What does mentorship involve?

One phrase embodies mentorship – adding value. A mentor is a critical friend.

PRoComm addresses all the reasons why businesses fail, through our holistic capacity building program (monitoring, mentoring and skills transfer). Our customised approach supports businesses to become fully sustainable, independent, and to propel growth.

 To enhance impact, we enjoy working one-on-one, on-site, with SMME’s – especially those in remote areas, as they do not have access to all the opportunities and information as those in the bigger centres.

We start with the “jockey” first – empowering the entrepreneur and ensuring he/she has the necessary skills to take the business forward. Changing mindsets, creating a positive attitude and turning challenges into opportunities are our focus areas.

Thereafter we move on to the business, where we prefer to be hands-on and to have a good understanding of its operations, and then we systematically offer practical, custom-made solutions to improve the business holistically. A small tweak on HOW business is conducted can make a huge difference to the bottom-line. Building a trust relationship with the mentee is key.

From time to time we are asked to work on mentorship projects, where many businesses are sponsored to undergo mentorship. These are mostly through Government initiatives and include a skills development/training component. In the previous financial year we were part of a team of mentors who assisted more than 220 enterprises (each with their own unique challenges) across South Africa in the Tourism Industry.

The more comfortable the mentee is, and the more they share, the better the impact and return on investment. Being a professional team, confidentiality is a given. As your mentor, we will provoke your thoughts by asking lots of questions, and making you answer them yourself. A mentor does not spoon-feed or fix what is broken – it is the mentee’s responsibility to take ownership and implement newly gained knowledge.

As mentors we see our main role as that of “keeping the mentee true to their story”, witnessing their journey, broadening their horizons and helping them to turn their dreams into realistic, achievable goals.

Through mentorship we aim to change behaviour, mindsets, and habits, and to fast-track purposeful impact.

What is the duration of mentorship?

The duration of a mentorship intervention can be a minimum of 3 months to a maximum of 36 months. Thereafter the mentee will be equipped and empowered to fly solo.

The frequency of individual sessions can be arranged by the mentee – how many sessions per month, duration of each session and the most suitable day.

Sessions can be weekly, bi-weekly or monthly, depending on the mentee’s need and budget.

To have meaningful discussions, sessions should be around 2 – 4 hours per time.

Our mentorship model

We are firm believers that every business can benefit from entrepreneurial mentorship, but we don’t believe that one mentoring model fits all businesses.

While some businesses or business owners will benefit from a traditional one-on-one program, others may find that a combination approach, perhaps with group mentoring to network and learn from other businesses in the industry, is more suitable. In bigger groups, peer-to-peer mentoring is encouraged.

The approach can be formal or informal, and in both cases, impact is measured and the mentee should take ownership of the process. We use the “push and pull” strategy to help mentees to overcome their insecurities and challenges.

Although our focus is more on the leader – the “jockey” who needs to take the business forward – the goal is to have all role-players in an organisation to understand the strategic focus and direction of the business, and to ensure that nobody is “the weakest link

Should a different mentorship model be required, we call on our networking partners to assist.

Who can benefit from mentorship?

All budding entrepreneurs and established business owners. Our core focus is on SMME’s (Small, Medium and Micro Enterprises), and support normally starts at the conceptual (seed) stage, working through to start-up, expansion and all growth cycles. It is preferable that the business should already be registered with CIPC.

You will benefit if any of these barriers are holding you back:

  • Lack of business skills, especially marketing and financial management experience.
  • A narrow-minded mindset and negative, demotivated attitude.
  • Being in a comfort zone, or not having an inquisitive mindset, or lack confidence.
  • Not being realistic, having no roadmap (thus operations are handled haphazardly).
  • No clarity on what the next step should be, or being stuck between phases and not knowing how to overcome stumbling-blocks.
  • Feeling unfulfilled or overwhelmed due to time constraints, being a “Jack of all trades, in a one-man-show”, without knowing how to prioritise tasks and opportunities.
  • Those in rural areas do not have the same access to information and opportunities, as their colleagues in the bigger metropolitan areas. Save

Our mentorship experience

Towards the end of 2013 / 2014, PRoComm had phased out all other services offered, and started focussing on mentorship and coaching alone. Since then we have gained experience by working on two group mentorship programmes with more than 250 business owners on board, while also nurturing individual mentees.

Our key expertise is in helping entrepreneurs, especially in the SMME bracket, to develop a stronger foundation for business operations, and eventually to have a strategic business development growth plan in place to ensure sustainability of the enterprise.

One step would be to implement sound operational systems that will:

  • Add to effectiveness, efficiency, and productivity, resulting in profitability and sustainability.
  • Put systems in place to help the business to be more organised, cost-effective and time-bound.
  • Provide historical data to base informed decisions on for the future.

The outcome of mentorship is an entrepreneur who has faced tough challenges and has conquered them. As a business owner, he/she will now have the ability and capacity to lead the enterprise into the future.