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Business Mentor

Discussion in 'Small Business' started by JessicaP, 20th Jan, 2016.

  1. JessicaP

    JessicaP Well-Known Member

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    What are your opinions on a business mentor? I've been looking around at a few - even interviewed a couple - and I'm not that impressed yet. I think we are getting too big though and need some help. One of the ones I spoke to was $1600 per month for 2 face to face sessions (and phone/email contact in business hours). That is another property (or 2)!!

    They both felt very "cookie cutter" in their approach so wouldn't suit us, but there are so many out there that I'm finding it hard to distinguish the good from the bad....
     
  2. Propertunity

    Propertunity Exclusive Real Estate Buyers Agent Business Member

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    What type of business do you have? Ideally you want someone with experience in your industry, otherwise help will be too generic IMO.
     
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  3. JessicaP

    JessicaP Well-Known Member

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    We run a commercial landscaping business - main contract installing artificial turf. We currently have 8 guys working for us out of a warehouse in Airport West (Melbourne). Ideally we will sell this business this year in order to work on the property development/investment full time but in order to do that we really need to manage the growing pains of the landscaping business in order to make it as salable as possible.
    You're right about the industry experience - both of the people I interviewed were accountants in a past life :D
     
  4. Mombius Hibachi

    Mombius Hibachi Well-Known Member

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    Jessica, it may be worth reaching out to people in your industry that may be willing to help you.
     
  5. Propertunity

    Propertunity Exclusive Real Estate Buyers Agent Business Member

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    The only problem I see here is that if they are smaller they don't have the experience that @JessicaP is seeking and if they are bigger, they are likely to be a competitor :eek:
     
  6. RPI

    RPI Property Lawyer, Town Planner Business Member

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    Business coaches can be ordinary. True business mentors can often get as much out of the relationship as you do. I don't think the industry is as important, unless they can show really specific insight. Many business skills are v transferable. Growth always has issues - cashflow and staffing being the main ones.
     
  7. Xenia

    Xenia Adelaide Property Manager Business Member

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    Hi Jessica
    I also think some can be ordinary. Perhaps you can post your most pressing questions here and see if some of us are able to help out.
     
  8. D.T.

    D.T. Adelaide Property Manager Business Member

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    That's not really true I've found. Most business owners are very helpful. When I first started my business, I reached out to a few PM's I considered successful and every single one of them was very helpful. We still talk now to catch up on how things are going, ask each other advice, share funny stories etc.

    I know of mortgage brokers who have done similar.
     
  9. Peter_Tersteeg

    Peter_Tersteeg Finance broker and strategist Business Member

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    @JessicaP what business are you in? Others here might know of a business coach in that field and be able to make a recommendation.
     
  10. Ace in the Hole

    Ace in the Hole Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    If you are serious about selling the business this year, my opinion is that you won't be able to implement enough new changes in time for a sale. You'd really want to start thinking about putting it to market now if you want to sell it this year.

    We are also looking to sell out biz this year and have done business coaching for 2 1/2 years up until last October. (Also did some business coaching in the early stages of our biz for about 1 year which was 9 years ago).

    All the changes we have implemented during that time have really worked well and just peaking now, it's a delayed process.

    As Xenia suggested, why not post up some questions or aspects of your business you feel need to be improved.
    You may get some great ideas.
     
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  11. JessicaP

    JessicaP Well-Known Member

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    Nail on the head. Cashflow and staffing. We need better training practices which we are now implementing but it is clear that some of the guys just aren't going to cut it. So we need time and money to put new people on but we are sadly lacking both.

    I've spoken to the bank about an overdraft - any lending makes me nervous though because I don't want to do anything in this business that could jeopardize the real estate stuff.

    Finding a good middle manager is key - as well as 1 more leading hand that can actually convert - and it is proving ridiculously difficult.

    I spoke to a business broker in August last year who suggested we get through our busy period (which is coming to an end now) and then look at listing it - numbers look better that way. Our growth has been exceptional as well so an extra few months to prove the upward trend isn't going to hurt.

    The focus just hasn't been there because we have been so divided between this business and the real estate. We actually only started this business to get into R/E!
     
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  12. JessicaP

    JessicaP Well-Known Member

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    Wondering how much time and effort to put in to be honest, if we are just going to sell it. I'm just worried about the salability of the business as it is currently with all the issues with staff. I guess whoever buys it will have management systems/experience to deal with it?
     
  13. Ace in the Hole

    Ace in the Hole Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    Does the business prevent you from being able to invest and develop property? Are you not able to do both?

    We had exactly the same intentions when we started our business just over 10 years ago.
    Put all our focus into the business to build up cash flow which made investing in property much easier and have done multiple developments, all while working full time in the business.

    I guess you should apply your time towards what makes you the most money, or what gives you the most satisfaction, or both...
     
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  14. Ace in the Hole

    Ace in the Hole Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    How established is the business?
    Did you start it from scratch and how many years has it been operating?
     
  15. JessicaP

    JessicaP Well-Known Member

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    Started from scratch in 2008. Rapid growth from 2012 due to moving into commercial and only having a handful of contracts with big players.

    It is hindering the property business because of our strategy - we move houses and reno them/put them back together (in the process of getting a DB/U in order to do the whole thing). SO MUCH time is currently being poured into the landscaping that we have a half finished house sitting there waiting for some love.

    If we are talking about satisfaction then property is the way....really dislike the landscaping o_O
     
  16. JessicaP

    JessicaP Well-Known Member

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    I would like to start diversifying this year into established properties which will be more neutral in terms of time input but that is probably another thread.... ;)
     
  17. Ace in the Hole

    Ace in the Hole Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    My opinion is that if you've been going 8 years already and you're looking to sell this year, business coaching won't make a lot of difference to the result, substantial changes take time.
    If you've had rapid growth in the past few years with commercial contracts in place, this is what the prospective buyers will pay attention to.
    You can spend money on coaching and implementing changes, but I'd doubt that any significant value can be added in such a short time, unless you're willing to put in a massive focused effort to make big changes.

    Can you get your salespeople to secure some more contracts in the meantime, which is where the real value may lie.
     
    Last edited: 20th Jan, 2016
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  18. Biz

    Biz Well-Known Member

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    Ace, what benefit did you find using the business coach?
     
  19. Ace in the Hole

    Ace in the Hole Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    Mostly just general feedback and discussions of ideas, etc.
    A little bit of accountability, some forward planning.
    Working on all improving various aspects of the business, dealing with problems.
    A lot of little things can add up and makes a big difference when all acting in synergy over time.

    However the biggest difference was hiring the right staff to move our business forward.
    4 of the 8 employees we have we're added in the past 2 1/2 years.
    These employees were selected carefully, and most of this was outsourced which was not cheap, but it's well worth it.
    This has by far been the best thing for our business.
     
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  20. geoffw

    geoffw Moderator Staff Member

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    When I had a business coach the main benefit was having somebody to talk to who could understand. I was drowning.

    While the coach implemented some good practices the cash flow wasn't improving. If he has been able to give me more cash flow I would have been able to afford him for a lo get period.