Do you know who to turn to?

Running a business is hard. There are great days and there are terrible days. Lots of people expect things from you – staff, customers, family – and this can be very stressful. It can be isolating, and it’s not very British to ask for help.

I trained as a mentor four years ago after being coached myself. I could see the importance of getting another perspective on the business. Sometimes it’s hard to know who to turn to. In my case I couldn’t see the wood for the trees as I was too involved in running the business. My coach questioned the assumptions I’d made about myself and the business and really got me exploring other avenues. The whole process made me realise where my strengths were – business planning and marketing – and now I focus on that side of Papadeli.

Consulting with a mentor takes things back to basics – why you’re doing what you do, where you want to take your business and how to get there. I know I can help my clients feel more positive about their business, and be more creative. I am very focused and quite strict with my clients, and I ensure they follow up with practical actions so they can see a difference and a return on their investment in my time.

Online networks are a safe way to just ask questions and see what sort of answers come back. When someone sets up in business and funds are tight they’re suddenly expected to be an expert at everything, from finance to design. By asking others about their experience, businesses can save time and money by avoiding the costly mistakes made by others, and find out about ideas to try for fast results.

I think every business owner can benefit from a mentor, whatever their life stage, size and industry. There are always new or untried ways to do things, and by just tweaking one aspect of your business so much can be improved.

Catrin MacDonnell, who contributed this blog, is the Director of Papadeli. You can read more about mentoring and how to find one at Mentorsme