Colm of Mac Electrical in Taranaki has built a reputation for being courteous and professional. Both clients and other tradespeople know him as being easy to work with and reliable – especially for complex jobs. But delivering this first-class service has become much easier and more profitable since Colm registered for a Business Mentor in 2019.
Colm says he first sought a Mentor because he found himself struggling to balance running a business with his natural inclination to go over and above for every client. He thought getting some advice on scheduling would help. He was right.
Tackling timing was the first step
Business Mentor Wayne could see Colm was open-minded and receptive.
“Colm was looking to improve himself and his business. He was being pulled in a whole lot of different directions; whoever shouted the loudest got the work done the quickest. He knew there were better ways to do things.
“Mac Electrical has a good reputation, and the quality of his work is excellent, but Colm wanted help with the business side of it.”
Colm and Wayne began their mentoring relationship by agreeing on how they'd work together. Because time management was a focus, Wayne asked for a commitment to a schedule of meetings and actions.
“We started with getting him to be more business-like. For example, invoicing regularly rather than when he found time and clocking hours more consistently.”
Colm said this approach was just right for him.
"Every time we talked about what had been happening, Wayne showed how scheduling could help. He found ways to manage things by factoring them into my daily routine. We even set aside time for the unexpected things that always pop up.
“Scheduling has allowed me to send invoices more regularly and use systems to record chargeable hours as they happen.”
As Colm got new processes and routines in place, the focus of mentoring sessions moved to strategy.
Improving output sparked new opportunities
Colm says a turning point was having help with job analysis to understand what money is being made and lost, and which jobs are cost-effective.
"They can all blend together, but when it's documented, we can analyse it. We've now worked on budgeting, forecasting and cashflows. By encouraging me to do this, Wayne has opened my eyes to a lot of things that might have been a bit hidden.
“It’s great just to have someone to talk to who’s impartial and doesn’t have an agenda or his own interest beyond your success.”
It’s clear that as a Business Mentor, Wayne is genuinely committed to seeing Colm succeed.
“A big challenge we faced was self-belief; Colm didn’t realise his potential and how good he is. A fresh perspective enabled him to shift his thinking, get wins, make changes and see those leading to results.
Business Mentors connects the right people
It’s no coincidence Wayne is so well suited to helping Colm. The Business Mentors’ matching process focuses on getting the right fit.
Wayne explains, “I had a lot of experience coaching businesses. I coached professionally and get huge satisfaction from seeing people improve and win.”
I’m a science graduate in chemistry and psychology and a post-graduate in business psychology. In the corporate world, I was a GM, and I've worked a lot in leadership development.”
“Colm came wanting to change and improve. That was what has made it work. Without the person being mentored wanting to learn and being open to new information, nothing will change.”
“I think the biggest difference is that now he thinks like a businessman. Colm could quite capably run a business of multiple levels because he now has the systems and processes. He has an apprentice who can almost work unsupervised and has added some specialist services into his offering.”
“Feedback is that now Colm is totally in control and reliable. In fact, he’s even paying it forward by educating some of his own clients on how to plan everything so they can coordinate optimally. This means he’s been asked to do more complex work.”
“Colm is so positive and appreciative of my help that it makes mentoring a pleasure.”
Colm says having a business mentor has helped amp up his business.
“I have more control of the day-to-day. Rather than being reactive, I can see and plan for what’s coming down the track.”
Colm encourages others to try having a Business Mentor.
“Give it a little bit of time and put in some effort. Listen to what they say rather than just hearing it: truly reflect on it. There might be some golden insights, so you need to be ready to take it on board.”
If you’d like to find out more about finding or becoming a Mentor, visit www.businessmentors.org.nz.