Get Mentoring

Posted on by natalieparker

Kate Butler is no stranger to business ownership, having owned two restaurants and an event management business with her husband for several years before setting up Kate Butler, Personal Development Coach and Mentor in 2010. Although she is already a business support professional, Kate felt that the Get Mentoring scheme would gives her the chance to be more philanthropic with her time and expertise. She knows only too well how hard running a company can be, having seen her two restaurants close as a result of flood damage in 2007. With the country entering a recession, Kate and her husband, Jon, were forced to reassess their situation and decide whether to rebuild their businesses or take stock and look for a new direction. Kate says,

“It was an incredibly difficult time. We had to show real resilience to stop things from getting on top of us. We decided that the economic climate would make it hard to rebuild and so we both needed to find a new purpose. I decided to completely change career, which was quite daunting – but when an idea makes sense and you’ve planned it out carefully, sometimes you’ve just got to run with it.”

Although her business has been running well for two years now, Kate can still empathise with that sense of fear and trepidation that makes entrepreneurs hesitate:

“It’s a scary process setting up, even if you have done it before. You’re putting your name to a project, sticking your neck on the line and so you feel the pressure to succeed. I think it’s especially hard when you’re providing a service which has your name on it. Essentially you are the shop window and there’s nothing to hide behind.”

Kate says that having a strong support network in place is important for all business owners, and that she was very fortunate to have an entrepreneurial husband and other colleagues to bounce ideas around with. She says,

“Not everyone will have the same structure in place as I did and I think one of the great things about the Get Mentoring scheme is that it puts that focus on start-ups and developing enterprises. It’s a daunting prospect for most entrepreneurs and a mentor can act as that first port of call for help. I think one of the other great things about the scheme is that it raises awareness in this tricky economic climate. Small businesses can be forgotten about when in actual fact they contribute a lot and have the potential to expand if supported correctly.”

On becoming a volunteer enterprise mentor, Kate says,

“I’ve always been someone people come to for advice for some reason or other. That influenced my decision to become a personal development coach and get the necessary qualification. I think that the Get Mentoring initiative is another chance for me to use those skills in a slightly different environment. It’s important for me to give a little time to provide support for free. I had a fantastic mentor called Clive who provided me with the guidance I needed over those initial months in business. Sadly he’s passed away now but he was committed to the idea of maintaining integrity and an authenticity in business dealings. I’ve taken that to heart as much as anything – once you’ve had a degree of success it’s important to pay it forward. Clive always made sure that he did some work for free at least once a week, whether it was mentoring, motivational speaking or just helping a start-up with whatever they needed. And I suppose I’m keen to follow his example in many ways.”

As a mother of three with experience of running various businesses, Kate offers her insight into the tricky juggling act that is running a business as a parent:

“I think it is important that there are mentors who are also parents. For specific guidance on business issues it doesn’t really matter what the mentor’s background is, of course. They should be able to assist an entrepreneur and make a difference. But for me it was important to know from others that it is OK to chase success as well as raise the family. That’s what I’d hope to share with future mentees. I currently do a quarterly surgery with Mumpreneurs and one thing that comes out of that is the sense of guilt many mums feel about putting their kids in childcare and putting time aside for their work. New entrepreneurs, especially those who are mums, probably need to have that reassurance that others are doing the same as them.”

Kate believes that there is an extra layer of support that parent mentors can give to parent mentees, with their knowledge of the constraints on a working mum or dad. She thinks that having an empathetic ear and someone on the same wavelength can make a real difference. She says,

“There are some parents who don’t feel they should start up because of their home situation and believe that it is a barrier – with the help of a mentor they might see that this isn’t the case. Both my husband and I had been used to running restaurants which really limited our time with the family, but we chose our new businesses because we wanted to find a better balance.

Through her work with the Mumpreneur network and the Gloucestershire Enterprise scheme, Kate hopes to support many new and growing businesses in the future.

Posted on by natalieparker | Posted in Case Studies, Get Mentoring Monthly