Mentorship has ‘given me everything’, owner says

The co-founder of a sustainable produce business has told My Business that having a mentor has potentially ‘tripled’ his business.

Ramzey Choker, who co-founded The Grounds of Alexandria in Sydney, said that he has operated seven or eight businesses previously, with varying degrees of success. However, for his current business he brought in an external mentor.

“I think he’s, if not tripled my business … he’s given me everything, given me the route to my success. It’s a massive impact,” Mr Ramzey said of his mentor Ben Harvey from Authentic Education.

“I went through a massive bankruptcy with my father... so that left a lot of impacts and beliefs in my system that everything is too hard: ‘Am I going to make myself go bankrupt [again]?’. So [Ben] was able to clear the road for me and I wouldn’t be where I am [without him].”

For Mr Choker, the most valuable aspect of having a formal business mentor is receiving external guidance.

“Because you’re running such a big business, with 300 employees, and you don’t really know who to go to when there [are] major issues, you always have to look like you know what you’re doing and where you’re going, and you have to be the leader all the time,” he explained.

“So it’s good to be able to ring your mentor and bounce things off him to see what he thinks: if you’re right, if you’re wrong, [if it is] a good idea. And someone who is extremely successful as well, that you look up to.”

Mr Choker added, “[Ben] is able to see things before I see them, and he makes me see them and we just work on them, we clear the path. Everyone has got problems and everyone has got issues, and you’ve got to get rid of them; you’ve got to get rid of the beliefs that stop you from going where you want to go.”

When asked about whether he felt hesitant to discuss intimate details of his business with an external adviser, Mr Choker admitted this was a difficult point for many business owners.

“That is a hard aspect, but I think a lot of businesses go through a similar thing,” he said.

“When you’re a really good mentor, you’re able to step into a business and pretty quickly understand it.”

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