International Business Mentor’s First Quarter 2014 Survey of our Mentoring Clients

26th Feb , 2016

Current strategic concerns of our mentoring clients

Where to grow our businesses

In a recent survey of our mentoring client much has been discussed on the changing landscape for businesses. In particular the reduction in business growth and jobs. For example, in certain markets of the manufacturing industry and a range of other businesses, this has led many clients to question where their potential future economic growth should be aimed at.

Another area of concern has been the slowdown in many mining sectors, which after a sustained period of investment is now moving to harvesting the returns from its investment and production.

Many consider that they should look at the industries that might have strong business growth including agribusiness, tourism, gas extraction, education and financial services (such as wealth management).

To facilitate economic growth it was thought essential that businesses move into growth areas and this will be required by both large business and the SME sectors which currently employs large numbers of people in many economies.

Growth needs greater Business Mentoring support

Business owners and managers responsible for growth are demanding increasing support. A part of this support is needed from our International Business Mentors.

Business mentoring support is essential given the relatively high degree of entrepreneurship needed to grow businesses, as turning good ideas into good sound sustainable business is not without difficulty.

Our clients also expressed concern that many new businesses tend to fail within the first couple of years of inception and established businesses can also retreat from new areas after initial poor results.

Business owners and managers growing more risk averse

Our mentoring clients told us in this survey that they have become more risk averse and fear failure in new areas, given the last few years of problematic market conditions and the difficulty in getting funding generally.

Our business mentors also confirm this risk aversion and report that they have had increasing discussions with the mentoring clients on growing the businesses but increasingly on the detrimental impact of possible of failures.

Our business mentors have also discussed more greatly the likely outcomes of growth and what might be appropriate action to take but also highlighted the alternative downsides of not growing the businesses.

Lack of success becomes a retreat from growth in new areas or exiting the businesses

From an economic growth perspective generally many of our mentoring clients consider it is a great pity that many fellow business owners, who fail early on in their ventures, tend to retreat back to secure and paid jobs, and that established businesses with limited success in new areas retreat quickly back to the familiar. This is considered to reduce business generally and inhibit overall business growth.

International Business mentors helping to work through growth

Our business mentors are increasingly assisting our mentoring clients who are owners, management or entrepreneurs to critically consider their growth from many aspects, such as:

  • The products or services most likely to be right for each market
  • How to properly plan and organise the operations of their business to deliver these products and services
  • How to build their organisation for the future
  • How implement their competitive strategy
  • To improve their supply chain management
  • To analyse the performance of products, services, customers and management
  • To better predict and to manage
    • Profits,
    • Cashflow,
    • Returns

All of which should better support their business growth plans and successful outcomes.

Lack of Funding

Another area of concern from our clients is the lack of appropriate funding for each stage in their business growth life cycle.

From the point of view of start-ups the owners tend to commit all of their own funds into the business.

  • Once they’re up and running they need to attract venture capital once they’ve proved their ideas.
  • This funding will assist in commercialisation on a larger scale to achieve profitability, cash flow and returns needed to satisfy the provider of the venture capital and the original owners.

Mentoring clients also expressed concern over the number of businesses that they know where the smart innovators and successful businesses owners leave their home country and migrate to where they can find better venture capital markets.

Business Education needed to improve and support business growth

Our business mentoring clients also indicated that they thought that education systems needed to generate good business owners. They suggest that the higher education systems teach students from all subjects how those subjects relate to the business environment and how they might start up their own businesses rather than simply moving into employment careers.

Conclusion on First Quarter Survey 2014 of our mentoring clients

In conclusion, we find many of our business mentoring clients are struggling with where they will direct growth in their businesses.

They want increasing support from our International Business Mentors.

Our mentoring clients have become more risk averse with new start-ups or development into new areas of business.

They want the development of a deeper venture capital market for funding.

Our mentoring clients would like to see more higher education that prepares the students to think like entrepreneurs, so that more new businesses can evolve and be created to support the overall growth in economies.

David Cartney, 17th of April 2014.

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