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Mentoring gives a boost to young businesses
3:09pm Thursday 1st November 2012 in Business news
Local Business Accelerators (LBA) rewards promising young companies with a powerful boost of free local newspaper advertising and mentoring.
Advertising in the local press is a proven force to drive growth for small and medium-sized businesses – 60 per cent of small business owners agree that advertising in their local newspaper is the best way to attract customers in their area – and the same can be said for mentoring.
And ninety percent of businesses that secured help from a mentor reported seeing the benefit, with three quarters citing an improvement in their ability to develop business plans and strategy.
Mentoring is a key part of the Government and private sector’s Business In You campaign which is supporting LBA for the first time. Business in You highlights the range of support and advice available to businesses to help them start up, improve and grow.
And a key partner of the Business In You campaign is mentorsme.co.uk — Britain’s first online mentoring gateway, owned and operated by the British Banker’s Association – which provides a single point of access for businesses seeking mentoring and those seeking to become mentors.
The gateway currently provides access to over 110 organisations and, through them, to around 22,000 mentors – a number that continues to grow.
There’s no question that most business owners understand the value of mentoring and the boost it can provide to their business but, for some, there are barriers to seeking it.
Commonly cited obstacles include difficulty in finding the right assistance, not seeing the need for it and, for a minority, doubting its value.
But the potential benefits are considerable. According to a recent survey of business owners, 60 per cent of those who use external advice improved their business performance as a result.
And a separate survey found that of those business owners who said they were expecting to grow in the next two to three years, 80 per cent had used external advice compared to 67 per cent who hadn’t.
Penny Power, a business mentor, experienced entrepreneur, and one of BIS’s mentoring ambassadors said: “As a mentor, my goal is to provide the support an entrepreneur needs to stay confident and focused on their goals.
“Having an outlet where you can share ideas or concerns and get guidance on the next steps can be invaluable to someone who is starting a business.”
Not seeking advice can be a matter of regret for some business owners, with one in five businesses who had not sought advice later saying they wished they had done so.
Mentoring has the potential to deliver significant economic benefits by building capacity and confidence in small and medium-sized businesses to seek external support in a low-cost way.
By seeking mentoring support now, business owners are not only gaining invaluable support for their businesses but contributing to wider growth of the British economy.
For the mentors, it’s an opportunity to give something back to the enterprise community and gain a broader understanding of the issues facing small businesses.
It is for this reason that these two components of business support – mentoring and local press advertising – comprise the key prizes for the Local Business Accelerators campaign.
The campaign has already seen hundreds of businesses across different sectors feel the effects of this acceleration and many more stand to benefit in the coming year.
Win free advertising in The Press
To be in with a chance of winning a free advertising campaign in The Press and mentoring, enter at accelerateme.co.uk before November 16.
Three growing businesses, aged between one and five years, will win the package of advertising and mentoring from Paul Gibson, chief executive of PureNet, Stephen Kennedy, former chief operating officer of CPP and board member of the Leeds City Region local enterprise partnership and Katie Stewart, head of economic development at City of York Council.
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