I recently had the excruciating task pleasure of deleting some of the old emails in my inbox/junk box and every other folder on my computer. Something I don’t seem to ever find enough time for.
The reason I am mentioning this task is that many of you I know have emails coming out of your wazoo like I do.
The problem for me is that I start reminiscing and time disappears when I remember what those emails meant to me at the time. The ones I had a lot of pleasure reading again were in regards to the mentoring programs that Inspiring Women were running.
Old emails between myself and NSW Trade & Investment negotiating which person would be accepted onto the program with me giving reasons why a particular person should be given a chance even though they technically didn’t meet all the criteria.
Looking back now, some of the people I was spot on about, they just needed a chance and were hungry enough to give it their all without excuses. Others sadly did fall by the wayside for various reasons and sometimes because of things outside of their control. Some people I had forgotten that I had to put a case forward for them as they are so successful now.
I recently had lunch with one person who did the program 5 years ago (Where HAS the time gone?).
We talked about others who had been on the program at the same time and how successful some of them had become. This was the Young Entrepreneurs program, they may not all be so young any more but they are leaving their mark.
For the participants who have been part of the mentoring programs it was the start of understanding businesses in general. What makes a successful business, how all the parts work together and how different industries have different challenges and ways they work together. The program is a stepping stone.
Some topics were easily understood and others take longer to understand how they fit.
From experience it takes about 18 months to 2 years to see a real change beginning in the business direction.
A wisdom settles in.
One business in particular came to mind, I’m sure she won’t mind if I mention her, Sacha from Escape to Paradise. Sacha was nervous about asking for help and the topic facilitator had given her the confidence and the scripts on how to ask for that help she needed. I remember the conversation well that was had in the meeting room and I’m sure a lot of the other participants do too. Now her stock is in the major stores across Australia and overseas, has her products displayed on the glossy interior magazines, has been looking for more space to store her stock due to expansion and importantly (thanks to Facebook) I can see she travels to exotic places enjoying her passion for the water. A nice balance.
Has this been an easy road for her?
Probably not, it never is. Running a business is full of ups and downs. Plus retail is a tough gig at the moment.
Life always throws challenges along the way. But challenges can also be opportunities.
Growing a business is usually painful as it is about stepping outside your comfort zone.
Things can go wrong and usually do. It’s how you learn from that experience that determines the direction your business moves in.
Some become paralysed in fear about stepping outside of their comfort zone. They know what to do but cannot make themselves do it and hope that someone else will do it for them.
Everyone experiences it. It’s just that if you become stuck there it can be to the detriment of your business.
Without sounding ageist, it can be easier when you are younger as you tend to dream big and don’t always think of the consequences.
That’s part of the joy of being young, the possibilities are endless and who thinks about consequences when you are young? That’s the risk taker side of you, is it still there?
I remember another young person saying he had “discovered” that his staffing issues were solved when he realised hiring older mums was a bonus. He said “they have all this experience, much more than me and are much more reliable than hiring people my own age”.
Out of the mouths of babes – sigh……
I run into some of you who have done the programs and are so proud of what you are achieving.
I hear your frustrations with other business owners who don’t do “the right thing”.
Those business owners that constantly sell, sell, sell have a way to go yet.
Please be patient and remember that you too were like that but you now have an understanding about business that will take others awhile to learn before they can catch up to you. Be understanding.
……And maybe they may never catch up to you, so what are you worried about?
If it really bothers you, then do them a favour and have a quiet word as sometimes as business owners we forget how our customers feel.
For those of you who did sessions with me on becoming each others customers, you should remember it can be quite confronting to hear what customers think about your brand. Be gentle and wise, supportive and practical.