How to be a good business mentor

Image by Tumisu from Pixabay

By Henry Brown

When you are a business mentor, your ultimate job is to help another business owner make the most of their business. You will be there to assist them in a one-to-one manner, offering advice and giving them the benefit of your own business insight to help them move forward and not fall into the usual traps and mistakes that are so common.

The idea of being someone’s mentor may well appeal, but you’ll need to plan things out to ensure you’re doing a good job and really helping the other person as much as possible. Read on for some valuable tips about being a good business mentor and really making a difference in someone else’s life and work.

Establish expectations and ground rules 

The first thing you should be when you meet your mentee is to establish your expectations and ground rules. It’s also important to hear their own expectations – ideally, the two of you will want to achieve the same things. Ensure that you explain your role fully so that no one is confused by what you are there to do, and find out if your mentee has any questions to ask about the process.

Essentially, this is your chance to explain what you expect of them and what they need to do, and you can give them an idea of what you are willing to do for them. If these ideas match up, then you can get started. If they don’t, they may need to find another mentor to work with. Getting this established at the start is crucial so that no one wastes their time.

Let them make their own decisions 

Although as a mentor you will have much more experience than your mentee, and although it would be easy to simply tell your protégé what to do in every situation, this is not the best way to be a good mentor. If you did this, you would effectively be running their business for them, and they would never really learn what they should be doing. It might offer some short-term success, but it wouldn’t help much in the future.

It’s far better to let the mentee think through any challenges that are presented to them and come up with their own solutions and then come to you for advice. You can point them in the right direction, but the hard work will have been done by them, and they will have learned some valuable lessons in the process.

Be accountable to one another 

When people are accountable to one another, much more gets done, and there is much more motivation involved in the tasks, whatever they may be. Therefore, ensure that you and your mentee are accountable to one another.

One way to do this is to assign ‘homework’. If you have written a dynamic sales playbook, for example, ask the mentee to read it and come up with a list of questions. It is their responsibility to do the work or research (which will ultimately help their business), but your responsibility to check that this has been done and to offer feedback.


Henry Brown is an online marketing executive. When he isn’t talking shop, he’s roaming the streets of London, uncovering the extra-ordinary in the ordinary.

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