All businesses reach a point where change needs to happen in order to move forward - and often mentors can be really important drivers of this change. This is something discovered by Zoltan Vass, the founder of website development agency CoderDog. After months of little progression, working with a mentor - Jon Davie, the CEO of independent agency Zone - Zoltan was able to see impressive progress in his business. Jon and Zoltan met through The British Interactive Media Association. Here's Zoltan's story.

Back in 2016, while Coderdog was in an earlier stage, I had a nagging feeling that something had to change in our approach. We were working really hard and putting in long hours, but we just weren't seeing the results that we needed. After twelve frustrating months of little progress, despite our hard work, I realised that we needed help from someone more experienced. Someone who could help us properly define our obstacles and weaknesses, and someone who could help us learn, improve our skills, and show us how to take the business to the next level.

Mentoring was a massive learning curve for me personally, and I am still constantly learning new things. In the first six months of mentoring I started to see immediate results and within the 6-12 mentoring period I achieved and learned a lot more than in the previous five years. Here is how my mentor helped us turn our business around, and what our process looked like.

Feedback and reflection

I was very keen to know what I was doing right and wrong, and what I needed to improve on and learn about. It was very important for me that my mentor gave me honest and straightforward feedback about everything we had done and were doing at that time. There was one particular piece of feedback that actually shocked me, and it took me a few weeks weeks to digest and get over it. This feedback was about my approach, and I knew immediately that he nailed it, but for some reason I was not changing things. I felt awkward and frustrated, but I knew that he was right, and that if the business was to move forward I needed to deal with it and overcome my frustration. Sometimes you might hear things that are difficult during a mentoring session, but it's important to keep an open mind and do what's best for the business.

Identifying obstacles and weaknesses

Getting clarity on the obstacles in the way of our growth was crucial for me since we felt stuck, and didn't see how to progress. It was also important for me to prioritise which obstacles to deal with first. Before the mentoring started we were always evaluating and stepping back to see the big picture, but even though we did this I knew that something was wrong, and I could not clearly identify the main obstacles. 

Building a strategy and taking action

Once I knew what was blocking us in driving the business forward, we created a strategy and defined plan of action.  I started to change things within the venture and take action. We quickly started to see results.

Gaining in confidence

My confidence was quickly boosted as I started to see results within the first months, inspired and with a firmer idea of what we needed to do and how we would get from A to B. We will always have new challenges and obstacles, but once you have the right technique and approach how to deal with a challenge, the world opens up - you'll even start seeing these challenges as opportunities. The mentoring, needless to say, was a game-changer for me and for the business.  

 

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