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Posted on by natalieparker

“I don’t want to look back at 40 and say that I could have done this, or I should have done that,” is the response of entrepreneur and IT consultant Mehmood Khan when asked why he feels the time is right to launch a new business in 2013. Having worked as a freelance tech consultant for companies such as IBM over the last 12 years, Mehmood has had very little chance to focus his energy on anything else. But now, with a less hectic work schedule he feels that the time is right to get the BookBuggy project he has been working on with his wife off the ground.

An experienced businessman from Bethnal Green, Mehmood nevertheless felt that he hadn’t found quite the right focus in the early days of the enterprise and that he was in danger of becoming aimless:

“After 3 or 4 months of working on Bookbuggy there were just too many ideas and jobs to get my head around and I almost felt like I’d lost sight of what I was trying to achieve. That can be a bit disheartening when you are a pre-startup. I felt that a mentor would give the support I needed and perhaps help me to reassess where I was – and as it turned out, I was right.”

As a member of the IOEE, Mehmood looked on the mentor database to make contact with an experienced entrepreneur who could help. He says,

“I like the process of being able to use the database to build connections on their site. I wanted to work with someone who was attuned to the difficulties I was facing and who had experience of handling multiple tasks such as building a site, marketing, deciding on whether to simultaneously develop an app, liaise with suppliers, and so on. I’m sure there were plenty of volunteer mentors who would have been suited to me, but I found it quite empowering to be able to look at my mentor’s profile and their career background before approaching them.”

Mehmood’s mentor was Bob Browning, a retired IT consultant and entrepreneur himself. A few emails between the two led them to meeting up for a coffee to discuss Bookbuggy further. Mehmood says,

“Just talking to Bob I got a greater sense of clarity and structure. In fact, whenever I’ve been asked about the business by anyone, the process of explaining things always has the effect of focusing the mind. But it isn’t until someone asks that you often work through those thoughts that are running around in your head. When I met with Bob, it quickly made sense to me what I should concentrate on; what would be the core of my business and what could wait till later – like the app.

With the launch of Bookbuggy imminent, Mehmood is working hard on the build of his website and liaising with his suppliers. Asked about his aims for the future of the company, he says,

“I’m not under any illusions that I’m going to change the world, but I think we do have a business concept here that can become profitable and self-sustaining within the first year or two. I’ve got quite a few business ideas so ideally I’d like to get to a point where things are running smoothly and I can move on to the next project. But I definitely feel that mentoring has a part to play in the future of Bookbuggy and probably with my next ventures too. All I need to do now is make some headway so that I have something new to talk to Bob about when we next meet! But it’s good to have the ball in my court in this way.”

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