Anne Maree Mearns, of Calico Management
Anne Maree Mearns, of Calico Management Jay Cronan

Business mentor busy

AFTER a lifetime running a number of businesses Tintenbar’s Anne Mearns has embarked on a new journey as a business mentor.

The business mentor, or coach, is a position that has gained traction in the past decade with a number of companies operating locally, but Ms Mearns believes her unique knowledge, in particular in small business, gives her an edge.

“I’ve been involved in small business for more than 20 years,” she said.

“I’ve been involved with award-winning businesses.”

One of those award-winning businesses was Ballina’s Dazzle Designers, which she sold before setting up her mentor business, Calico Management.

Besides her retail experience, Ms Mearns also has experience in real estate including planning, developing and managing projects.

She also said she has a first-hand perception of rural issues with on-farm knowledge.

Part of the charm of running your own business is the autonomy it creates, but asking for advice or help should be encouraged, according to Ms Mearns.

“A lot of people get into business thinking that it’s easy,” she said.

“Then, after a while, they realise they have not got the skills or experience necessary. Then they become daunted and are not sure which way to go.

“A business coach can help get them back on track and help establish a business properly.”

Part of Ms Mearns’ advice is to ensure each business has a flexible action plan.

“You have to create an action plan so you can logically grow the business through it,” she said.

“But it has to be flexible because business is ever-changing and you have to evaluate the plan every three months. Just look at how volatile the economy is at the moment. You could almost change your plan daily.

“Traditional retail and bus- iness are at risk of being swamped by technological change and global trends.

“We need to embrace change as competitive pressures increase.”

Ms Mearns set up Calico Management last September and said the business was going from strength to strength.

“People have been very receptive and it’s been so busy,” she said.

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