5 key steps to become a business mentor

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business mentor

Business mentoring and coaching is becoming increasingly popular among entrepreneurs with excellent communication and management skills. Here, we take a look at why this is the case and how you can go about launching your own business mentoring franchise.

Business mentor UK

It is estimated that approximately 19,000 mentors are operating in England, through roughly 400 different organisations. However, a large percentage of these mentors operate on a part-time basis or are regarded as “dormant”. This means they’re not currently offering their services to any organisation in particular.

These figures demonstrate two things. First and foremost, it’s clear there is sufficient demand to sustain a large population of business mentors in the UK. But secondly, there may be an issue with business mentors connecting with SMEs and other clients. This idea is backed up by a recent study carried out by the government, which states that a third of all SMEs would have appreciated the services of a business mentor at some point in the past but never used one. There’s huge scope, therefore, to see success with a mentoring franchise business.

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5 key steps to become a business mentor

  1. Know what you need. As there are a considerable number of franchises to choose from in the sector, it’s essential you understand what you’re looking for. You should be aiming to find a franchise that allows you to work in a way that suits your needs and personal requirements. If you only want to work part-time, there’s no point in pursuing franchise opportunities that offer only full-time positions. Once you’ve identified your requirements, you’ll need to start looking for franchises. Keep an eye open for businesses that offer a good deal of support, such as initial training programmes, ongoing help with marketing, or perhaps even a dedicated franchise manager for additional guidance. Like all franchisees, you’ll want a franchisor you can trust, who is going to deliver on their promises. And it’s a good idea to look into the franchise network as a whole and establish whether you’ll fit in as part of the wider team. Think about what their values are and whether they match up with your own.

  2. Do your research. It’s one thing knowing what to look for in a franchise, but it’s another thing entirely knowing how to look for one. To find the perfect franchise opportunity, you’ll need to use a range of methods and resources. The first thing you should do is look on franchising brokerage sites like this. Here, the details of the most popular and reputable franchises are collected and collated, allowing would-be franchisees to compare the opportunities on offer. Take the time to read the mentoring sector’s trade publications. Stay abreast of developments within the industry and any trends you’d like to capitalise on. Also, personal networks should be explored to see if any of your friends, family or colleagues have any contacts. If, for example, your cousin can recommend a particular franchise, you’ll be more confident signing the franchise agreement at the end of the research process. However, this isn’t enough on its own. Franchisees should also attend franchising shows to make connections within the industry. Look out for shows and exhibitions that feature the franchises you’re interested in joining. When you’re there, be sure to approach their stall and ask questions you’ve prepared in advance. Doing this will enable you to get a sense of the business’ work culture and ethos, which is difficult to ascertain online. If you can, try to speak to existing franchisees. They’ll have no reason to lie to you, so you should be able to get accurate information about the business from them. Ask about their experience of joining the franchise and their opinion of the franchisor. Were their financial projections accurate? Did the franchise do as well as the franchisor had claimed it would? Have they had any negative experiences with the franchise? The only reason to distrust a franchisee would be if the franchisor themselves pushes you towards one in particular and tries to stop you talking to others. It may be that this particular franchisee is the business’ ‘cheerleader’ and paints the franchise in a more positive light than others would.

  3. Choose your location. London is undoubtedly the epicentre of the business community in England. For this reason, a large number of business mentors set up in the capital. While this may allow for closer proximity to businesses that require assistance, it also means increased competition. Consequently, more and more business coaches are looking to launch a mentoring service outside of the capital. Many coaching franchise business models also allow franchisees to operate remotely or from home. With increasingly powerful digital technology at their disposal, business mentors no longer need to be physically close to their clients. These factors should be taken into account when you decide where you want to set up your mentoring business. If you’re not working remotely, you’ll need to secure a specific business premises once you’ve decided on your broader territory. Of course, it is in your best interests to find somewhere close to other businesses that may call upon your services. This is likely to be in a town or city centre. Although rent may be high in such locations, you’ll benefit from easy access to all the facilities the area has to offer, including shops and cafes. This, in turn, will make your business attractive when it comes to hiring staff, which means you can appeal to the best talent out there.

  4. Find financing. How you finance your business venture depends on how much investment your chosen business mentoring franchise requires. In some cases, it may be possible to finance the entire investment yourself. However, only a small minority of first-time franchisees will be in this position. The vast majority will have to rely on other sources of capital. The most popular means of obtaining the required investment is via an agreement with a major lender. In many instances, it will be possible to finance up to 70 percent of the total investment this way. Many franchisees also rely on friends and family to top up their investment. This is a good option if your friends and family have a significant amount of savings that they wish to invest and potentially grow. To get funding from a high street bank, you’ll need to develop an impressive business plan. The lender will want to be able to see that you have made extensive preparations for your business to maximise the likelihood that it is profitable. It’s likely that your franchisor will help you draft this, as they’ll have significant experience, not only in the industry and, of course, in the business, but with drafting business plans too.

  5. Finalise the deal with your franchisor. If you've identified the ideal franchise and are looking to close the deal, there is one final, vital step. This is to hire professional legal and financial advisors who can check over the contracts and financial projections provided by your franchisor. Even if you’ve run a business before or feel you’re adept at reviewing legal documents, you’d be foolish to ignore this phase. This step is vital, as franchise agreements are complex documents that include a significant amount of industry-specific jargon. Also, your contract may include ‘hidden’ conditions that you don’t recognise on first reading it. Entering into an agreement without a full understanding of what it entails is a very risky idea. Although hiring a professional advisor will cost you money in the short term, the long-term benefits make it worth the extra expense.

A business mentor franchise profile – ActionCOACH

Having explained the process of finding a franchise, we thought it would be a good idea to take a more in-depth look at a specific mentoring franchise.

Established in 1993, ActionCOACH has mentored tens of thousands of businesses in countries across the globe. Over the last 25 years, it has grown into the largest and most reputable mentoring franchise in the world and now boasts a network of more than 1,000 coaches operating in over 40 countries. Despite this remarkable success and rapid expansion, the franchise has been able to maintain its high standards and continue supplying high-quality coaching services to businesses that require them.

To become a franchisee, you’ll need to invest approximately £70,000. In return, you’ll be granted your own exclusive territory with a minimum of 10,000 potential customers and access to the complete ActionCOACH support network. All franchisees are enrolled on a comprehensive training programme and are designated an ActionCOACH mentor to see them through the opening months of their business.

To discover more coaching businesses and find out about their investment requirements, franchisee profiles and history in the franchising industry, just click here.

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