There is something so awesome (and frustrating!) about hindsight….
I have been in business for just over 5 years now with The Mint Republic (my jewellery company I bought out from the business I was working in at the time… (I will post a back story on that soon!)
When I started out I had the blessing of buying a business I had been managing for nearly four years before that, and so when the ownership changed hands I literally hit the ground running, I had stock on the shelves, orders to fulfil, customers to meet with etc etc.
My hindsight lesson is that while I had written a business plan/overview for the bank (to help arrange the finance) I hadn’t taken any time or engaged the help of a coach or mentor.
I cannot stress enough the time, energy and money you will save by investing and meeting with a business coach/mentor.
And while I am a major advocate of making mistakes (mistakes = big lessons never forgotten) there is so much more to engaging (and paying) a mentor or coach to guide you, check on you, and share their knowledge.
I have spoken to many business owners on their journeys who have avoided coaching because – ‘what can someone else tell me about my business that I don’t already know’…
Maybe that was me? That and feeling time poor, cash poor and overall reluctant to invest in something that wasn’t product, marketing, or “tangible” my biggest regret was understanding the accountability and focus that a coach would bring to me personally, and the clarity and value it would bring to my business.
I was lucky enough to have a very short meeting with one of NZs top entrepreneurial women, and while it was super short on time, it gave me the quickest insight into the value of working with someone who has more knowledge, varied experiences and tried and tested frameworks that they want to share.
I had applied for some training funding (which I planned to use on digital marketing training) but after my meeting with this amazing businesswoman, it gave me the push I needed to (co) finance some coaching. (more info on this in a subsequent blog)
My tips for finding coaches and mentors are
Collect as you go
You may begin your journey with one coach, but use several along the way
dependant on their speciality, and where you are in your business, you may need different expertise at different stages of your business journey…don’t feel weird about that, it is so valuable to gain knowledge from a varied pool.
Talk to (actually talk to – not just email) a few
Find out what their specialties are…does that align with where you are right now?
Also, personality and working style are really important, for example if you just don’t gel with someone, when they are holding you accountable in your business, you need to respect and like them in order for it to have value.
Ask some big questions
Have you owned your own business? Do you still? How did you exit? have you operated a start up? Etc
The biggest one for me was have you owned your own business…funnily enough my first coach didn’t have the answer I wanted to hear (yes) but her speciality suited where I was at in my business perfectly at the time, so we went for it.
My Coaches to date
Carollyn Chaplin – via The Icehouse
Carollyn is a brand specialist and is amazing a helping you crystallise your brand in addition to being all around amazing.
Toss Grumley – Wolf and Fox
Toss has been fantastic at seeing me through change in my business, taking some emotion out of certain areas and holding me accountable and simplifying