Spencer Travel, managed by Penny Spencer, is a global-thinking, award-winning corporate travel management company. It was founded in 1998 and over the last 14 years has grown from a 1 million dollar turnover to a 30 million turnover.
This article explores Penny Spencer’s experience with a business mentor and how a mentor can help you to run a successful business.
I have a true passion for both travel and business and wanted to take the challenge and grow.
I decided to go into business because I had worked for 15 years in the Corproate Travel Arena and although had always wanted my own business, felt that it was the right time to “do it my way”. I am a true entrepreneur and although loved consulting to my clients, at the time I knew I could do so much more from what I learned over the 15 years. I have a true passion for both travel and business and wanted to take the challenge and grow.
I knew that I had the passion and knowledge for the industry it was just working out how to run a business.
As I had been in the travel industry for 15 years and pretty much since leaving school, I had no doubt that this was the industry that I wanted to open a business in. I wanted a corporate travel company that would offer a service that people felt they were the only clients we had. I knew that I had the passion and knowledge for the industry it was just working out how to run a business. When I started the NSW Government and ABN Mentoring programme, I was only year two into my business. I really felt that I needed help in how to delegate, grow the business and understand the financials a little better. Managing staff is always a challenge and although I had great staff at the time, I was not naive enough to think that at some stage I would have to learn and understand this skill also. I also wanted to meet like-minded people and network with other small business owners.
My goals and plans definitely changed as a result of the working with my mentor.
I went from a technician to a leader, I learned how to look beyond day to day and work on the business, not in the business. My goals and plans before the mentoring programme were very much around short-term, rather than long-term or the future. I learned from my mentor the difference between goals and plans and tasks and to-do lists. My mentor took me to the next level to take the business forward. I remember presenting to a panel for a service of excellence scholarship and my mentor was helping me with my speech. I did actually win this scholarship and I really feel that if my mentor had not been so hard on me with what I was saying and how I presented, I would probably not have won. She was hard on me, but it definitely paid off in more ways than one.
I definitely got some unexpected benefits from my mentoring.
Firstly, I made a great friend. We became very good friends and still to this day, 12 years on, catch up. A few years after the mentoring relationship, I would still run certain things past my mentor, so it became a long term mentoring relationship. Other benefits were the people that she introduced me to and helping me with public speaking.
You find you tell your mentor things that you would not normally tell anyone because it is a safe relationship.
If the mentor is the right one, they can play a huge role in the development of a small business. They can take that business to the next level with their forward-thinking approach. They can empower the mentoree to make decisions that they may have been scared to make before they had someone encouraging them. The mentor develops the mentoree, and that therefore develops the business.
“I love being in control, making decisions and taking risks. I love the adrenalin of running a business.”
First Published: 6 June 2012
About Spencer Travel
Spencer Travel prides itself on its service levels along with the knowledge and expertise of the staff. A,ll staff travel at least 2 to 3 times per annum, as well as attend conferences and seminars to educate and keep ahead of the changing times in the travel industry. Spencer Travel is well-respected within the travel industry and has received multiple awards from industry peers, along with having a very high profile. Spencer Travel prides itself on building long-term relationships and having intimate business rapport with clients. Spencer Travel is always open to opportunities and due to this, is one of 12 travel agencies in Australia to be awarded the title of Accredited Space Agent, selling Virgin Galactic tickets to space. As well as this, Spencer Travel has niche business’s, such as Travel with Kidz and recently opened a shop front travel agency to concentrate on the leisure market.