A SOLIHULL podcaster and entrepreneur has become a voluntary mentor to support other small businesses as the UK slides into recession.
During the pandemic the former BBC reporter, presenter and producer Victoria Brown offered marketing tips to those who were starting up creative businesses, like her own, through a number of workshops, courses and coaching sessions.
And now she is encouraging other small and medium enterprises to step up and volunteer as part of the Help to Grow: Management course.
Victoria had a side hustle as a jewellery designer and maker led to her starting a blog for independent jewelers while working in public relations.
During the pandemic, when she was on maternity leave, Victoria evolved her business further into helping other creative business owners to market their businesses and to pivot online.
She said: “Although I’d never done any formal mentoring or coaching before I knew I also had a fairly unique background and perspective (in both the creative business world and in communications) and so I almost felt obligated to step in and help.
“What surprised me most was just how much it energised me, and how much of a responsibility I felt to the people involved.
“I think the hardest part of being a business owner, especially at the beginning, is feeling that you’re alone – like you’re at the bottom of the mountain with no rope and no real idea how to get to the top. Having a mentor – especially if they have related experience – gives you a chance to talk through your ideas, reflect, and move forward.
“Being a mentor is a very privileged position – someone is trusting you with their business baby and their dreams. There’s nothing quite like seeing the penny drop with a business owner, as they realise the solution to their problem and how to move their business forward.”
Victoria has been accepted onto the Institute of Leadership and Management (ILM) Level 7 Coaching and Mentoring programme and is an enterprise nation local leader.
The Help to Grow: Management Course offers business leaders one-to-one support from a mentor included in 50 hours of leadership and management training across 12 weeks.
Mentors sign up on a voluntary basis and offer a commitment of 10 hours, over 12 weeks, plus time to engage in training offered by the Association of Business Mentors.
They are then paired up with someone looking for help and have sessions where they can help others starting up.