I’ve been lucky enough recently to have had support from 2 local Councils in expanding our Veri business in Northern Ireland. I have no problem in admitting when I need help, but it was with trepidation that I stepped into the mentee role.
Rosemary Morrison www.directus-ni.co.uk was my Business mentor on Belfast City Council’s Think Do Be and Mary Macrory www.omaghenterprise.co.uk on Fermanagh and Omagh District Council’s Kickstart. Both these mentors clearly wanted to help me on my journey. From my first meetings, I could feel that they were interested and invested in my improvement and development, and in getting Veri out into the market.
Is it just talk?
It is so much more! Talking out where you are, what you are planning for and where you need to build the skills to improve, are all vital, however, the right mentor brings so much more to the table.
Building a network
I needed help, particularly in building a network of business contacts in Northern Ireland. My mentors were not only knowledgeable, but also generous. The key for me was that they recognised the value of Veri and could see applications for our software that I hadn’t thought of. Even if your mentor has little experience in your industry, you can rest assured that they will know someone who has. A warm introduction shows that your mentor believes in you, and will vouch for your worth. As a new company this was vital in raising the profile of our cutting edge Veri software.
Your mentor has been there, done that. An experienced mentor will help you grow by learning from their mistakes. A good mentor has walked the walk, and they share that knowledge with you. My conversations with my mentors helped improve my confidence, speaking in a safe place you can voice your ideas and aspirations without fear, and address the ever present “imposter syndrome”. Stress, work life balance, managing work relationships, all of these topics are open for discussion, as they impact on your ability to do your job effectively.
Mentoring can be expensive, and if you aren’t in a position to pay, reach out to your local council and find out about what is available in your area. Currently Veri is being used to implement a number of mentor style programmes as a response to Covid-19. Rebound, Digi Growth and MentorsWork are all available to help business navigate their way through and help them grow.
Even Mentors Hate Paperwork
It’s evident in the mentoring arena, that there is frustration with time spent on paperwork, duplication, communication with funders/managers – and we all know someone who can help with that! Fioru Software Solutions and Veri to the rescue!
Noleen Neill is our Northern Ireland Business Development Manager