10th November 2021
The latest phase of the MentorsWork scheme, offering free professional mentoring, opened earlier this month. Small businesses owners in Dublin are being encouraged to take up the services of a mentor to help complete their 2022 plan to build their business.
MentorsWork is a Government-funded scheme, to help support business analysis, sales and marketing, and finance and operations planning, as well as professional development.
Delivered by the Small Firms Association (SFA) and Skillnet Ireland, business owners also get online tools, as well as masterclasses and workshops.
Application is due by the end of November and information is on https://mentorswork.ie
In terms of basic business planning, SMEs can expect mentors to challenge them in areas such as the following, the MentorsWork organisers say;
You must stay in future-thinking mode, focused on growth, deals and opportunities. If you can achieve greater sales one day, you can do it 365 days! Identify what generates business, set targets and always push to improve.
Do you have the right stock that your customers want, and enough of it? How efficiently do you source stock, and keep spending under control. Are better supply terms, or price available, bearing in mind that reliable quality supply is crucial?
You win customers over with great service; there is always something extra you can do or say that doesn’t necessarily add cost but adds immense value to the relationship.
Essentially, how can you best get your product in the public eye?
A social media presence is ideal, but if you’re not ‘social savvy’, find an employee or family member who is. Images or videos for the likes of Facebook, Instagram and TikTok are cheaply produced and customers relate well to visuals.
Depending on your product, service or market, a local radio ad, door drops, or posters in supermarkets may be just as effective. Marketing planning begins with ‘who is my customer, and how do I reach them?’ If your business is large enough, contract a marketing manager or PR professional to help.
An Online Storefront
If you haven’t already, explore e-commerce platforms. More and more, people source their products and services conveniently online. I’s handy to peruse the goods in comfort and to hit the “buy” button, rather than finding parking, standing in queues and spending valuable leisure time in stores.
Always have an up-to-date balance sheet tracking your company’s assets, inventory and liabilities. You must be clear on the figures, whether you carry more debt than assets, or, hopefully, own more than you owe. Stay on top of accounts receivable and payable, available cash, and payroll commitments.
Don’t be a busy fool; ensure your efforts are generating the right return and, if not, question why. Accounting software tools or hiring a bookkeeper is helpful to know your finances.
Plan and Delegate
Identify goals and processes in as many areas of the business as possible. Stick to your plan, and don’t be afraid to delegate tasks to those who can do them better or faster.
For these and other specific business questions an SME needs to address, MentorsWork could well be the answer! https://mentorswork.ie/