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Forth Architecture

Forth Architecture

Ian set up on his own as a Chartered Architectural Technologist having worked previously for other firms delivering projects to an agreed brief. Ian recognised that he faced a number of challenges including how to create business systems for administration, contract administration processes, marketing approaches and promotion of his services to prospective clients.

Why Mentoring?

Ian was aware of the challenges over and above delivering the work and was looking for assistance to establish and develop the business into a sustainable enterprise. Ian attended various Business Gateway workshops and felt that he needed more of a relationship to counter the challenges of working on his own and handling all roles in a different way of life.  Conversations and contact through the Chamber of Commerce led to the mentoring programme application and the match with Fiona Thornton as mentor.

Mentoring Process

Fiona came to visit and chatted through things as well as sharing background information and histories. Both parties hit it off immediately and a good rapport was established. It was agreed to meet monthly with telephone conversations in between as suits.

The Business Issues

There were three areas tackled during the mentoring period:

  • building confidence to develop client relationships and win new business – running the business brings pressure to gain sustained workflow, target specific types of work/clients and develop client relationships. This brings new challenges for a business owner and requires a different mind-set beyond delivery of the projects. The mentoring assisted by discussing the challenges, finding focus on the bigger picture and developing coping strategies to make everything more enjoyable.
  • procedures in running the business – the mentoring assisted by discussing the challenge and finding a systematised way to approach prospective clients, follow up contact in writing, creating the right impression in pitching to clients and keeping clients suitably informed during project delivery.
  • patterns of work and growth – the mentoring assisted with balancing business and lifestyle choices and finding a suitable blend that fits with the personal and business objectives.

The Mentoring Effects

The mentoring process produced real benefits and business results stemming from the increased confidence of the business owner – this was the key impact with clear evidence of positive changes over the year. The business is now on a stronger footing and Ian is now working much more efficiently and effectively as a result of the mentoring process and discussions. A network of local contacts has been established and relationship building has improved to boost confidence, assist business decision making and improve personal lifestyle. Fees, turnover and profits have all increased and the business is moving in the preferred direction. In the past year turnover has increased by 40%, client base is up 33% and profits are up by 30%. This would not have happened in the absence of mentoring.

What made Mentoring Work?

Several things were important in the success of mentoring:  commitment to the process from both parties; agreeing what to expect and what not to expect; informal setting for the discussions; mutual trust and likability; open discussion and sharing of information/thoughts; suitable intervals between the meetings to give time to think and reflect before deciding and actioning.

Would you recommend mentoring?

As Ian said: “Yes, definitely. All businesses go through the same set of challenges and can benefit from mentoring – it will really make a difference.”