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Becoming a Mentor

Australia Wide: SBMS is looking for new mentors in all States. 

Click here to complete an Expression of Interest.

SBMS Mentors are typically people who’ve run successful small or large businesses and who are familiar with up-to-date business practices.  Not everyone has got what it takes to be a good Mentor, but if you think you have what it takes, read on.

What type of person are we looking for?

Small businesses are all very different, from the new start-up to the well-established.  They can be husband and wife teams, businesses employing dozens of staff, manufacturers, retailers, importers, service providers, there’s no limit. The common thread is they all need Mentoring help and we are the organisation to help them. We seek Mentors who have a passion for sharing their knowledge, making a difference, offering guidance, giving confidence and motivating people. Mentors need a broad business experience with a range of skills and disciplines that enable them to confidently Mentor across this wide spectrum.

A good Mentor will identify and empathise with people who may be struggling to run their own small business. Having experienced the ups and downs of your own business adds real relevance to the advice you can give. There is certainly a role for people with major corporate backgrounds provided they have a clear understanding of the many minor details and difficulties a small businessperson faces.

Ideally, Mentor applicants will have shown a high level of success in their business life, having started run or owned a successful business.

What makes a good Mentor?

A good Mentor is a good listener. Some senior business people find it frustrating to listen to clients with little knowledge of business disciplines, who need help on basics and who are often unaware of how to go about a straightforward business process. But that is the very reason they are asking for help. The SBMS Mentors role is to listen to clients’ hopes, ideas, problems and worries and try to lead the client to find the right solution and way forward and help them to help themselves. This requires patience, humility, imagination, optimism and being non-judgemental and constructive. This can be more intellectually challenging and harder work than you’d expect. SBMS is not a consulting organisation so does not undertake paid project work on behalf of clients. 

How much time is required?

Client meetings usually take 1-1.5 hours. In most cases it’s good to meet at their business premises and clients usually want to do this during office hours.  It can easily be half an hour’s drive each way. So it’s important that a Mentor has the time available to provide support when and where it suits the client. As a guideline, Mentors are expected to take on a minimum of 6 clients a year, usually with 4 sessions each. Sessions can easily take 3-4 hours including travelling and the hour or so writing up the Action Plan afterwards. Spread over a year this equates to a minimum of 2 to 3 hours a week with the usual peaks and troughs of activity. This is a minimum expectation for a genuine commitment and there are numerous Mentors who do many times this.

We are not looking for Mentors that cannot commit to the minimum requirements or who are actively consulting in the business sector

Regional expansion.

Outside of the Metropolitan areas, Mentoring activity is less concentrated and demand can vary. There is just as much need for Mentoring to small businesses regionally but there is less awareness of SBMS and its services. SBMS is in a building phase for regional Mentoring so there are good opportunities for Mentors keen to develop SBMS and its expertise beyond the Metropolitan areas, both creating the demand and satisfying it.

Training and Procedures

SBMS requires all new Mentors to undergo training and briefing in procedures and Mentoring skills. SBMS requires that all Mentors are fluent in the use of websites and email and are well versed in Word and Excel.  There are regular Mentor Information sessions with guest speakers to help all Mentors keep up-to-date with current trends and local Meetings with members of the Administration team and the CEO, where Mentors share experiences.

Clients are encouraged to select a Mentor appropriate to their needs by looking through the Profiles of Mentors on this website. Have a look for yourself at Our Mentors. If you are interested in becoming a Mentor, we’d love to hear from you. 

Click here to complete an Expression of Interest.

SBMS is proudly supported by the Victorian Government & Small Business Victoria