At Newable, we believe that SMEs are the lifeblood of our economy. These dynamic businesses drive innovation, create jobs, and contribute significantly to local communities. But navigating the entrepreneurial landscape can be challenging for these smaller ventures. That’s where mentoring steps in as a powerful tool for growth and sustainability.


Why is mentoring so important for SME’s?


1. Enhanced Profitability

A recent study conducted by Forbes sheds light on the impact of mentoring. Companies that actively engage in mentoring programs experience profits that are 18% above average. How does this happen? Mentoring provides SMEs with valuable insights, strategic guidance, and practical advice. As a result, they can make informed decisions, optimise their operations, and ultimately boost their bottom line.


2. Longevity and Survival

Surviving beyond the initial years is a significant milestone for any business. According to the Federation of Small Businesses, SMEs with a mentor are twice as likely to survive beyond 5 years. Why is this the case? Mentors offer a lifeline during critical phases—whether it’s overcoming early challenges, adapting to market shifts, or weathering economic downturns. Their experience and perspective help SMEs navigate rough waters and emerge stronger.


3. Belief in Success

According to Enterprise Nation, an impressive 89% of SMEs recognise the value of mentoring. They believe that having a mentor can significantly contribute to their success. This belief isn’t unfounded. Mentoring provides SMEs with access to networks, industry knowledge, and best practices. It’s like having a seasoned guide who knows the terrain and can steer them toward growth opportunities.


4. Survival Stories

Ask business owners about their survival stories, and you’ll find that 66% attribute their resilience to mentoring. These mentors serve as sounding boards, problem solvers, and cheerleaders. They offer encouragement during tough times and celebrate victories. Whether it’s refining a business plan, expanding into new markets, or managing cash flow, mentors provide practical solutions that keep SMEs afloat.


Why is mentoring good for mentors?

Mentoring benefits not only the mentored business but also positively impacts the mentor.

So, what are the benefits of becoming a mentor:


1. Increased Self-Confidence and Self-Awareness

Mentoring provides an opportunity to reflect on your own experiences, knowledge, and skills. As you guide someone else, you gain a deeper understanding of your own strengths and weaknesses. Sharing your expertise boosts your confidence and reinforces your self-awareness.


2. Leadership Skills Development

Being a mentor allows you to hone your leadership abilities. You learn how to guide, motivate, and inspire others. Effective mentoring involves setting goals, providing constructive feedback, and helping mentees navigate challenges. These skills are transferable to various leadership roles.


3. Improved Communication and Listening Skills

Mentoring requires active listening and effective communication. As a mentor, you learn to ask insightful questions, provide clear explanations, and adapt your communication style to meet the mentee’s needs. These skills enhance your interactions with colleagues, clients, and superiors.


4. Exposure to New and Different Perspectives

Interacting with mentees from diverse backgrounds exposes you to fresh viewpoints. You gain insights into different industries, cultures, and ways of thinking. This exposure broadens your horizons and encourages creativity and innovation.


5. Expand Your Professional Network

Mentoring often leads to valuable connections. You build relationships with mentees, fellow mentors, and other professionals in your field. These connections can open doors to new opportunities, collaborations, and partnerships.


6. Paying It Forward/Giving Back

Mentoring is a way to give back to your community or industry. By sharing your knowledge and experiences, you contribute to the growth and development of others. It’s a fulfilling way to make a positive impact.


What is the difference between a Business Mentor, Coach and Consultant?

There is often confusion about these roles, what they do and how people or businesses can benefit from their services and support.

  • Consultant = A business consultant provides a specific project-based service to solve a problem on behalf of the business owner.


  • Coach = A coach supports their client to reach a specific goal themselves by stimulating discussions and providing the client with helpful resources.


  • Mentor = A mentor’s focus is on an individual and not on helping to solve a specific problem of a client. A business mentor will guide and support you in growing your business by helping you clarify your bigger vision and providing a growth structure that maximises your biggest strengths, captures your biggest opportunities and eliminates your biggest challenges over a long lapse of time. This includes setting long-term goals as well as short-term, the mentor works over a longer time than a coach who will be focused on specific behaviours and skills.


What makes a good mentor?

Certain qualities can elevate your effectiveness as a mentor. Let’s explore these essential traits:


  1. Active Listening Skills

Active listening is the cornerstone of any successful mentor-mentee relationship. As a mentor, your ability to truly hear what your mentee is saying—beyond the words—is crucial. Here’s how active listening benefits both parties:

  • Empathy: By actively listening, you demonstrate empathy and understanding. You validate your mentee’s feelings and experiences.
  • Building Trust: When mentees feel heard, they trust their mentor more. Trust is essential for open communication and growth.
  • Identifying Needs: Active listening helps you identify your mentee’s needs, concerns, and aspirations. This understanding informs your guidance.


  1. Clarity

Mentoring involves sharing knowledge, insights, and advice. However, information overload can overwhelm mentees. Here’s where clarity comes in:

  • Setting Clear Aims and Objectives: A good mentor helps mentees define their goals. Break down complex concepts into manageable steps.
  • Avoiding Jargon: Use plain language. Avoid industry-specific jargon unless your mentee is familiar with it.
  • Checking Understanding: Regularly check if your mentee comprehends what you’re saying. Encourage questions and discussions.


  1. Focus

Mentees often face competing priorities and distractions. A mentor’s role includes helping mentees stay focused:

  • Prioritisation: Teach mentees how to prioritise tasks. Help them identify what truly matters.
  • Time Management: Guide mentees in managing their time effectively. Share techniques for staying organised.
  • Redirecting Attention: When necessary, gently steer mentees back to their main objectives. Remind them of their long-term vision.


  1. Support Planning

Mentoring isn’t just about theoretical advice; it’s about practical application. Here’s how mentors can support effective planning:

  • Goal-Setting: Work with mentees to set specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART) goals.
  • Action Steps: Break down goals into actionable steps. Encourage mentees to create action plans.
  • Accountability: Regularly check in with mentees. Celebrate progress and address obstacles.


How can you access mentor support as part of the Help to Grow: Management Course?

Funded by the Government and delivered by entrepreneurs and industry experts at world-class business schools across the UK, the Help to Grow: Management Course is designed to help ambitious business leaders boost the performance and resilience of their business.

The course aims to provide you with an opportunity to invest in your leadership, and to learn how to take your business to the next level through increased profitability, innovation, and growth.

With just one session a week, the course runs over 12 weeks and includes online and face-to-face sessions, peer networking plus dedicated, 1-2-1 mentoring provided by a volunteer business mentor – this is a successful business leader who has agreed to dedicate part of their time to help other small businesses grow.

You can find out more about the Help to Grow: Management Course here.


How can you become a mentor?

If you are curious about how you could take advantage of the many benefits of being a mentor all while making a difference in the lives of small business owners, look no further!

Join us in celebrating the power of mentoring and discover the multiple benefits and rewards of being a mentor at the National Mentoring Matters Conference 2024 on Thursday 14 March in Birmingham.

Come along for a jam-packed day of insightful discussions, inspiring talks, and networking opportunities with industry leaders. This incredible event will bring together mentors, small business owners, and business representatives from across the country.


Reserve your spot today!


About Newable

Here at Newable, we can give you advice on how to keep on top of these upcoming trends. We have a team of experienced advisers passionate about helping SME leaders by providing fully funded advice. We give a range of external support and can help you to understand how to implement our advice.

For over 4 decades, Newable has been supporting thousands of businesses every year through the provision of MoneyAdvice and Workspace. An employee-owned business with a commitment to creating positive impact in all that we do, our team are on hand to help your business today.

Find out more about how Newable can help you and your business.