The business mentor: Sarah Trotman

Sarah Trotman. Photo / Alyson Young Photography
Sarah Trotman. Photo / Alyson Young Photography

Sarah Trotman, founder of the Small Business Expos and Director of Business Relations at AUT Business school. She talks about new security business Group Q.

Paul Walsh and I were both in the Territorial Association (TA)together. The people I mentor I generally have a connection with. I really rated Paul as a fellow soldier; we were colleagues as military police.

At our first meeting, we talked about the intellectual ownership of the business. He has a very good business model with Group Q, I thought and I am encouraging him to be even more ambitious.

At the second meeting I was looking at the structure of the business partnership between he and Dustin Watts. I found it was quite typical of a small business: they are two people with immense industry experience. It's where these trust relationships come from. I would have liked to see a better spread of skills but that can come as they expand. I was impressed with his business partner, also the fact they weren't watering down the ownership structure at this stage.

Our third meeting we talked about having a good understanding about what it takes to get a start up off the ground. To any start up I would advise them not to over-promise to the first big client. Entrepreneurs can be vulnerable and over-promise. They have to be honest about where they are at in the life cycle.

We talked about making sure that his marketing was tailored appropriately for his high level of consumer. I also talked to him about the need for a good advisory board. I introduced him to my lawyer and accountant with a view to his considering them for his advisory board.

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