Albert Verster, Boston City Campus and Business College
Name: Albert Verster
Company: Boston City Campus and Business College – Port Elizabeth
Mentor: Jeremy Barton
What drew you to the Chamber’s mentorship programme? A need for an objective perspective of my business
My mentor and I meet on a monthly basis. All meetings are informal discussions around my business specifically and good business practice in general. Not only do we discuss the concerns and problem areas but also the possibilities of growing, changing and improving the business.
My only real challenge is the challenge of uncertainty. This is not unique to us and is actually a universal challenge for anybody in business. Boston College Port Elizabeth is growing but the rate of growth is not constant. This provides uncertainty in terms of suitable premises, lease contracts, a possible move to other premises and the timing of such a move. My mentor assists me to plan ahead and managing uncertainty rather than to sit and react to change. Another challenge relates to sales and marketing and Jeremy’s knowledge of sales and specifically telesales provided me with invaluable information.
The best piece of advice my mentor gave me was to think more strategically about the business and to position it in such a manner that it becomes an asset of value that will provide a more sustainable income.
The most valuable aspect of the mentorship programme is the fact that the mentor is not caught up in day to day operations and finds it easy to view the business objectively and more strategically. I also value the wealth of knowledge and experience that the facilitator brings into the business.
As an entrepreneur and manager of a small business, I work in relative isolation. As the owner manager I have a need to converse on a different level and the mentoring provides exactly that. It provides a soundboard for ideas that cannot be provided by the staff members because it is more focused on the performance of the business than on operational issues. To me this is absolutely necessary and very valuable.