What to ask your business mentor?

When a business mentor starts off with a new client or meets up with them after a bit of break, there is often a feeling of “positive tension” in the air. What the devil am I going to be asked now? Can I help? Can I direct or coach them?

One common starter thrown to me is: “How do I find new clients?”. Funnily enough, I often find that the client already knows the answer. They just have a mental block looking at what may be the very obvious.

For example, earlier this week, I was asked this question in a very challenging manner by a customer. 10 minutes later, after cooly forcing them to consult their contact list on their mobile phone, they had compiled a healthy list of people to call.

Time management is another of those recurring themes, which is often discussed at my sessions. And I have written about it extensively under various guises.

Possibly a different approach is to consider what one blogger has determined as “the third rule of business“. Put it simply; if you don’t keep focused, you don’t get nowhere slowly.

Let me expand. If you have a clear sight of your vision, then you will know how to form a strategy. If you have a definitive methodology, you should be able to identify what tools you are missing. And whatever is lacking, you will dedicate yourself to go out and get it, somehow, legally.

No focus means lots of opportunity for commercially valueless tasks, which is a politically correct term for poor time management. 

Another topic, usually raised by tech-savvy entrepreneurs, is why they have to invest so much time managing. Why can’t people just get on with their tasks by themselves?

An article in this month’s Harvard Business Review cheekily posed the challenge: “Let’s fire all the managers”. After all, “management is the least efficient activity in your organization“, no?

The study is worth reading in full. My point is somewhat more basic. An entrepreneur tends to come into commercial life, wishing to concentrate on his “baby”. They soon face the startling realisation that they have to take responsibility for a whole concern; admin, finance, sales, strategy, legal and even the post. Time and detail. Yuk. Remaining focused ain’t always that easy.

As for the mentor, well they have their own enterprise to operate. Fortunately, they should have the skills to empower the client to engage successfully such subjects.

So, I suggest that the first question the customer should ask is what experience the coach has handling all of these an similar subjects.

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