Monday, 15 April 2013

Working with a Creative Business Mentor - Part 2 - Research and Perspective

During my initial meeting with my mentor we examined current issues I was struggling with as well as looking at my goals and aspirations and how I would use the process to help me achieve them. We had a very long chat about the kind of things Debbie thought she could help me with which gave us a loose outline of the kind of things we could realistically achieve within the time frame.

One of the first things she got me to do was examine my purpose and motivation for the goals I had identified and as a result I realised that some of them didn't really belong on my list. The simple act of asking myself some questions had given me time to think about why those goals were really there. As a result I realised that they weren't as important as other goals and I prioritised them to the bottom of my list!

We also thought about medium and long term goals which made me think about what I would like to be achieving in my business 5 years from now. I hadn't ever done this before as I was always thinking about more immediate, short-term, here-and-now issues which was stopping me from looking further into the future. Actually taking the time and allowing yourself to look ahead, and dream about where you would like to be, is exciting and quite liberating.

To help with this Debbie encouraged me to look at other businesses in my field and to write a small case study on the ones I had chosen. Each one was in a different stages of business, from start-ups, mid-term business and well established ones. This made me look at where I fit in to the pecking order and gave me something to aspire to. It helped give me perspective and also to pick up tips on good practice, what works well for other businesses in the creative sector, and it also helped me to realise the things I didn't want to do as well.

I started to research other events I would like to visit, with a view to seeing whether they would be a good 'fit' for my work. I visited several, making notes on how they were organised, what kind of facilities they offered and which section would work well for me. I gained useful knowledge and insight from talking to others who had exhibited at some of the shows which help me make informed decisions about whether or not they were right for me.

This research was really useful and it's a really good principle to utilise when you are thinking about changing direction or thinking of breaking into new markets.

We reviewed my portfolio and discussed options for expanding product lines and talked about opportunities I could put myself forward for, again looking at otherh As a result of this the initial list of goals did change but this is one of the really good things about having a mentor, you don't have to stick rigidly to your goals, you are your own boss and you can change to rules to suit.

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