Starting your own business can be an isolating experience, even for an accomplished leadership coach and CEO. If you’ve previously worked within an organisational framework, working out how and where to find clients, as well as implementing the processes and frameworks needed to keep your business on track can be a daunting task. For Emma Mitchell, the advice and support of David Mellor Mentoring has helped her make the transition from charity CEO to running the business of her dreams, in just 18 months.

As an experienced training and development professional, Emma spent eight years at the helm of educational charity the Camelia Botnar Foundation, which gives young people from troubled backgrounds the opportunity of learning a trade and vital life skills. When she parted company with the charity, she decided it was the right time to realise a long-held ambition – to turn her dream of going it alone into reality.

Emma has spent 20 years helping employees, business owners and leaders to develop their careers, build teams and navigate change. But even she found the prospect of transitioning from CEO to business owner to be an unnerving one: “I made the decision to go it alone, then I panicked,” she said. For a few months I kept asking myself, ‘have I made the right decision?’

A friend suggested enlisting the support of a mentor and, after an initial meeting, David Mellor began working with Emma. He helped her create clarity around her business goals and from these initial conversations, devised an initial one-page plan to take her business forward in 2015. “David took me through all the options and considerations: what I was aiming for and what I wanted out of my business, as this would have an impact on how I would secure contracts,” explained Emma. “It was from these discussions that I decided I wanted to create a portfolio business.”

“David filled me with confidence. Having him as a mentor has helped me to establish exactly the sort of business I wanted. David helped me to outline the initial steps I should take and then build on them. He assisted me in creating the processes and organisational strategies I needed to make my business happen. If you haven’t got that underpinning in place, you cannot plan properly for success.”

David’s book ‘From Crew to Captain’ also helped Emma establish her immediate priorities which included making financial plans, action plans and establishing sales processes. The initial year-long plan was followed up by a monthly strategy meeting, which reinforced Emma’s actions, established the right network to connect with and explored different routes to market.

Emma Mitchell Consulting now helps businesses across Sussex and London to achieve their goals, developing their employees through structured programmes. Emma works with senior leaders in sectors such as agricultural, financial, charity and education, improving team engagement, maximising performance and helping organisations with change management issues. Her mission is to “develop people so they feel happy at work.”

For Emma, David’s mentoring support has been a worthwhile investment. She believes it would be beneficial both for startups and those who believe their business isn’t achieving what it should be. “David is the nicest man you could ever meet and I wouldn’t be where I am without him,” said Emma. “I trust him 100 per cent and know he has my best interests at heart. And he absolutely practices what he preaches – because he has his own mentor too!”