Research has shown that 70% of small businesses that receive mentoring survive for five years or more, which is double the rate compared with non-mentored entrepreneurs. Source: FSB
Julia, Sneakys director has had huge success, working with mentors, so she wrote about her experience - partly to say thank you and partly to raise awareness of how incredibly important mentoring is.
How many of us can say we have benefited from the wisdom of workplace mentors throughout their working life. I've been very lucky and extremely grateful for the support I've received.
In recent years I have been part of Vistage, a group of my peers and I meet once a month; we support, guide and coach one-another; nobody has an agenda, we have each others best interests at heart and at times I am provided with VERY honest and challenging feedback – I won’t lie, it’s sometimes difficult to hear and sometimes I'm confident I know better – but more often than not, I make better decisions and achieve better results due to their coaching
I’m lucky enough to benefit from a great coach who chairs our group. Richard challenges my way of thinking; he provides coaching and guidance and encourages me to take ownership – nobody is going to make more of a difference to my company more than me and I leave every meeting with a list of actions.
The reason for joining Vistage was because my role as the director of Sneaky wasn’t fulfilling me as it once was, I felt isolated and couldn’t see the wood for the trees. There were opportunities to grow Sneaky, I just couldn't see them at the time. I was daunted by the marketplace, struggling with my confidence and was almost at the point where I was about to give up.
It wasn’t until I started working with my mentor that I was encouraged to explore my own strengths. I went back to basics – we visited my purpose and my why. If you’ve never asked yourself these questions, I would urge you to read The Check-In Strategy by Richard Harris and Robert Craven.
Well, in the last few years, thanks to working with my mentor, my business has a business plan (I know)! ...in fact, several business plans, as Sneaky Experience now has very distinct sub-brands under its umbrella.
The b2b part of the business is now a stand-alone brand with it's own rather funky website.
Our company is profitable, and because of the diversity of the brand, it's not reliant on one source of income. Recent months have been testament to this with the events industry practically shutting down - we have not only diversified with corporate gift 'Boxes of Happiness' but we have several successful family-friendly (and Covid-friendly) events over Christmas.
Do I still have challenges to overcome every day - too right I do, but knowing my mentor and my network are there to support me means everything. No longer do I feel daunted, isolated and lacking confidence. Oh no - world get ready, I'm on a mission!
Working with my mentors has been incredibly important and their unwavering belief in me has provided me with confidence I’d forgotten I had and has led me to once again, believe in myself.
I hope they fully appreciate how much their guidance, support and words of encouragement have impacted my life.