Read the text below and answer Questions 15-20.

The benefits of having a business mentor

Introduction:
If you’re starting your own business, you probably need a mentor. This is a business person who volunteers to give their time to help somebody else with their work – particularly somebody who is new to the business. They have a wealth of experience they are willing to share, perhaps from setting up and running their own company. The mentor’s role is to support, develop, stimulate and challenge. However, business mentors won’t solve your problems for you or tell you what to do: they will talk things over with you, rather than acting as consultants. Many people while setting up their first business have found that a mentor can have a very positive effect on its success.

Why business mentoring is important:
If you have a gap in your knowledge or experience, then mentoring could work very well for you. For example, you may have a great concept for a business but need a bit of assistance to turn it into a successful venture.

A mentor can provide you with a number of benefits, such as:

• guidance on developing and improving your business
• help with decisions – particularly difficult ones
• ideas for new products or services, or for working practices that will improve your efficiency
• tips for your business that are gained from practical experience
• access to a network of contacts with other business people

A business mentor can also help you to:

• develop key business skills
• improve your problem-solving abilities
• build confidence
• work on your personal development

Face-to-face business mentoring:
If you decide that face-to-face business mentoring is right for you, mentor and mentee should decide in advance on the nature of the relationship.

You will need to agree on the degree of involvement that suits you both. Some mentors and mentees work extremely closely, keeping in touch with each other most weeks or even most days. In the majority of cases, however, a mentor will provide help every few weeks or months. In either case, they might meet, speak on the phone, or exchange emails.

You should also agree on a level of structure to suit you both. Mentoring can be a very formal process with regular meetings which follow a specific agenda and work towards a specific set of goals. It can also be quite a casual arrangement, where the mentee calls on the mentor as and when problems or questions arise.

Questions 15-20

Complete the notes below.

Choose ONE WORD ONLY from the text for each answer.

Write your answers in boxes 15-20 on your answer sheet.

How can a mentor help somebody setting up a business?

A mentor 15……………………….. to help a new business person.

Mentors have a different role from 16 ……………………….. .

A mentor can:

• help you turn your idea into a successful business
• assist when you need to make 17……………………….. .
• suggest how your business can increase its 18 ……………………….. .
• introduce you to a business network
• help you to develop your skills, abilities and provide you with more 19 ……………………….. .

To be agreed:

• how much 20 ………………………..  the mentor should have

• how much structure the mentoring process should have.

15. volunteers
16. consultants
17. decisions
18. efficiency
19. confidence
20. involvement

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