• Money and finance

Planning for Long-Term Advisory Needs

Steps to successfully transitioning from the Futurpreneur mentoring partnership to long-term advisory support.

At any stage in your mentoring partnership, you can look ahead to reflect the close of this relationship. As you wind down your mentoring relationship you must evaluate the needs of the business for additional mentoring support.

Consider the following questions as you determine your future advisory needs:

  • Is the business experiencing high rates of growth or unexpected growth?
  • Are you in operating in a complex business environment?
  • Do you need to quickly respond to business issues?
  • Are there gaps in your current knowledge or experience that may affect the business?
  • Is your industry highly competitive or an emerging market?

There are a range of options available to your business:

Paid professionalsUse paid professionals such as accountants, lawyers or marketing experts on an as-needed basis. This approach provides the least amount of support and requires financial resources and therefore is only advisable for well-established businesses in a mature industry.
A new mentorSelect a replacement mentor from your contacts in your network through an informal selection processor Entrepeer. You may also consider inviting your departing mentor to provide suggestions on potential candidates. Your challenge may be to find someone with the desired knowledge who is willing to donate their time.
Advisory panelCreate an Advisory panel of several mentors each with a knowledge bank that the business needs. Organised formal quarterly meetings as a panel provides continuous support across a range of business functions. Locating your advisors may take time however the expectations of each panel member in not as great as for a single mentor.
Board of advisory professionalsEstablish a Board of advisory professionals with advanced knowledge to guide a business on track to become a large enterprise. These individuals would be strong choices for members of your future board of directors however will expect compensation for their advisory services, often in the form of stock options or consulting contracts. To select an Advisory board, enlist the help of your accounting or law firm to recommend candidates.

The steps in transitioning out of your Futurpreneur mentoring relationship are:

STEP 1: Assess your needs (3 months prior to the end of your mentoring partnership)

  • Develop a list of the skills or knowledge that you and your management team lack that
    must be supported by advisory services.

STEP 2: Determine the type of advisory support you need (3 months prior)

  • Based on the list you have created you can determine the type of support.
  • If your list has a small number of topics and each one does not present a significant risk to the business, you may want to simply replace your mentor.
  • If your list contains a variety of topics, you will probably be inclined to set up an Advisory Panel.

STEP 3: Identify a profile of the ideal person(s) to provide advice (2 months prior)

  • Create a list of the knowledge or experience you are seeking as well as the working style that best suits your needs.
  • Complete the Mentoring Profiler to gain insights into your own style and for suggestions on finding a strong match.

STEP 4: Develop a list of potential candidates in your community (2 months prior)

  • Enlist the help of your existing mentor to create a list of good sources for advisory support.
  • Without compensation, it may be easiest to secure advisors through an introduction from a colleague, friend or family member.
  • Highlight the knowledge you admire when you approach the candidate and make the time commitment well-defined i.e. how many hours each month are you asking for?

STEP 5: Selection (1 month prior)

  • Whether you are selecting one mentor or building an Advisory Board, you need to have a discussion as part of the selection process. This enables you to confirm you are compatible and also gives your potential advisor the opportunity to learn more about you before his or her commitment is final.
  • We recommend making the selection process informal, perhaps a coffee or a lunch discussion.

The key to a successful transition is to begin the process well in advance of the end of your Futurpreneur mentoring partnership. This will give you time to take a thoughtful, planned approach to your advisory needs in the future. We are confident that as you reflect on the value of your mentoring relationship and consider the needs of your business, you will be best able to design your advisory support for the future.