Running a business can be hard. Starting a business from scratch is even harder. At least that’s what I’ve found. Wide Open has been my baby for a while now and it’s given me some sleepless nights indeed. Like parenting a newborn, a bit of guidance from people who know what they are doing is invaluable.
So for me, the Business SA SAYES program (South Australian Young Entrepreneur Scheme) has come along at a great time. At the end of term 2 this year, I would have been working in my business full time for a whole year. It would be fair to say, it hasn’t grown as fast as I would have liked. There are many reasons for this, but the main one is a lack of guidance and mentorship in the way to build and grow a business from the ground up.
The back story.
Late last year I applied for a full scholarship into the SAYES program but was unsuccessful. To be honest, I thought it was a long shot anyway, but as they say, you gotta be in it to win it! And, I didn’t win it.
Then in January this year, another email from Business SA came through with a host of other course and scholarship offerings. Unfortunately, I didn’t qualify for any of these (I’ll make the $150k real soon!), but I was made aware of the 2017 intake of the SAYES program.
So I made a couple tweaks to my previous application and threw my hat back in the ring. To be honest, I wasn’t really expecting to get much further than last time. Not much had changed since last year, although I have become a little clearer on what I do. To my surprise, I got an email saying I’d been moved to the next round and needed to choose an interview time. Things were moving forward and we were making progress!
I find interviews a little strange. And maybe if you’re like me, I came out of it convinced I’d bombed. Firstly, I was asked some really curly questions, that I fumbled my way through and gave some response that must have seemed amateur at best. Secondly, I didn’t feel like I communicated the heart behind what I do very well, and I was sure the panel thought I was a lost cause.
Oh well, I thought, I’ll keep plugging away on my own.
Then, fast forward a few weeks I received this in my inbox:
Understandably, I was a little shocked but soooooo STOKED.
You know how sometimes in life you have those gut feelings that something is going to be the key to unlocking the next steps? Well, the SAYES felt like that for me, so to be accepted was terrific.
What is the SAYES program?
By participating in the SAYES program, I receive a 2-3 hour business development workshop every month. This is coupled with a mentoring session with an established business leader in SA. Pretty neat I reckon!
You can read more about the program and what it covers here.
Mostly I’m really looking forward to talking about my business with people who can offer some great insight. Furthermore, the people I’ll meet and the networks I’ll uncover will be worth the price of the program alone!
At the conclusion of the 12-month program, I’ll have a business plan that will continue to provide strategy and direction for the short and long term future of Wide Open.
We had our first orientation last week where I met the other 25 participants. There are some incredible businesses already, whilst others are just starting out and still others are sputtering along like mine.
I did a Facebook live after our orientation night which you can watch below.
To say I’m excited is an understatement. I have my first mentoring session this week and I’m really pumped. Yew!