Mentoring

Looking for a mentor or to be invited to join a new team putting together a new business.

Mentoring tends to mean different things to different people. To some it is little more than a consultant, to others the equivalent of a non executive director. In some cases people look at it as a person teaching a craft to an apprentice and in others someone sharing the experience of a business. Some people look to a mentor to bring them in on deals or opportunities, while others want a mentor that can do all this and more and guarantee to make them successful across a number of business areas.

For the purpose of this page, we will split this into four.

Entrepreneurial mentoring this is where the mentor has an apprentice that they teach entrepreneurial skills, involve them in projects, monitors and motivates them.

Trade mentoring is where a person has the knowledge of a business and trains another to run a similar business, showing them how to do it, the systems necessary, and introducing them to suppliers and contacts.

Popular mentor is the person who is successful that just basically encourages others, maybe sharing some wisdom or advice along the way.

 While you can manage to achieve a great deal on your own, achieving it with some help can allow you to make a great deal of progress faster and with less risk.

The mentor can help you to go in the right direction and assist you in many other ways.

Opportunity mentor  the person who has ideas or contacts and can often introduce people to these opportunities.

Below we consider each of these and how ABAN can help.


Entrepreneurial mentoring this is where the mentor has an apprentice that they teach entrepreneurial skills, involve them in projects, monitors and motivates them.

In most cases this type of mentor will select people with a lot of commitment and energy, those who are likely to carry out activities they agree to. Usually they will be looking for you to achieve a lot in the agreed period and to share in some way in the profit they assist you to make.

This would be suitable for someone who wants to make a major change in their life, and has the commitment and energy to undertake this. You don't necessarily need any funds of your own.

The second group of people who this may be applicable to are those interested in property investment or development, but taking on emerging markets or leading larger projects.

The success rate is very high, in part because people who will not succeed are usually put off by the commitment involved  Most who undertake this are free thinkers, able to take on commitment and manage their own time and projects.

This type of mentor is usually well connected and can introduce you to projects at the right time, as well as show you how to appraise projects.

ABAN can introduce any member to an entrepreneurial mentor, who wishes to explore this further.


Trade mentoring is where a person has the knowledge of a business and trains another to run a similar business, showing them how to do it, the systems necessary, and introducing them to suppliers and contacts.

Usually you either agree a fee for being shown this, employ the mentor as a non executive director, or involve them as a partner in a joint venture. Not everyone who can do a job, is good at teaching others, or even know how they succeeded.

The success rate is variable, depending on the industry, some businesses are dependent on location, clientele or the personality of the person ruining it, so straight formulas do not always work. Some have difficulty in going along with the mentor when they can see a better way to achieve the same ends.

ABAN can often introduce ABAN Personal Plus members to suitable mentors, going out and finding and negotiating with one when necessary.


Popular mentor is the person who is successful that just basically encourages others, maybe sharing some wisdom or advice along the way.

There is not usually any payment involved or commitment to assist. With no formal arrangement and being more of a social contact it is not possible to gauge the amount of real help this provides.

The advice is usually what they would have done, and may not consider or encourage all or other alternative solutions to be explored.

Within ABAN those who seek this type of wisdom can get it by joining in the Experion projects, and meeting up with others, or by attending ABAN Plus events.


Opportunity mentor  the person who has ideas or contacts and can often introduce people to these opportunities.

Often this type of mentor is involving others to allow their own projects to proceed,  may be doing others a good turn by introducing participants, or getting a commission on introductions.  They may also be doing you a favour expecting it to be reclaimed later, this can lead to falling out when they feel you owe them more than perhaps you feel is justified.  Make sure that you both have a firm understanding of the commitment you have and their motivation for involving you.

Success is low, partly because they pass on the deals that they don't want, and partly as those participating often believe that the inside information is better than it actually is. There is also sometimes a feeling that you need to join in one venture to be included in later ones, which never makes a good reason to become involved.

ABAN does not encourage this type of mentoring, better opportunities are available on the ABAN members website, and in places like the Property Club International exchange,  and you are encouraged to check these out and be happy before you take them and without any pressure. Free membership gets you to these.


WANT to become an entrepreneurial  mentor

You need wide experience, to be able to appraise proposals and to understand members, their abilities and desires. A lot of the other skills revolve around analytical ability, the ability to motivate, communicate, and help them overcome problems.

Mentors should be able to resist the temptation to do it for them, although often you could do something or make a call,  in less time than you use to empower the member, it makes them dependent, good if you are selling consultancy, but makes poor mentoring.

You also need to have the understanding of how to make people successful,  and confidence that if they follow the lead that you give them, they will be successful. In part this is based on monitoring and risk management, and part on understanding those you work with. You may on occasions need to make things happen for them, often without them realising your involvement.

This can be both challenging and very rewarding.

The most difficult part is the split between delegation and encouraging project management and self sufficiency and the opposing need as puppet-master to keep hold of the strings.

Join ABAN Plus as a Personal Plus Consultant, and work with the ABAN chairman, at least to start. There is also an organisation for mentors of this type that he can introduce you to.

Questions and answers

On entrepreneurial mentoring

Will mentoring guarantee to make me successful

No, nothing can ever do that. The risks are lower, and with entrepreneurial mentoring rewards tend to be far higher. Many also find that it helps to have someone to talk to, who is involved, but will let them get on and do it.

Will I make less mistakes if a use a mentor

Yes, but the only way not to make mistakes is not to do anything and of course that would be the biggest mistake of all. The mentor will have already made many mistakes that you will not need to, and the monitoring he does will tend to highlight problems before they become serious.

How successful are entrepreneurial mentors

It will vary a bit but one who aims to make people millionaires from a standing start in a year or two, has never failed where people have completed the project time as agreed. Some having been far more successful than they ever expected can't resist dropping out to spend it.

Can I have my son/daughter converted by a mentor to a successful person rather than a sponge on my resources

Probably not, individuals undertaking entrepreneurial mentoring need to take on commitments and be genuinely interested to succeed, as well as having the energy to get there.

Why do I have to give a percentage of what I achieve to a mentor

Two reasons to reward them for their time and involvement and secondly to keep them interested when another project comes along.

Will I have to move somewhere else or not contact friends or family

No. You may be asked to turn mobile phones off for meetings, or on some other occasions, and some projects for short periods may take you to another country or place.

Will I get a choice of what I do

Sort of, you often get a variety of projects to look at, and appraise and the mentor will then assist you in selecting the right one for you. Once you have made a commitment you are expected to follow through. You would not be asked to do anything that is illegal, puts yourself or others in danger or was action against any country or group of people.

If money is not of prime importance to me can I still become involved in entrepreneurial mentoring

Money is not the motivating factor for most successful entrepreneurs, but does provide a means to measure the game. The skills you need to be successful are the same, be it to make a difference to the world, or to make a lot of money.  Mentors are often delighted to have a person who wants to change the world and can work on this with them.

From deciding I want to become involved how long will it take

Difficult to answer, not long, days, a few weeks perhaps.

Are there any limits to who can become involved

None on size, sex, age, qualifications, race, colour .....  You will need to convince the mentor that you have the real desire to succeed and are likely to have the staying power to make it work.

On trade mentoring

What trades does this apply to

It could be just about any business, trade or occupation, except those where restrictions apply based on qualification or membership of an organisation.

Does this include art areas, authors, painters, framers ....

Yes, but your own artistic ability has an impact as well as the marketing etc.

How long would this last

This varies depending on what it is that you want to learn and the business.  Picking up what is involved in some businesses is very quick others may require a bit longer and perhaps some practice.

Can I reverse the tables and be paid to learn

Possibly. You may be able to take on a trainee position in the business for a period, in order to get experience and work for the business for the period.  You do need to be very clear about how much training you get, or you could end up as the junior doing all the odd jobs and not learn a lot.

The person who is paying tends to have more influence.

How does this differ from a franchise

With franchises you get the training but also a licence to use the business design/style and have to run it according to the rules set. You will get ongoing support.

When you have learnt what you want under trade mentoring you are on your own to do what you want. You won't probably get ongoing support unless you involve your mentor in some way, such as asking them to become a non executive director.

A franchise is far more expensive, not only up front, but in ongoing franchise fees that are based usually on turnover not profit, so you could be loosing money but still have to pay it out.

Is it easy to find trade mentors

Conceptually not difficult, but finding a good one and negotiating a deal that suits them and you can prove challenging.

Should I use a relation or friend as a trade mentor

Difficult to answer. many young farmers start on the family farm before having one of their own, so it works for many of them.

Gaining independence rather than operating a branch of the family business can be difficult.

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