As we’ve discussed in previous articles, a mentor can have a big impact on your business prospects. If you’re a small business owner, especially an inexperienced one, a mentor can guide you through the many challenges you and your business will inevitably face.
However, not every small business owner is lucky enough to know a ready-made mentor who could help them and their business. According to RedZed’s own research, one of the main reasons why self-employed Australians don’t have a mentor is that they wouldn’t know where to find one.
So how do you find a mentor relevant to you? First off, you need to be clear what kind of mentor you’re looking for and what are you looking to get from them. Then you can start your search for a mentor.
Many take an informal approach and contact a prospective mentor directly. However, there is a strong possibility that they might not be able to help, especially if they’re not yet retired – they simply don’t have the time to help. In many cases, the most you can expect is a meet up over coffee.
Fortunately, there are many mentoring programs throughout Australia, many of which focus on small business owners and/or those look to start a business. These are just some of the many mentoring programs available to small business owners in Australia:
Small Business Mentoring Service (SBMS) is a long-standing not-for-profit organisation that pairs small business owners with experienced mentors. Typical SBMS mentors, who are located throughout the country, have run successful businesses or years of experience in the small business sector. A 60 to 90 minute session with a SBMS mentor costs between $80 and $100 per session.
Small Business Bus
The Victoria State Government’s Small Business Bus visits Melbourne and regional Victorian towns, providing free mentoring advice to small business owners and those wishing to start a new business. You need to book in advance for a free one-on-one mentoring session.
The Kangan Institute
Also in Victoria is The Kangan Institute’s Business Enterprise Centre (BEC), which supports local community business development. They provide consultation and offer the New Enterprise Incentive Scheme which is a program to assist establishing a new business.
There are many mentoring organisations that aim to support women in business. Launched in 2016, Mentor Walks is a women’s mentoring initiative that combines group mentoring with an open air walk. Mentor Walks brings together leading executives and emerging female professionals for an hour long walk and talk in major cities throughout Australia, including Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Perth. It costs $25 to participate and you must book in advance.
Master Builders Australia
There are also mentoring programs that specifically aim to help women working in male-dominated industries. Master Builders Australia runs the Women Building Australia National Mentoring Program, an 8-month program that matches women in the building and construction industry with access to advice and support from experienced individuals.
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