ADVOCATE COLUMN 4th WEEK JANUARY 2015
Growing Northland business is as much about ensuring existing businesses succeed and flourish as it is about encouraging inward investment or attracting new business. The trickle-down effects from a business failing, impact on the entire community. Equally all Northlanders benefit from the presence of robust and sustainable local companies consistently providing quality service and products.
When a business is struggling they need all the help they can get. Using a mentor allows an independent perspective that may not be apparent to the owner. Many people do not engage a mentor until they notice things starting to go wrong with their business. There is merit in getting a mentor or outside assistance before you think you need it. Early involvement helps avoid pitfalls and gives the business the best chance of succeeding from the start.
Having someone to listen to you, occasionally challenge the way you do things and offer guidance based on their own experience can give a business owner the confidence that they are doing things the right way or at the very least are not missing out on potential opportunities to develop. Business Mentors New Zealand (www.businessmentors.org.nz) provides a mentoring service to businesses that have been operating for at least six months and is the owner’s main source of income. For a minimal a registration fee client businesses can receive up to 12 months mentoring from one or several mentors.
Mentors will have many different reasons for giving up their time to assist struggling businesses. There is a range of support and resources provided to assist mentors and some reimbursement is made in relation to any travel costs incur while mentoring. Apart from a desire to help Northland’s economic development it provides the opportunity for people who may no longer be active in the business community to stay in contact with an environment that has been a large part of their life. Although all find the experience rewarding, the NZ Chambers of Commerce Northland is always in search of new mentors to reduce the burden on these volunteers to assist new clients.
We are currently seeking people Northland’s business community who would like to use their experience and skills to help succeed with their enterprises. If you think this is something that would appeal to you then we would love the opportunity to tell you more about how you can help grow Northland’s economy.