There’s an “a-ha” moment of clarity when an ineffective business model gives way to a new perspective. That’s the moment Ellyn Herbert and Antara Dutta say they love best about their custom business mentoring program designed to give stalled, women-owned businesses a reboot.
WeTHINK is a program piloted by SBA and SCORE and the brainchild of Herbert and Dutta, who were convinced they should merge their backgrounds in the corporate and entrepreneurial sectors to create a boot camp for retooling small businesses.
The program, which includes just 10 participants, is now in its second year and has a waiting list.
“The primary void we fill is that we take the education component and the counseling component and we provide context and continuity,” said Dutta.
An innovative think tank that combines roundtable discussions as part of a collaborative learning environment, the yearlong program is punctuated by individual assessments for each participant by Herbert and Dutta. The results are measurable, sometimes significant changes in marketing strategy, branding messages, and for one business owner, the birth of a second company.
Group meetings feature business development modules on brand, marketing, sales, operations, cash flow management, capitalization, and growth, according to Herbert.
“It’s hard to see the picture when you’re the frame,” said participant Kim Broomer, who with Shay Hunter, owns Keep Selling Property, a rehab and real estate firm. “But Antara and Ellyn are a great reflection of what we can’t see in our business but need to see.”
But key to the program’s success is one-on-one sessions with Dutta and Herbert, who participants praise for offering comprehensive and concise critique as they vet each member’s financials and analyze possible sticking points of their business.
“It’s about provocative inquiry,” said Herbert, who has an executive coaching background. “The questions are determined to get an individual to think comprehensively about what it is they’re trying to solve or make better