Entrepreneurship

Mentor Advisors: the secret sauce for SME growth

By June 26, 2019 July 18th, 2019 No Comments

A small business owner in Jodhpur runs a furniture business founded by his father. His current turnover is INR 15Cr per annum from sales within India. While his goods have a high international demand, the business owner is not sure of the next phase of growth.

• How can he expand his footprint?
• What can he do to bring down operational costs?
• How can he integrate technology in his business?
• What are the legal issues involved?
• Where can he get funding to boost growth?

These and many other questions remain unanswered.

This is the story of most small and medium enterprises (SMEs). Even while contributing 6.11% of the manufacturing GDP and 24.63% of Service sector GDP, SMEs are hard pressed to find new avenues of growth. Burdened with day-to-day operations, they find their growth plateauing. If we want to meet the Indian economy projection of $5 trillion by 2025, we need to support SMEs in their quest for growth. While the government is taking measures to boost this sector, SMEs most importantly need advice at an individual level.

This is where mentor advisors, consultants and coaches can make a huge difference. According to 92% of small business owners, mentor advisory has a direct impact on the growth and survival of their business.

The Mentor Advisor Advantage

Mentor Advisors provide expert guidance to small business owners based on their own experience and help them chart a path to hyper-growth by:

1. Sharing valuable industry insights – Mentor Advisors, coaches and consultants deep dive basis their own experience and broaden the company’s horizons. They bring the outsider but expert viewpoint that can shed new light on how the business could be run more efficiently.

2. Showing the right way-forward – Mentors answer the most important question that plagues SME growth – “HOW”. While it’s easy to devise strategies, most business owners struggle with execution. This is where a mentor’s experience is invaluable in avoiding mistakes.

3. Being a personal guide – Mentoring is not just about business. A mentor-mentee relationship is deep and can evolve to becoming a guide in balancing the personal and professional life.

4. Opening doors to new opportunities – Mentors can help business owners by connecting them to their network and other professional ones to open new avenues of growth.

However, unlike the thriving startup ecosystem where access to mentors has become easier due to global interest, the advisory needs of most small businesses (SMB segment) remain unfulfilled. As a result, many SMEs still rely on old school networks for advice that may not be necessarily optimal.

How and where can SMEs find mentor advisors?

To get the right kind of mentoring, it is important for SMEs to look beyond their immediate network and be clear on the guidance they seek.

1. Identify the problem for a mentor to solve.
2. Identify the desired outcome through the mentor.
3. Build an ideal mentor profile – experience, expertise, exposure, education etc.
4. Make a list of potential avenues to find the right mentor and professional forums – online groups, business associations, accelerator programs, alumni groups, incubators etc.
5. Join these groups, identify potential mentors, and reach out to them with a specific request.
6. Discuss with the potential mentor advisor/consultant if the desired partnership could be a good fit for the business and what is the time the mentor is willing to commit.

Indian SMEs who are able to tap in to a mentor’s/consultant’s expertise and network can hyper accelerate their growth. With all eyes on this segment and its given importance to India’s economic health and employment generation, this is the perfect time to find your advisor and coach, and ride on their experience towards business success.

SME mentoring/coaching in India is still nascent. Programs like Wadhwani Advantage specialise in working with SMEs to address this challenge through frictionless connects with world-class mentor advisors, consultants, and coaches for effecting the next leap in their business. Are you an SME entrepreneur interested in attending a program that will hyper-grow your business? Click HERE to know more about the Wadhwani Advantage program.

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