ADVOCATE COLUMN 3rd WEEK FEBRUARY 2011
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. A registration fee of $100 + GST applies, which entitles you to use the mentoring service for two years. This is the only cost to you.
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.
Whangarei is blessed with a wide range of skilled and experienced accountants, lawyers, bankers and other business consultants that can offer assistance to businesses owners. Government departments also are a valuable resource for a struggling enterprise and the support they can provide should not be overlooked. The Northland Chamber of Commerce assists businesses in a number ways including on occasions using its network of members to help operators who may not meet the registration criteria of Business Mentors New Zealand.
Mentors may have many different reasons for giving up their time to assist struggling businesses. Apart from a desire to help Northland’s economic development it provides the opportunity for people who may are 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 Northland Chamber of Commerce is always in search of new mentors to reduce the burden on these volunteers to assist new clients.
Growing Northland business is as much about ensuring existing businesses succeed and flourish as it is about encouraging inward investment and 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.