Having run my own food and drink centric brand design company for over 20 years and having launched over 200 successful brands, I’ve performed the role of a food mentor to numerous food and drink start-ups and entrepreneurs.
I’ve learnt that being a food mentor comes with a huge amount of responsibility as I know that to my mentee my advice is hugely important and may change their business lives forever, so I treat it as such.
I know that a good mentor has to provide more than just guidance and answers during career transitions or whilst trying to solve a particular problem, they also need to provide motivation inspiration and support to help their mentee get to the next level and fulfil their potential.
So for me, there are five key aspects to my role.
I’m a good listener, I love being with people and helping them solve their problems.
I help to remove roadblocks and build bridges by sharing my experiences, both good and bad. And some of my learnings over my 42 year career can help my mentees avoid some of the mistakes that I made.
I have an ability to visualise a problem and to identify the options to solve it and whilst I may put forward suggestions, my role is to present options, not to make decisions for my mentee.
- Deliver honest feedback
Whilst I know it’s wonderful to get positive support and be cheered on, it’s also important to be honest and to help identify potential problems. Running a business isn’t straight forward and things don’t always go to plan so it’s important to consider your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats as you develop your plans.
But my empathy enables me to ‘tune in’ to each of my clients as an individual and I work hard to convey my concerns in a constructive way that plays to their strengths.
- Motivate and inspire
The key for me personally is to influence and inspire the next generation of foodpreneurs to become strong, motivated, confident, and thoughtful leaders. If I’m able to accomplish that, I consider my mentorship a success.”
An important part of my role is to inspire my mentee to reach their fullest potential and to challenge their comfort zone.
- Establish mutual respect
“The relationship between the food mentor and mentee must be based on mutual respect, trust and support. I see it as a partnership which fosters acceptance and confidence in which both parties feel they are able to communicate openly and present their thoughts.
I support this by being generous with my time so I’ll never clock-watch and say time is up if we’re well into discussing a particular problem.
- Be open
I believe it’s important to be open and honest with my mentees. I always offer what I believe is best advice so I won’t pull any punches or avoid presenting negative feedback.
But I recognise that no two career paths are the same and ultimately the mentee’s decisions and career path are up to them.
For more information about how I help my clients launch new food and drink concepts, take a look at Food Brand Strategist.
And take a look at BoomBod as an example of my work.
If you’d like to explore how I can help you launch a new food idea in my role as a food mentor, ping me an email so we can schedule a call.