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READING SECTION 2 – QUESTIONS 15-27
Read the text below and answer Questions 15-20.
The Benefits of Having A Business Mentor
If you’re starting your own business, you probably need a mentor. This is a business person who volunteers to give their time to help somebody else with their work – particularly somebody who is new to the business. They have a wealth of experience they are willing to share, perhaps from setting up and running their own company. The mentor’s role is to support, develop, stimulate and challenge. However, business mentors won’t solve your problems for you or tell you what to do: they will talk things over with you, rather than acting as consultants. Many people while setting up their first business have found that a mentor can have a very positive effect on its success.
Why business mentoring is important:
If you have a gap in your knowledge or experience, then mentoring could work very well for you. For example, you may have a great concept for a business but need a bit of assistance to turn it into a successful venture.
A mentor can provide you with a number of benefits, such as:
• guidance on developing and improving your business
• help with decisions – particularly difficult ones
• ideas for new products or services, or for working practices that will improve your efficiency
• tips for your business that are gained from practical experience
• access to a network of contacts with other business people
A business mentor can also help you to:
• develop key business skills
• improve your problem-solving abilities
• build confidence
• work on your personal development
Face-to-face business mentoring:
If you decide that face-to-face business mentoring is right for you, mentor and mentee should decide in advance on the nature of the relationship.
You will need to agree on the degree of involvement that suits you both. Some mentors and mentees work extremely closely, keeping in touch with each other most weeks or even most days. In the majority of cases, however, a mentor will provide help with every few weeks or months. In either case, they might meet, speak on the phone, or exchange emails.
You should also agree on a level of structure to suit you both. Mentoring can be a very formal process with regular meetings which follow a specific agenda and work towards a specific set of goals. It can also be quite a casual arrangement, where the mentee calls on the mentor as and when problems or questions arise.
Complete the sentences below.
Choose ONE WORD ONLY from the text for each answer.
Write your answer in boxes 15-20 on your answer sheet.
A mentor 15……………………….. to help a new business person.
Mentors have a different role from 16…………………………
A mentor can:
• help you turn your idea into a successful business
• assist when you need to make 17…………………………
• suggest how your business can increase it’s 18…………………………
• introduce you to a business network
• help you to develop your skills, abilities and provide you with more 19…………………………
To be agreed:
• how much 20 ……………………….. the mentor should have
• how much structure the mentoring process should have.
Read the text below and answer Questions 21-27.
A Planning Process For Middle Sized Projects
Any business project – such as reducing energy costs, or improving efficiency – needs to be planned, and time spent planning will save far more time later on.
The typical stages of this planning process are explained below.
- Your first task is to spot what needs to be done. Examine your firm’s current position, perhaps making a formal analysis of its strengths and weaknesses. Then think about how you might improve that position: what opportunities are there for achieving this?
- The next step is to decide precisely what the aim of your plan is. This is best expressed in a simple single sentence, to ensure that it is clear and sharp in your mind. Doing this helps you to avoid wasting effort on irrelevant side issues.
- Next, you should work out how to do it. It is tempting just to grasp the first idea that comes to mind, but it is better to consider a wide range of options: this way, you may come up with less obvious but better solutions.
- Once you have explored the options available to you, the selection of which option to use is the next step. If you have the time and resources, you might decide to evaluate all options, carrying out some planning, such as cost, for each. Normally you will not have this luxury.
- You already have a broad idea of what your project will consist of. Now is the time to work out the full details, identifying the most efficient and effective method of carrying it out, including answering the questions of ‘who’, ‘what’ and ‘when’.
- The next stage is to review your plan and decide whether it will work satisfactorily. This evaluation enables you to change to another option that might be more successful or to accept that no plan is needed.
- Once you have finished your plan and decided that it will work satisfactorily, it is time for implementation. Your plan will cover how this is to be done.
- Once you have achieved a plan, you can close the project. At this point, it is often worth assessing the project to see whether there are any lessons that you can learn.
Choose ONE OR TWO WORDS ONLY AND/OR A NUMBER from the text for each answer.
Write your answers in boxes 21-27 on your answer sheet.
Complete the flow-chart below.
Suggested stages in a planning process >
For help to answer these questions with practice please read the posts below >>
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