Are you in business for more than six months?
Are you planning to start a business in the near future?
Do you have a mentor?
Do you really understand how best to create a social media strategy, to write a business plan, to evaluate your progress, to understand the needs of your customers?
We have answered ‘yes’ to the first three questions and while we would have answered ‘no’ to much of the fourth question some time ago, we are now well on the way to answering it with a ‘yes’.
One of the aspects of business that cannot be underestimated is that of ensuring that you have access to a mentor. We find our local enterprise board is wonderful. It provided us with three mentoring sessions for free when we initially started our business and although we now pay for the mentoring sessions, it really is money well spent. Apart from improving our focus in that we have to prepare for a meeting with a mentor, we also have to ensure that we have completed our ‘homework’. All of our various mentors help us to ‘think outside the box’ by encouraging us to review and evaluate, to consider the business from different viewpoints including that of the customer and the bank!, and helping us to plan effectively. ‘Mentors in the plural’ – are you exclaiming in surprise? Yes, we have more than one mentor. We don’t meet each of them every month but occasionally as the need arises. Sometimes we might meet one of the mentors once a month for three or four months if we are focusing on a strategy or a campaign. The Beacon Coach helps us with our sales and marketing strategies, from evaluating our business plan and moving it forward as circumstances change. It was the Beacon Coach that helped us to realise that the Whisker Street shop wasn’t listening to its customers and it was important that we should. As I said last week, she was right as Whisker St is now closed and we have had record sales this week. We are also considering starting a second blog, following advice from the ladies at Write on Track. If we are going to extend our business by setting up a franchise or of offering online shopping, we will, of course, require a website. An integrated blog could be used to improve the search engine optimisation of our website as well as showcasing our ranges of cheese, our customer care, our knowledge and our expertise. We could use it as a communication tool with our customers too.
This blog is used more to share our business knowledge and experience with other entrepreneurs and start up companies, as we wish to improve our profile and sell more copies of our ‘What is Marketing?’ book so a blog specifically for our Cheese Mall customers is a good idea. Do you have a mentor for your business? If yes, have you found them to be useful and helpful? If no, are you convinced you are really doing as well as you might be?