Erica Dent, Managing Director of Enjoy Discovering Wine, has worked with Step by Step Listening for 2 ½ years taking her from sole trader to small business owner. Find out what results she has achieved in her business in our interview…
What difference has working with Step by Step Listening made in your business?
- My client base has considerably increased
- I have employed two staff and find using the questions really helps me manage better
- As a team we are all working to our strengths, seeing results, and more importantly having fun!
- I am less tired as I am managing my time more effectively
- I have more fun as I am not so stressed
- I get more reward from my hard work, which makes it even more worthwhile
- I often hear myself using the questions in my head which helps me to get the answers more quickly
- I recognise more quickly what is working, so I waste less time on what is not working
- Financially it is working well, meaning less unwanted pressure
What difference has working with Step by Step Listening made at home?
Despite initial doubts about the questions, Andy my husband, now uses his own version of them which still works for us. We ask the questions of each other, resolve differences and make decisions, such as which car to buy, whose turn it is to cook dinner etc., in much less time than before.
Why did you start working with Step by Step Listening?
I met Sheryl at a Solent Women in Business networking meeting in November 2009 and in March 2010 I attended my first Listening Post session where we had a taster of Clean Language listening skills. This is when I realised that I quite liked the business of ‘listening to myself’ instead of asking everyone else for the answers. I knew straight away I needed to get going and booked a one-to-one with Step by Step Listening.
During this first session I discovered that I had a [metaphorical] brick wall which I kept coming up against and therefore couldn’t get past it to move my business on. It was as simple as having the realisation that I had this brick wall, what it represented (my fears in business), and that I needed to work on getting past it. So this was my first of many very productive sessions with Step by Step Listening, in fact in that first one-to-one session, the wall completely disappeared!
What is the one thing that working with Step by Step Listening has given you?
It gave me the clarity from very early on that I wanted to employ a sales person; I was new to the area and struggling to gain clientele. I noticed that whenever I even just ‘thought’ about selling, it created a knot in my stomach. This was a feeling of great discomfort, one that I am now familiar with when I am mentally not comfortable with an aspect of my business.
I now have someone who finds sales easy and loves it; for me working at my best is teaching and building the business, not selling. I have since found that I enjoy having coffee and talking to people about Enjoy Discovering Wine’s offerings and building relationships, but I am not comfortable at the initial making contact. I now have a teammate who makes the initial contact, then between us, over many enjoyable cups of coffee, we are building wonderful relationships with our clients.
You can really have fun in business when you know how you work at your best. When you know what you are great at, then you can employ the right people around you to compliment and do the stuff you are not so good at.
How did the one-to-one sessions help you?
They helped me employ the right people for me. I have learned to describe in detail the kind of people I have wanted to work with and I have held off until the right person has crossed my path. I have not rushed in and employed just anyone, I have employed the right people with the right skills to support me.
I now have a great team who share successes and we work well together and we actively use “the questions” in our group discussions.
Why do you keep coming to your monthly session even though business is so great?
It is always a space to clarify my thinking, so if something has cropped up in business, it gives me space to think about what ‘I’ would like to have happen, and even when everything seems all okay I always, always have a da dahhh! moment, you know those moments of revelation when you go, oh yeah that’s it.
I am now a team of three and we have trebled the business. I can now separate work and life a little more, although that probably will never really happen, I love working. I am less tired, work is more rewarding and it is so much more fun.
Who would you recommend to work with Step by Step Listening?
I would recommend anybody and everybody to just give it a try and give it a good try, experience the different ways of listening, and learn a little bit about the questions that make the difference. If you want to run your business on your terms, in your own unique way, and with confidence, then this process is for you.
If you want overnight answers by being told by others what to do, then this is probably not the right way for you. The sessions are all about you understanding ‘your’ thinking and having the confidence in your own decisions. The one-to-one sessions are more intense and you get more extreme focus on you and your business only; whereas the Power Groups allow you to gain some insight into how others are having similar challenges and achievements, while you work on your own stuff at the same time. It is a very supportive and encouraging environment to be able to work in, being with other business owners, but still having intense focus on your own business.
Erica Dent’s passion for wine developed in 1995 when she moved to New Zealand, which led to her completing a one-year, full-time Polytechnic course in viticulture and vilification. The college has its own vineyards and winery, so the course followed a complete annual cycle of the vine, starting with pruning through to bottling and labelling the wine a year later. She also gained work experience at other vineyards and wineries in New Zealand.
Upon returning to the UK Erica started studying for her Wine & Spirit Education Trust (WSET®) qualifications. Following a backbreaking stint at the International Wine Challenge, Erica then worked for five years as the WSET’s PR and Events Manager. Erica successfully completed her WSET Diploma in 2003, and then went on to gain her Level 3 teaching certificate.
Erica now runs her own company, Enjoy Discovering Wine and teaches WSET qualification courses Levels 1 to 3 for the WSET’s flagship School in London and at other centres. Erica is a WSET Certified Educator and under the Enjoy Discovering Wine title is an Approved Programme Provider of WSET qualifications Foundation to Advanced. She is also a member of the Association of Wine Educators and runs wine appreciation tastings and courses.
Recognise your learning
What do you know NOW as a result of reading this, that perhaps you did not know before?
What difference does knowing that make, if any?
Plan your next best step
What would you like to have happen next?
Thank you for listening!
To find out how to make good decisions for your business, sign up for our Power Groups. We are so passionate about how powerful they are that for November and December only, all Power Groups are half price (and some of them are free!). How would it feel to hit the ground running in 2013 having made good decisions and put planning in place to move your business forward? Find out more here.