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“The bottom line is that mentoring is just a lot of fun,” says Teresa Bowe from her ‘Board Room’ – the sun-drenched deck of her home and business Belt Road Holiday Park.
“People get into business because they have a passion for what they’re doing and they love their business,” Teresa says over a coffee, “As a mentor it’s great to get involved with such passionate people, who have all this energy but may need some guidance on making it work better for them.”
“I really enjoy meeting and helping these passionate people who are doing such great things.”
Teresa likes to meet with the two businesses she is mentoring over a coffee, keeping it relatively informal and relaxed to get ideas flowing and get to the real areas where she can help out.
“Business owners will always tell their customers that business is booming, but if there are aspects that aren’t going so well it’s hard to find someone to talk to about it. That’s where mentors can be of the greatest value and where, as a mentor, I can help people find the tools they need to really move their business to the next level.”
Mentoring other businesses has also helped Teresa look at her own business with renewed enthusiasm and fresh ideas.
“Mentoring other businesses really helps you learn your own strengths. You walk in and see where you can help the business you’re mentoring, and then you come home all inspired and look at your own business.
 “The more you learn about the successes and challenges of other businesses, the more you learn and think about what you and your business could do. I’ve found it an amazing experience from that perspective.”
Teresa first discovered mentoring as a new business owner almost a decade ago, getting a lot of “really valuable” reassurance on the financial side of her business. The unobstructed views over New Plymouth’s famed Coastal Walkway would indicate that her own mentor did a good job.
In terms of the workload, Teresa generally budgets a couple of days a month, which is predominantly spent face to face with the client, with a few emails when the client needs to bounce an idea or ask a question. The focus is on guidance, rather than doing the work for them. It’s about building capability rather than baby-sitting, as Teresa puts it.
“At the end of the day it’s like building blocks. Helping other businesses get better at aspects of what they do helps the industry they’re in, and that helps the region.”
“We’re all in this together, and it’s about doing what you can to make sure all businesses are doing well, to make sure the region does well.”
It’s obvious that Teresa gets a lot of enjoyment out of being a business mentor, and the businesses she works with are getting a lot of value too.
To find out more about becoming a business mentor, contact Kayleen Schoeman at Venture Taranaki, k ayleen@venture.org.nzor 06 759 5163.

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