Being an entrepreneur can be the most fulfilling role of them all, but it can take a lot of time and effort.
Many entrepreneurs have a tendency to do everything themselves, especially if they're new to the world of business, but if they haven't carried out certain tasks and roles before, how can they be sure that they're doing it right? A recent report on Growth Vouchers looked at how a government scheme can encourage the use of mentors. Here, Justin Cobb reviews the report, and considers how important mentors really are.
"It's always good to have an experienced and expert person to turn to for advice on business matters", said Justin Cobb, entrepreneur and public speaker. "Too many start ups try to go it alone, when help could be available. The scheme outlined in this report is very exciting, as it will allow more businesses to boost their chances of success by getting help from an outside mentor. This can prove invaluable in the long term."
The report looked at the implementation and uses of the 'growth voucher'. This is a government backed scheme that covers half of the cost involved in getting professional business advice. This can be used for advice on everything from management and leadership, sales and marketing, or finance and accounts. The maximum amount of the voucher is £2000, and this must be matched by the entrepreneurs own money. Nevertheless, this significantly reduces the cost of mentoring, and makes the benefits widely available.
Research shows that 69% of small firms take advice from family and friends, but only 57% take business advice from a professional. In spite of this, 60% of respondents said that they thought they would benefit from some form of professional advice, particularly in the field of sales and marketing.
The Growth Vouchers scheme was launched in January, but many businesses don't realise that it exists. Those that do, are reaping the benefits. The report analysed the SME, Bath Boutique Stays, who have more than doubled their turnover after taking marketing advice, thanks to the vouchers.
"Every entrepreneur can do with a little help from time to time, so I urge them to make the most of the growth voucher scheme", said Justin. "Friends and family are good at providing positive affirmation, but can they really show you where you could be doing better? Expert advice can point you in the direction of long term success."
Justin Cobb himself has acted as mentor to many start up entrepreneurs, as well as being a leading motivational and business speaker.