Emma Salmon is an experienced and qualified physiotherapist, as well as being the only fully certified Reformer Pilates Physio in New Plymouth. She has the perfect mix of expertise for her enterprise, Physio Pilates New Plymouth. In addition, her Business Mentor, Julie Beck, contributes unique mastery that has become a core strength for Emma.

Emma started Physio Pilates just three years ago, and she explains, “It was just a small work-from-home set up”.

“I always liked the link between physio and Pilates. It can take you from treatment and on to your rehab and recovery. We found that our clients really began to trust us with our experience and insight, and they wanted to see us for both physio and Pilates. And so, it really just grew from there.”

“I knew nothing about business"

Emma compares building a business to joining the world of work after being a student.

“It was like going back to being a new graduate. You’re sort of blissfully naive and eager. You have all the knowledge, so you think you know how to do things. And then you realise just how much there is to master. So that's where Julie, my Business Mentor, came in.”

Emma knew she was going to be stretched when she took on a commercial lease. “That was the trigger for me to approach Business Mentors. I was moving out of my home base to a bigger space and looking at getting some subcontractors. It meant things would be a lot more complex than when I was really in just a self-employed situation.”

Emma said she was surprised at how well mentoring fitted her needs. “I wasn't too sure what the mentoring would be like when I started out. I thought they’d tell me how to do things and run things. Well, it wasn't like that at all!

To Emma, it's guidance that has stood out as the most valuable thing about having a Business Mentor.

“My Mentor Julie was like security through the highs, lows and setbacks of small business, especially over the last few years. It’s been so good to have her backing me and in my court.”

Emma said Julie’s experience has also been priceless, although the two haven’t worked in the same industries.

“My Mentor Julie was like security through the highs, lows and setbacks of small business, especially over the last few years. It’s been so good to have her backing me and in my court.”

Emma said Julie’s experience has also been priceless, although the two haven’t worked in the same industries.

“Julie’s background is completely different to where my business is. And what we do is completely separate because she works for a law firm. But there are still fundamental areas in business that she knows so much about. Her experience means she knows way more than me. I’m like an apprentice – she has so much knowledge, and I'm able to keep picking her brain and learn little bits of it.

Mentor Julie has found Emma to be a quick study.

“Emma is very open and honest. She’s happy to share what’s happening in her life and her business. It gives me an insight into what she's trying to achieve. I admire her courage in setting up her own business after having worked for other people. But she doesn’t rush in,” says Julie.

“Emma is sensible and takes small steps. For me, the risk assessment aspect of a business is quite important. Anybody starting up a business should look at all the risks included and whether or not you can live with them," says Julie.

Mentoring has helped Emma get clearer about the big picture

Emma remembers her first session with her Mentor. “She sat me down and asked me what my future plans were.”

“I explained what I intended to do for the next year or so with taking on a commercial lease. But Julie challenged me to think further. She asked about my bigger plans – a big hairy audacious goal. She made me think about how I saw things running in five years and where I wanted to be with my family too. And then we sort of stripped it back to see how I could get there.”

Emma said being urged to stand back has had a big impact. “It's easy to think you're going to grow a business by just working in it. It's easy to keep giving more and more of yourself. But that doesn't grow a business; it’s stepping outside that works.”

Julie loves being able to be a sounding board to business owners and explains, “As a business owner, you're juggling a lot of balls. You’re the HR department and the financial department. You're the social media department. You have to juggle all of those balls all the time; it’s not for the fainthearted.”

“Over the period that I’ve been Mentoring Emma, her confidence has grown considerably along with her belief in herself. She has a good feel for the finances, and she's developing a lovely business. Her offering appeals to a very wide audience and is backed up by her sound qualifications.”

And for Emma, having Julie in her corner gives her a sense of assurance as she looks ahead to taking Physio Pilates New Plymouth from strength to strength.

Venture Taranaki facilitates Business Mentors New Zealand in Taranaki. If you think your business would benefit from extra guidance by meeting regularly with a mentor, get in touch with our Business Mentoring Coordinator or find out more here