Mentorship Helps Design Agency Get Out of its Comfort Zone

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Boudy and Walid Nasrala are two brothers who own one of Beirut’s most successful and well known creative agencies, WonderEight. A nine-year-old business, WonderEight was already established but needed a ‘push’ to take it to the next level. Walid (the creative) and Boudy (the businessman) knew each other so well - and had been having the same discussions so often- that they never quite came up with concrete actions to achieve the next phase of growth. “We had the same conversations all the time.” says Boudy. “We never questioned our actions, and never debated our ideas we never really got anywhere. “

Without knowing quite what to expect, Boudy applied for mentoring through the Mowgli Foundation, which has launched year-long mentorship programs for startups in Lebanon and Jordan. He was matched with Chris, from the UK. “I was lucky to meet someone like Chris- WonderEight’s position meant that I really needed someone who understood business, who had really been there and done it. A company which is established cannot be as reactive as a very new company- you cannot just change direction. Chris isn’t just someone who’s read a lot of business theory in books.”

As an experienced businessman, Boudy felt that Chris added value as an impartial, objective voice - and provided a welcome fresh perspective. Not only that, “we really clicked.” says Boudy. Chris was happy to be a ‘sounding board’ for ideas, and this helped Boudy and his brother have constructive discussions. Decision making for Wonder Eight has become a more rigorous and forward-looking process: “Chris and I would set the goals and look at the numbers, and then I would get my brother’s input on it- while being much more methodical and taking a much more long-term view than we did before.”

Chris encouraged him to listen to Walid more, and to be more innovative. “We’ve stopped running the business on a ‘day-by-day’ basis , and started looking to the future,” Boudy says. WonderEight has expanded in the past year from 8 staff to 12.5 and has made the strategic move to working with fewer but much bigger clients.

They’ve learned a lot, and the brothers have big plans for the future- while still keeping in touch with Chris 18 months on. The most important thing Boudy has learned? To really reach the next level of growth, Boudy himself had to really believe his business was worth it- so that he could sell it to the world. “You have to stop being so anchored in what you’re doing.” says Boudy. “I had to become more confident, and really change, from inside.”

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