“Could I ask your opinion on something?”
This is the exact phrase I used when I spoke to my business mentor a few weeks ago about a pretty big growth opportunity that had come up in the business.
One of our long-term suppliers was looking to sell his business to our agency and he was looking to join us too as part of the package.
For seven years we’d worked together and we’d always got on well. I knew there were some small weaknesses in this particular business but the core service was great – and it was a skills gap that we had in our business.
So, I called my mentor to run through things. We had a relatively brief conversation about the potential of it and I then did a SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats) analysis. Was I looking through rose-tinted spectacles though, because it just seemed so perfect?
We decided to go for it. Roll forward a few weeks and we now have a new technical director, we’ve a raft of new clients and we’re able to offer services like web hosting, through to pretty complex programming.
We’ve found the missing piece of our jigsaw. The exciting thing is that it’s improved the speed of turnaround and quality of our work. We’ve billed more in the first two weeks than we do in an average month, so it been great news all round.
My mentor has bought and sold many businesses, he’s been through the mill. He’s had some challenges along the way but he’s successful, and, I know I can trust him.
So, how many times do you have a question and need a sounding board, or just someone to run an idea by? Someone who doesn’t get over excited (like I sometimes do) and someone who has no emotional attachment to your business and is therefore totally impartial. This is where I believe growth mentors can be at their strongest.
In some ways it’s a spin off, but in actual fact it’s at the core of why having mentor can really work for you – a trusted person to speak to and who’s there to support you as needed.
So next time you think ‘who should I speak to about this’ the next question you should ask yourself is ‘Where’s the number for Boost Business Lancashire. It could be one of the most rewarding phone calls you ever make!
Find out more
Boost Business Lancashire offers a growth mentoring programme matching business owners with experienced entrepreneurs. To apply for a place on the programme, complete our online form or call 0800 488 0057.
Morgan Rothwell, director of D&M Creative Ltd.