sugar has guided and supported me through this pressure, and as a result I am now more focused and driven than ever before. (4) Sharing A good mentor is willing to teach what he/she knows and accept the mentee where they currently are in their professional development. Good mentors can remember what it was like just starting out in the field. The mentor does not take the mentoring relationship lightly and understands that good mentoring requires time and commitment and is willing to continually share information and their ongoing support with the mentee. (5) Enthusiasm A mentor who does not exhibit enthusiasm about his/her job will ultimately not make a good mentor. Enthusiasm is catching and new employees want to feel as if their job has meaning and the potential to create a good life. Mark Wright was the winner of The Apprentice 2014, is the managing director of Climb Online and a partner of The Business Funding Show.
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