8 Places to find your Perfect Business Mentor

Running your own company can be a lonely business, even if you have higher management or a business partner it can be hard to see the wood for the trees. Finding a mentor could be the perfect solution for you, provide you with a fresh perspective and help you grow your business.
Before you go on the search have a think about what you would like from your mentor. Identify some public figures you admire in the business world, then go closer to home. Is there a particular independent business in the place you live that you like? Is there a smaller influencer on social media that provides good content? Having these things in mind you can start the process of finding a mentor(s). Keep the process as organic as possible and we would not advise asking someone to be your mentor when you first meet, unless they explicitly say they are looking for a mentee. We have outlined below some places you could find a mentor and there is no harm in introducing yourself. Keep it professional, friendly and be prepared to have some of your messages go unanswered.

1. Official mentor sites 

Some sites will be free, some have paywalls or there may be products/services you will need to purchase to gain access to their network of mentors. Depending on what you want from the relationship this could be a quick and straight-forward way to get the ball rolling.

2. Traditional Networking 

This doesn’t have to be a lot of bored looking business folk in polyester suits standing around a beige buffet, unless you want it to be. Networking in the traditional way may not suit your industry or might not be your thing. But go to events or places business owners you admire go to, you never know who you could get chatting with.

3. LinkedIn 

Make sure your profile is up to date, your photo is appropriate and you have filled out the bio section so people can understand who you are and why you are relevant to them. Send personalised messages with connection requests and follow companies and public figures. Don’t forget to join applicable groups as well!

4. Peers 

Mentors don’t necessarily have to be older and more experienced than you, or even in the same industry. Getting an outside point of view that totally refreshes your perspective or triggers a fantastic business idea can come from the most unlikely places. Talk through your issues with someone you click with and that you trust their opinion.

5. Communities 

There are a lot of online communities you can join for a monthly subscription fee that will give you access to mentor or peer directories. Try one out for a couple of months and see how it goes. These communities may be better tailored to your needs, e.g. women in business, creative businesses etc.

6. Memberships 

You can join local groups to meet other business owners, for example your areas Chamber of Commerce or National Enterprise Network.

7. Business Consultant 

This is a bit of a short cut and you will more than likely have to pay for the service as it’s a customer/service provider transaction. This could work for you if you just need to solve some issues or have an outside point of view and aren’t comfortable with building a traditional mentor/mentee relationship.

8. YouTube & Other Social Media. 

This again may be a bit of a cheat as it’s a one-way street of you consuming the business ‘gurus’ content and you probably won’t get the opportunity to ask personalised questions. When researching or strategizing watching advice channels, they can spark ideas that you can translate to your business. And you never know if you do reach out, they may become your dream mentor!
Once you’ve found someone that is happy to be your mentor and you their mentee set boundaries, be fully prepared whenever you have a meeting and don’t over run your allotted time agreed with them. You also don’t have to stick to one mentor or continue being mentored by them if you feel it’s run its course.

Resources 

Find or become a mentor with Mentors Me.
Find a mentor with Meet a Mentor.
If you get a start up loan through the British Business Bank you will gain access to their mentoring program

Finance & Funding Jargon Buster

You can’t know what you don’t know, especially when it’s wrapped up in abbreviations and buzzwords. Start.Biz are decoding the most commonly used jargon words when looking for business finance or a funding.

P&L 

Profit and Loss Account – a record of Income and Expenditure within a given 12-month financial period to ultimately determine profitability.

Balance Sheet 

A snapshot of the Assets and Liabilities owned/owed by a business at any particular moment in time i.e. Cash Balance or Value of Outstanding Loans. The value between the Assets owned by a Company after deducting the Liabilities it holds equates to its Net Assets.

Cash Flow Statement 

A log of monthly cash inflows/outflows often using a combination of retrospective and forecast information. For a small business, this is probably the key document to managing cash flow.

Working Capital 

This represents a measure of liquidity on a day-to-day basis within a business and is calculated after deducting liabilities such as supplier invoices/debt/PAYE/VAT from assets such as cash/customers invoices/stock.

MI 

Management Information – lenders often require Management Information such as Aged Debtor/Receivable reports and Management Accounts.

Statutory Accounts 

Financial year-end accounts as produced by the Directors of a business and filed with Companies House.

Management Accounts 

Monthly record of Management Information usually comprising Profit and Loss Account, Balance Sheet and Cash Flow Statement

Aged Debtors 

A report of amounts owed by your Customers to the business.

Aged Creditors 

A report of amounted owed to Suppliers by the business.

SALIE 

Statement of Assets and Liabilities – a form usually completed when looking to borrow money comprised of i) Personal Assets & Liabilities (owned/owing), ii) Monthly/Annual log of income/expenditure.

If you have any questions about financing your business or would like to discuss your personal circumstances, please contact our expert team today. 

Access to Finance Consultation Line: 0800 069 9090 (freephone) or email finance@start.biz

How to Create a Logo for Your Business

how not to use the work we created. I would ask a client to allow me to use it in my portfolio though, under strict guidelines that I’m using it as an example of my work.’

5. A lot of our small business community use sites like Fiverr to create their logos due to limited budgets, would you advise this? 

‘It’s one of those things that sounds like a really good idea in your head. What you have on there is anyone with some design software and then what happens is you start to devalue the purpose of good design. I understand small businesses have less budget but it’s like if you hired a plumber for a fiver, you probably would still have a leaky tap at the end of it.’
‘Canva is great, we use it. I would advise to pop on there and use it for social media posts. If you’re doing a lot of social content, you need templates and it’s really useful for that. I wouldn’t use it to create a logo though.’ 

6. Are there any cliché’s you would advise to avoid in logo design? 

‘When someone says ‘we just like this’. That just means nothing. If I’m presenting to my Director or a client I will always go into the full meaning behind every element I’ve used. This includes colour, typography, colour, and shapes, they all have a meaning why they are linked back to the brief and brand I’m working on.
Don’t follow trends. Trends are just trends, and they change each year but a brand is meant to be timeless. You can’t have something that’s going to fade away in a year.
‘Keep it simple but significant.’ 
Also, the use of generic symbols. Using really obvious icons in a logo, for example how many coffee shops have you seen with a coffee cup in the logo? Or dentists that use a tooth in their logo?
I don’t know if it’s a cliché, but I don’t like monograms, like two interwoven letters. If you google any two letters, you’ll come up with loads of ways that those two letters can look together, it’s very clever but generally it’s overused and it’s not saying anything about the brand.’

7. What are the biggest mistakes people make when designing a logo? 

‘It’s understanding good design. Everything from the basics of how things are aligned through to typography. Typography has so much meaning, every letter and font style has a different meaning as to why it’s those letters and those shapes and why they’re spaced out that way. Choosing a different font is going to give a whole new meaning to your brand. A number of fonts get overused because they’re safe. Designers saying not to use Helvetica has actually now become a cliché within itself.
‘The whole point of a brand is to cut through the noise of your competitors and speak to the audience you want to speak to. If you use safe design, you’ll just get lost in a sea of brands and advertising.’ 
‘People don’t really think about scaling things. I think that really matters when it comes to typography, you could have a really nice type face that looks amazing when you’re a foot away from your computer screen but when you stand 6 feet back you can’t read it. Think about how the logo will look when someone is driving past in a car, or how it looks scaled down onto a business card or blown up onto a billboard.’
‘Don’t be scared to do things a little bit differently, go against the grain. You never know where it could take you.’ 

8. What is some of your favourite branding? 

‘The IMB logo is timeless, they haven’t changed that since the 70’s and they haven’t needed to. MacDonalds are a great example of maximising the potential of your logo, even building campaigns around it. I don’t want to advocate anyone eat MacDonalds but from a branding point of view they’ve created a whole story out of that logo that really speaks to people.’
‘Ultimately it’s about communicating your brand and creating something your customers will love.’ 
You can check out Oliver’s work here
Instagram – ovr-design