Edited by Jilo Katter of Written Well©

Director of Active Reactions, Sheila Diete-Spiff, narrates her journey from cash-flow novice to Dementia Activity Provider in 6 months with the help of the GPS Mentoring & Coaching Programme:

To start a business in the UK nowadays is not as difficult as once thought, with ‘start-up’ grants and government loans available to those who want to venture outside the comfort of a ‘9-5’ income. What is difficult however is surviving the peaks and troughs of business ownership; more than 50% of new businesses don’t survive the five year mark. These rates are lower than before the recession, as found by commercial insurers, RSA last year.

Starting A Day Centre

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You can imagine how my decision to start a Day Centre for elderly Hillingdon residents was received by my family! However, my passion for the treatment of Dementia patients far outweighed the risks ahead and life as an entrepreneur began in July this year. One thing that was missing though was my need for a mentor. Every successful entrepreneur from Richard Branson to Oprah explain their importance in keeping you focused on the sometimes uncertain road of business and I was on the search for a mentor I could not only work but relate with.

Meeting Tony Dada

I met Tony Dada at an event in London in July where he gave a short but insightful presentation that really hit me with intrigue because he kept it “Real”. I approached him to find out more, as I hadn’t really had any financial guidance regarding my business and had no intention of falling in that 50 + percentile of failed businesses. I decided from his presentation, to book an interview to determine if this programme would benefit me in running and setting up my business. After the interview I knew for sure that this was correct for me and decided to enrol for the GPS programme starting in September

Business Trouble

However in August, the business suffered financially partly due to its poor location in Hillingdon forcing me to return to the drawing board. TEDAC CIC was birthed, we relocated and drew up a new business model that would offer a service of activities for Dementia patients within care homes and their own homes. Furthermore, I realised that for my business to survive, I would need to address a number of things including my relationship with my finances. Fortunately Tony gave me free pre-sessions in late July, early August which really helped me through this difficult period. I began his GPS programme in September.

Peaks and Troughs

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As I mentioned before, there are peaks and troughs in business.

From being taught the importance of a change in mind-set to making necessary financial cuts and improving cash-flow, how do you prepare for your business partner walking out 3 weeks before your first fundraising event, AND cancelling the venue? With loan repayments due, Tony’s company trialled my business as its first recipient of its loan programme for businesses in financial difficulty.

I could not believe how everything coincided. My loan repayments were made and I now have signed up to receiving further fortnightly business-mentorship 1-to-1 sessions for the next 3 months, at which point we will review. The GPS Mentoring & Coaching programme to date has given me the clarity and knowledge needed to ensure my business not only survives but healthily expands too. I also found out recently that my company and I will be featured in “The Voice” next week. The Voice is Britain’s longest running black newspaper and sponsored the GPS Awards, which is the focus of the article.

Award Winning

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My organisation, Active Reactions, has since been the recipient of the GPS/DADA Community Award and I can only be thankful for being a GPS student and having a business support system around me that has given me the confidence to create greater awareness of Dementia in and around our communities.

Individually, I am more focused in attaining my goals with a positive mind-set and maintaining a positive relationship with my money. It sounds cliché, but without the GPS Programme, I doubt my business would still be surviving beyond the 50% failure rate and I could not recommend this life investment more highly.

Recruitment for the next GPS Mentoring programme is currently under way and we have a special offer for the 3 remaining places available with fees reduced by more than 50%. To book a consultation click the consultation tab or fill in the contact form.

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