“a fabulous, generous, informative event full of intelligent, serious & committed business women”
“I am looking for direction,” said one delegate, “looking for inspiration & more confidence,” said another and “I want to generate more business - move forward a few steps.”
These were just some of the answers to my question, “What are you hoping to gain from today’s event?”, at the beginning of Staffordshire Chamber’s Let’s Do Mentoring Female Showcase day at Yarnfield Park in June. Building on the hugely successful Let’s Do Mentoring program, Staffordshire Chambers of Commerce hosted an inspirational day for women in business. The day saw a dynamic mix of women including mentors from the program, women in business, women setting up in business and some who were still at the planning stage. Alongside them were a group of invited speakers, trainers, photographers and experts, creating a real buzz from arrival to the last goodbyes of the day.
So, what are the challenges for women in business and why would they need to be involved in mentoring? Many of the women sited a lack of experience in certain areas of their business; the challenge of balancing work with their family commitments; a lack of confidence; a burning desire to grow their business but sometimes losing sight of why they started their business; simply wanting support as they take their business to the next level.
Let’s Do Mentoring is run from the Staffordshire Chamber and is backed by the European Regional Development Fund. Mentors give their time for free and businesses are able to gain up to 15 hours of free guidance from a highly experienced mentor. As the mentors have a wide range of knowledge, from accountancy to marketing, the mentor managers work hard to match mentors to the needs of applicants.
Not all women at the event had yet taken up the opportunity of a mentor, but had the opportunity to meet up with mentors on the day and talk to those who had already started their mentoring journey. Those that had taken part in mentoring said it had helped them to stay focussed while keeping vision in their business; helped them to remind themselves of the reasons that they had gone into business; helped them move from “dabbling in business” to growing into a serious concern.
Kerry Parry from J&L Recruitment said of their mentoring so far, “Mentoring has helped us with our targets and vision and when things get tough, to remind ourselves of why we are running our own business.”
The day was an opportunity for mentors, experts and women in business to share knowledge, ideas and stories and to learn something new. There were 3 training sessions during the day: LinkedIn for Business, Instagram & Pinterest and a workshop on confidence and sales.
Laura from HH Marketing delivered the Instagram & Pinterest training and said, “..a fantastic day, celebrating women in business….it was great to be able to shed light into the mist of how to use social media well and boost business.”
Nikki Patel from Digital Eyes added, “Although we focus much of our time on social media training, it’s been fabulous to meet all the ladies face to face today and hear, first hand, what affects their own businesses.”
The day was finished off with an inspiring workshop on Confidence and Sales by Michelle Mills-Porter from Ensize UK. Michelle drew on the DISC analysis that had been discussed earlier in the day, as a tool to help women in business to understand the personalities, key drivers and behaviours of clients to gain better sales and business opportunities. Michelle repeated several times, her mantra for sales, “The key to all sales success is authenticity and personality.”
This session was hugely interactive and an opportunity for many of the delegates to share their experiences, fears and successes. Talking to many of the women as they left, the overwhelming feedback was that they were left invigorated, full of ideas and ready to start on their mentoring journey, inspired for the future.
To get further information on working with a mentor, or to volunteer to be a mentor, please contact Leila Green or John Thompson on 01782 213929.