Yaneek Page is widely regarded as one of Jamaica’s most promising and dynamic young entrepreneurs.
She is a pioneer in litigant support services and enterprise-wide risk management in the Caribbean, having founded Future Services International Limited, the first company in the region to specialize in legal funding and helping companies manage enterprise risks. Future Services International Limited/Yaneek Page was a regional winner in the prestigious NCB Nation Builder Awards (2011), in the category “Women in Business”. Read More
As an adventure-seeking nature lover, you can’t wait to discover and experience its splendour for yourself. But there’s a big problem. The route to get there is long, winding and treacherous in many places. Most people are too scared to go.
If you were bold enough to try and had the option of using a map or an experienced guide, one who knew the danger zones and safest shortcuts, which would you choose? The guide, of course! Assuming you want to arrive in good time and in one piece.
In a sense business mentors are like experienced guides for entrepreneurs who have set out on the precarious voyage of starting or growing a business. They can offer practical guidance, ideas, insights, connections and shortcuts to help you achieve your goals faster and easier, while helping you avoid major pitfalls.
The problem is business mentors are not easy to find, especially in our neck of the woods where the few who are qualified are in high demand and too busy to commit to long-term mentoring relationships. However, finding, keeping and maximising the relationship with a great mentor is not impossible and could be easier for you if you follow the steps below.
Set goals and develop a mentor profile.
You need to be clear on where you want to go and identify the resources you may need to get there. Mentors can’t and won’t set goals for you. in fact, that, would be an unreasonable request. Once you define clear business and professional goals that are SMART that is, specific, measurable, attainable, relevant to your overall mission and time-bound then you can begin to outline a profile of the type of mentor you will need to help you advance.
Research existing programmes.
It’s important to do thorough research on mentoring programmes that may be available. for example, a few local business associations have mentoring programmes for people who are relatively new to business. There are also some international initiatives to which entrepreneurs can apply, for example, the acclaimed Cherie Blair Mentoring Programme for women entrepreneurs.
I have a preference for formal programmes because they have more structure, offer screening, proper training and matching of mentors and protÈgÈs, and set clear guidelines with respect to commitments, tenure, confidentiality, measuring effectiveness, and termination, among others.
Compile a list of prospects.
If you can’t find or prefer not to engage with a formal programme, then you can create a list of prospective mentors based on the profile you would have developed at Step 1. Once you have a list of prospects, do detailed research on each one to learn about their story, passion, values, common interests, associations and charities to which they are affiliated.
Outline the expected value.
This step is critical because it will allow you to express and sell the value of mentorship to prospects. Remember that experienced and accomplished entrepreneurs and business professionals lead busy lives, with time being their most precious resource.
You must likely make a very persuasive argument for why they should invest, not simply give, their time generously to developing you and your business.
A few weeks ago while waiting in a government office a pleasant middle-age lady approached me with warm eyes and the broadest smile.
“Hi Yaneek! I don’t really want to bother you because I know you must be bombarded every day with people asking for advice, but I really have to tell you thank you. Your advice is helping to pay my mortgage.”
I was caught totally off guard. It was the most heart-warming news I had heard all week. I was so overwhelmed that I received her with a big hug, even before she offered any details. She then introduced herself and explained that she was motivated by my article ‘Earning Big From Your Extra Space’, which was published on June 14, 2015.
In the article, I shared how some Jamaicans were earning substantial income from renting extra space in their homes.
She said what struck her most was the revelation that some ingenious people were even renting their couch to foreigners in need of inexpensive space.
“That’s when I said to myself: No man! I have far more space than a couch, so I must can do that,” she said.
She said the decision to transform her incomplete family home, located in Mona, into an income earner was an easy one as she was under intense pressure to meet her mortgage obligations and other bills, and was losing weight and sleep over the constant late notices from the mortgage company. Being self-employed and a mother of two teenagers, who would soon be ready for college, she felt a deep sense of urgency to put her most valuable asset to work for her.
Putting Advice Into Action
So, exactly how did my reader put the insights and advice into action? The first thing she did was estimate how much space she could afford to give up and what the likely monthly income would be.