In this series, we ask successful business people what they would do if they got the chance to do it all over again. Mary McKenna set up Tour America in her sitting room in 1995.  

If you had the chance to do it all over again, what would you do differently?

I’d get a mentor. Tour America was 20 years old in 2015 and if I had only known it, I could have moved things along a lot quicker if I’d had someone to talk to and bounce ideas off. It helps to have someone who had been through it all before to talk to. I do a lot of mentoring now with female entrepreneurship programme Going for Growth and I see how much mentoring can help entrepreneurs starting out.

I’d also stop sweating the little stuff. In the beginning, I was equally intense about everything. I’d like to have developed a better sense of perspective earlier. I’m much calmer now. That may just be the result of experience but I think if I were starting now I’d work on myself earlier than I did.

Nowadays, I make sure to do one big personal development course each year. This year it was NLP (neuro-linguistic programming). Recently I did a course with (life coach) Tony Robbins. Next year I’ll do something on mindfulness or emotional intelligence.

Anything that helps a business owner understand people better helps their business, even just realising that not all your staff are motivated by the same things. If I were starting again, I’d work on all that side of things much earlier than I did because the culture of your business is so important.

That said, starting a business is very full on, it’s 24/7, so maybe I wouldn’t have had the time to do all the things I now think I should have done differently. Other than getting a mentor, that is.

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