Key Topics to Address with Your Business Mentor

In this article, we take a look at some key business concepts that you should consider addressing with your mentor.

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Mentors can be an enormously beneficial relationship that helps take you and your business to the next level. That said if you’ve never been in this sort of relationship before it can be difficult figuring out how to navigate it.

What should you talk about? What topics are of the most importance in the modern business landscape?

In this article, we take a look at some key business concepts that you should consider addressing with your mentor.

1. Design Thinking

The previous business mindset used to be that if you make something good enough and figure out the right way to market it, people will come eventually. Basically, cast a really wide net, make sure that net is nice and pretty, and wait for people to come in.

Things are different now. The world of business is significantly more competitive and consumers have grown used to receiving extremely bespoke buying opportunities. They don’t want a wide net they want—a fishing pole?—Or whatever fishing-related metaphor that helps you understand the world of business is now more customer-centric and bespoke than ever.

So in comes the concept of design thinking— an iterative and customer-focused approach to designing and marketing your business.

With this concept, you are constantly putting yourself in the customer’s shoes. Every decision you make hinges on how it will land with the customer. It sounds fundamental, but it can be transformative, improving efficiency by as much as 70% in many cases.

Talk to your mentor about how you can use design thinking to increase your speed to market, and generally improve the efficiency of your operations in a way that is both profitable and customer-centric.

2. Business Analytics

The business world is now more data-driven than ever before. You don’t even need to be a big company to take advantage of the numbers anymore. Several technological developments have made it easier than ever for almost any business to take advantage of analytics:

• The proliferation of data-taking technology. If you use digital tools within your business, they almost certainly take data that can then be distilled into (usually) comprehensible reports.

• The rapid expansion of digital marketing. Digital marketing avenues come with built-in analytic tools that allow you to monitor your campaigns and get a better understanding of your customer base. These tools are typically freely accessible to people who have launched digital marketing campaigns.

• Easy access to analytic professionals. You do not need to have the budget for a salaried professional to utilize business analytics. There are many professionals who work on a freelance basis to help connect businesses with bespoke, goal-driven recommendations for their needs.

A mentor with experience in the world of data will be well-positioned to help advise you on what moves to make. The one downside to having so many analytic options is that it can be hard to decide what direction to go in. Learn from your mentor’s experience to take advantage of the data your business is probably already producing anyway.

3. Company Culture

Company culture is another relatively new business concept. Of course, companies have had cultures since the beginning of time. However, it’s only recently that this workplace feature has been so actively taken into consideration by job seekers. Many people looking for employment place company culture at a higher level of importance than they do salary.

The idea behind having a great company culture isn’t necessarily just to give people what you think they want. Your business environment can be fast-paced and competitive. There will be plenty of job-seekers who find that appealing. The key is to:

• Identify a feeling that is authentic to your business: You can find out what it is like to work at your business by speaking with your current employees. If their feelings match your own, you can work on packaging that as your company culture. If, on the other hand, your employees are reporting experiences that don’t align with your vision of the business, it may be time to reconsider your policies and attitudes.

• Figure out how to present your company culture to the public: The flip side of having a tangible work culture is that you need to be able to present it to the public in a way that will attract the right people, and (hopefully) improve the overall perception of your business.

Your mentor may be able to provide you with advice that can help navigate the mechanics of establishing a culture and benefiting from it.

4. Retention

While the “Great Resignation,” has begun to wane, employee retention remains a key concern for business leaders everywhere. When employees leave as quickly as they come in it not only results in enormous recruitment expenses, but it also translates into reduced productivity.

High turnover can also result in even higher turnover when your existing employees become stressed and overworked. Perhaps more than any other consideration described to this point, this turnover is something that your mentor will have dealt with in the past. Ask them about how they handled it, and what advice they have for building a sustainable environment that keeps employees around for at least five years.

5. The Mental Game

Finally, it’s important to evaluate your mental and emotional state as a business leader or owner. Being in the driver’s seat is great but it comes with a lot of stress and emotional fatigue that can be difficult for people on the outside to understand.

From imposter syndrome to general stress and anxiety, business leaders are subject to a wide range of emotional challenges that can reduce their quality of life and come at the expense of their professional performance.

Naturally, it can be uncomfortable opening up to your mentor in this way. However, do keep in mind that they have probably been in your position before, and hopefully come out the other end of it. Few other people in your life will be better positioned to provide advice on this unique aspect of business leadership.

To learn more about mentoring or find a free business mentor, visit PushFar.

This article was guest written by Andrew Deen.

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