My raison d’etre as a business mentor and coach is to make small business ownership easy for work-at-home solopreneurs. The best way I have found to do that is in affordable business mentoring groups, starting at just £50 a month. If you are wondering how group business mentoring works, let me explain.
My small business incubator group for beginners is called Small Business Big Magic. It costs fifty pounds a month to be a member and there are fantastic bargains for paying a year in advance. This is how SBBM works.
- We start with a 1-2-1 personal induction on Skype, just you and me, which lasts anything up to an hour. In this call I want to know all about you and your business so that when you start to come into the group calls I will be able to help you best – and fast.
- There are ten group drop-in calls a month to a regular repeating schedule which becomes familiar. They take place on Webex which is a VOIP platform. This sounds more complex than it is. I will show you how it works in our induction call and help you if you get stuck. It’s a bit like Skype in that your call doesn’t cost you anything. There are ten of these calls each month, and each call last 90 minutes (time allocation increases with membership numbers). Come as often as you have something you want to talk to me about. And if I don’t see you for too long, I shall nudge you and ask you where you are and why you are hiding! Best thing to do is look at the schedule, find a call-in time that suits you and diarise it so that I see you at least once or twice a month, more often if you wish. All calls are recorded and you receive the recording immediately after the call so you can listen again if you want to, or listen later if that suits you better than attending live. I flag in our Facebook group who attended and what we talked about so you can work out whether it’s worth your time to listen. Many do as there are nuggets of business wisdom in most calls and you feel less alone by listening to others going through the same challenges as you.
- These calls take place 2-3 times a week but they are not webinars. I am not teaching from the virtual stage. I am available to you for you to drop in anytime that suits you during the 90 minutes, get what you need and get off, or hang around listening live to the others. The busiest call I’ve ever had enjoyed 9 callers so I had to ration them to ten minutes each that day, but this is rare. Often there just are two to three, perhaps as many as six callers depending on the time of day and day of the week; calls are scheduled to suit all global time zones though currently we are mostly Europeans. During the month there is plenty of time for all, on average 30 minutes for you which you can take in chunks as often as you drop-in. Sometimes I am there alone, just waiting for you to come and talk to me. I keep the line open for the full 90 minutes and there’s no need to come at the beginning, just drop by when you can.
- A Facebook group which is lively and supportive. This is a fabulous community which helps you to brainstorm ideas, looks at your web copy and offers an opinion, takes your surveys, has brilliant ideas with you and for you and it’s a place to ask questions between calls. We’ll pick you up when you fall and help you back on your feet. We’ll be rooting for you when you have to go and do scary things like pitch meetings, presentations or anything for the first time. We can tell you how it was for us and help you find what you need to get you through.
That’s SBBM. That’s how that one works. There’s plenty of room for you if you need some Big Magic in your Small Business as the capacity here is almost infinite. I just lengthen the calls as more members join.
Next up, for those at a more intermediate level in their business, is Club 100. This has a finite membership of about 40 people as it includes a 1-2-1 60 minute Skype call with me each month and there’s only so many of those I can do. Right now, we have six seats left and so if the time is right for you today, do grab one of those for yourself. Talk to me – quick!
- Club 100 costs £150 a month (with similar stonking discouns for full payment for a year in advance) and includes that personal Skype 1-2-1, just us two, which you can take in either 1 x 60 minutes or 2 x 30 minutes as suits you best. I will advise on that too as I get a feel for you quite quickly and whether you need in-depth once a month, or little and often to keep you buoyed up and on track. We can also play it by ear during the call. If you run out of things to talk about, we’ll bank the rest of your time for future use. Claim it whenever you need it.
- You are strongly encouraged to send in a weekly email check-in report on Mondays to our Google Group. I read and reply to all of these emails but there’s no requirement for you to do the same. This makes Mondays a deliciously busy day for me where my focus is entirely on Club 100 and its members, but it also means I keep up to date weekly with your thinking, feeling and progress (or lack thereof!).
- On Monday afternoons 2-4 GMT there’s a live Facebook chat where you can pop in for a little extra “live”, a just-in-time question, some support or hand-holding or advice, or just to check in with our lively and lovely Club 100 community for some ideas and inspiration. No requirement to be there at all. Some skim through the chat later to see if there’s something there for them.
- Another gorgeous Facebook group, where would we be without those? Some clients don’t play in these at all, or minimally, as they are busy and find them a distraction. If you are a speedy typist and a sociable online type or someone who likes to ask what others think and/or to help and support others, you’ll find plenty of value here. You can get a quick answer from me and the gang without waiting for your next call.
Both groups are invited to email me personally if there’s anything they want to discuss outside the group. If you are new round here it’s as well I warn you that I am a little bit woo woo – check out that strapline Money-Making Magic for Enlightened Entrepreneurs – but it isn’t compulsory. I also have both feet on the ground rooted in forty years of business ownership and twenty of those as a small business accountant.
The whole point of these groups is to make it affordable for all to access the business advice you need to accelerate your own small business success. But if group work isn’t right for you, you need and want and deserve and are ready to invest in individual attention or your profile requires confidentiality and privacy, then we need to be working together privately. That’s also an option. As with anything in this life, all you have to do is ask.