by Alli Price
For those of you who don’t know, March has been Mummy Mentoring Month at Motivating Mum, both in the UK and Australia. Throughout March, some very successful mums in business have been offering mentoring sessions for charity, and many of them are continuing to be business mentors for Motivating Mum even though the mentoring festival has finished.
You would think the sessions would be flying off the shelves – imagine only £20 to get 30 mins of support and advice from someone who has not only been there done that, but done it well – but they haven’t been. In fact, I would categorise the sales as slow at best.
Following everyone’s initial enthusiastic response at the launch of the festival I was puzzled as to why the sessions weren’t selling like hotcakes until I got a query ‘Which mum is offering a mentoring session that works in the same field as me?’ This was the problem! Mums were looking for a mentor that ran a business in the same Industry. Some were even looking for a mentor that was on the same trajectory. And why wouldn’t they? When you’re new to business you’re not even aware of all the opportunities available to you until someone tells you or you learn it through experience.
So, here’s what I’ve learned about mentoring that I’m passing on to you:
Finding a mentor isn’t simply about finding someone who does what you do, a few years further down the track. It’s about working out what you need and finding the person you feel can best help you with that. For example, your weak point may be marketing. Now in any industry, marketing is the same. It’s all about identifying your target market and the best way to access them. So why not look for someone you feel has done an amazing job marketing their business?
Or get even more specific – do you need someone that has done an amazing job of marketing on a low budget? Or maybe utilised social media in a fab way? Then look for those people.
Further, it isn’t always best to approach someone in your industry. Many people are giving and generous with their time and energies but if they have an amazing idea then they’re more likely to keep it for themselves. Someone in a different, or better yet, a complementary industry may not only be great for brainstorming but may have perspectives on your industry overlooked by those within it.
The sharing of contacts may also be inhibited. If you’re a green business and get mentoring from someone in a complementary field you may end up working together, cross promoting and sharing contacts that would be mutually beneficial. Mentoring by someone within your area of business may only mean you get the contacts they are willing to share.
Lastly, the mentor you have doesn’t have to be someone that is super successful. They can simply be someone that has done something really well like time management, copywriting, networking etc and you’d like to learn about that skill also. You may even be able to offer a skill swap back and mentor them on something you’re particularly great at.
So, if you’re looking to get some clarity on your target market and develop your unique selling point, why not go to the mum that makes cloth nappies that does it really well? Nervous about networking? Ask the accountant you always see flitting about the room swapping business cards left, right and centre. Want to expand internationally? Set up a coffee date with the mum in business that sends her pushchair accessories all over the world.
Whoever you decide to go with or whoever you work with in the future, remember they don’t just sell a skincare range or coach mums, they offer a whole range of skills and experiences that transcend industry – as do you.
Cheers! Alli x
Alli Price is the founder of Motivating Mum, a website and events service offering support and advice to Mumpreneurs (or those wanting to be), and now runs our sister site in her native Australia. She provides networking lunches, brainstorm sessions, phone mentoring, articles and features, an online forum and more. She also runs the Biz Mums Blogging Carnival. W: www.motivatingmum.com T: @motivatingmum F: Motivating Mum
This blog is one of 45 featured in my ebook Motivating Business Mums – now available from Brightword publishing.
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