Your Business With James Caan 2017 - 143

MENTORING & COACHING

JAMES'S TAKE ON MENTORING
IT'S WELL WORTH FINDING SOMEONE WITH THE EXPERIENCE TO HELP YOU,
SAYS JAMES - AND YOU MAY FIND THAT PERSON VERY CLOSE TO HOME
Mentoring is becoming more

going through. Someone twice your age

accessible and recognised within the

with 20 years' corporate experience won't

mentor won't remove all the obstacles

It is important to remember that a

entrepreneurial circle these days. That's

necessarily be able to immediately recognise

your business faces. But they can

because people are finally starting to

your struggles. If possible, look for someone

certainly show you a better route

understand the impact a mentor can

of a similar age who has taken a similar

to get where you need to go.

have on an aspiring entrepreneur.

path and can help you avoid the mistakes

Mentoring shouldn't be seen as

Starting up is a long process full of

they made. Finding a mentor you relate

a panacea. It's a means by which

highs and lows. I have failed many times

to and who shares your same passions

entrepreneurs can make better decisions

in business, and each failure taught

is essential. Without these similarities

at those crucial moments in the life of a

me a valuable lesson and allowed me

you're just wasting each other's time.

business. The experience is a constant

to hone my knowledge. My mistakes

Secondly, look for someone who

learning process. Everyone needs a

and missteps set me on the right path

knows your sector inside out. Only if they

and gave me the grounding I needed

have expert knowledge of your chosen

to succeed. Now the most important

sector can they point you in the right

of the government-backed Start Up

thing is to share those lessons of failure

direction and allow you to make the most

Loans Company, I was in the privileged

with entrepreneurs and people running

of the mentor/mentee relationship.

position of being able to pass some

SMEs in order to steer them away from

Thirdly, you want to take advantage

helping hand, no matter who you are.
In my previous role as chairman

of my knowledge to some incredible

the same pitfalls - and that's why I'm

of everything your mentor has to offer,

entrepreneurs. With my experience as

always championing mentoring.

so it's extremely useful to work with

a passionate entrepreneur, being able

somebody who can open some doors for

to share my knowledge with the next

a great, rewarding experience -

you. Someone with important contacts

generation of entrepreneurs is important

as is explaining how my father

could help you progress faster.

to me. What's the point in possessing

Sharing my own journey is always

acted as my mentor and helped

And don't forget, your perfect mentor

it if I'm not using it to help others?

sculpt my future success. So, what

could be anybody. Sometimes you just need

makes the perfect mentor?

to take a look around you - your mentor

sharing wisdom you'll never forget. For

Firstly, I advise anybody seeking

Mentors can guide and nurture you,

could be a parent, brother, sister, friend,

me, my father's one-liner - "Observe the

a mentor to look for somebody who

cousin, colleague, competitor... the list goes

masses and do the opposite" - is advice

can really understand what you're

on! Don't underestimate your options.

that still resonates with me today.

143



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