My recent “spare time” has allowed me to enhance my own continuous personal development, which I am hoping will unlock further growth at Flame and allow the company to develop its scale-up ambitions. I have enrolled in the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses programme, and have been away on a few business trips to carry out the course, culminating in a presentation of a business plan. It has given me the opportunity to meet likeminded entrepreneurs from all over the UK and to hear their business stories, as well as draw on experiences. At first it was quite daunting, but I have embraced it, just like when I first started out in business. After the initial introductions, I have grown in confidence and it has helped me tailor my own plan for the betterment of Flame, our directors and the rest of the team. Hand on heart, I can honestly say, that I would never have imagined the company to be progressing at this pace, and it is because of these initiatives and the access to programmes and courses, like Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses, that has allowed me to improve both in a personal and professional capacity. Mentoring has also factored into the success of the firm. I have long worked with a mentor, since establishing the company, and couldn’t recommend them highly enough. I was able to hone my business plan from the outset, as well as count on my mentor’s support and guidance at the touch of button – whether through text, a phone call or email – outside of regularly meeting with him in person. As far as I am concerned, mentoring is one of the key cogs in making a business function for any small business owner or emerging entrepreneur. Having sounded out many ideas and thoughts for the company, it is the constant support and guidance of my mentor that gives me the confidence to follow them through. Take, for example, our expansion into Scotland. At the start of the year I appointed a director to oversee the extension of our services to the Scottish market, and last month we began to double our efforts through a recruitment drive. This will hopefully lead to the creation of 25 jobs, as well as increase our geographical presence in the UK. The seeds were planted in January and will hopefully start to shoot over Easter and continue to blossom as the year progresses. It will be a massive achievement for everyone connected with the company, if we are able to extend out of our traditional North East of England roots. I referenced the importance of putting your name in the hat when it comes to awards and networking opportunities, as this can help boost your social capital and promote your business. Last month a number of our team delivered a presentation ahead of the prestigious H&V News Awards, our industry’s flagship event, where we are in the running for an award. Just being in the mix is a great achievement and we will be sure to enjoy our night in London with the main players in the trade. Again, it provides the perfect opportunity to hand out some business cards and with a bit of luck, we may actually win. Fingers crossed I’ll have some more good news to report in next month’s diary entry.
This article is part of a wider campaign called Founders Diaries, a section of Real Business that brings together 20 inspiring business builders to share their stories. Bringing together companies from a wide variety of sectors and geographies, each columnist produces a diary entry each month. Visit the Founders Diaries section to find out more.
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