Anna, tell us about your business? Thrive Media is geared towards helping online businesses raise their profile and boost online visibility. We’re a young and ambitious PR agency using developing technologies to help our customers achieve success. After 10 years working in Government communications I wanted to share the skills and experience I’d developed with start-ups and entrepreneurs to support their long-term business goals. It was also a new challenge for me; an opportunity to step out of my comfort zone and work directly with business owners.How did you come across Get Mentoring’s Meet a Mentor event? I heard about the Women Unlimited conference through a marketing email I received. It seemed to be a great way to make new contacts and meet like-minded female business owners at different stages of their careers, with a range of experiences to share. It turned out to be a truly inspirational day – the speakers were absolutely fantastic and I made some useful new contacts, as I’d hoped. Get Mentoring were running their Meet a Mentor event as a breakfast networking session, which I thought was a relaxed and effective way of encouraging introductions between enterprise mentors and small business owners. As with many small business owners I’m in a position where I’m managing every aspect of the business – whether it’s sourcing new clients, delivering services, keeping accounts or managing temperamental IT systems. The idea of having an experienced professional who’s been there and done it to ask the right questions and provide a bit of extra support really appealed to me. Did you meet a mentor at the event? Yes, I met an entrepreneur and business owner with a marketing background called Simon Atkins. I haven’t had any previous experience of being mentored but I really felt I could benefit from having a critical friend and a sounding board; someone whose advice and input I would quickly learn to trust and respect. I think Simon fits that bill and I’m already excited about how his influence might enable me to grow my business. How have things progressed with Simon since the Meet a Mentor event? Simon and I have had one two-hour face-to-face meeting and two productive phone calls. We’ve also exchanged numerous emails so I think things are developing well. With Simon’s assistance I have already tailored my services to online companies and we’ve looked in more detail about how I might build the trust necessary for successful long-term relationships with clients. Would you recommend that other businesses seek the support of a mentor? Why? Absolutely! There’s no substitute for the kind of wisdom and experience that a mentor can offer. For anybody starting out in business or fighting with all of the different roles and responsibilities that come with a small enterprise, lacking confidence in making decisions or wasting time trying things that don’t prove to be useful can be problematic. Finding the right answers and solutions with the help of a mentor can make a business like mine all the more efficient . . . and rewarding. What’s next for Thrive Media? Where do your ambitions lie and do you think mentoring has a role to play? I’m keen to expand Thrive’s client base and carve out a niche for delivering targeted online content that supports the aims and objectives of online businesses. I’d also like to be in a position to take on a member of staff later this year so I can concentrate on sourcing new business and delivering seminars. I’m confident that my mentor will continue to play a valuable role throughout all of this activity and look forward to see the results of our joint efforts. Simon, could you tell me a little about your career background and how you came to mentoring? I have two roles: one as a business development director at the TGS Group , a management consultancy company; and I am also the director of The Small Business Hub , which offers a variety of services to help business owners growing new businesses. Like most mentors I’ve met, I’ve been mentoring unofficially for quite some time and completing the Get Mentoring training felt like a natural progression for me. How would you describe your mentoring relationship with Anna and what have your first impressions of her business been? Our relationship is based around helping Anna to become the best she can be. She’s really smart, very focused and incredibly capable. I have absolutely no doubt she’ll accomplish great things. Her business is a great idea – well thought out and planned. I specialise in helping business owners become partners with CEOs, managing directors and other company owners, so I have the experience to help Anna do the same. How has the experience been for you? Has it encouraged you to work with other mentees in the future? It’s been a very positive experience because Anna is both fully committed and proactive in what she’s doing. In the future, my work with Anna will be dictated by her needs and how much support she feels she needs. I am certainly happy to keep working with her as and when she needs me, and I’d be interested in mentoring other entrepreneurs as well. What is it about mentoring that you enjoy? I enjoy the fact that I can make a difference for other people. Seeing them happy and moving forward in their work-life with confidence is fulfilling for me. I was mentored early in my own career and I saw that if you want to accomplish great things you often need a mentor. That’s why I believe it is important that initiatives such as Get Mentoring are working to connect people and build business relationships.