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Budding businesses and their mentors

POSTED: 1st September 2014
IN: Business news
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Mentoring has rapidly gained popularity within the SME community in recent years, with the Federation of Small Businesses even suggesting small businesses with a mentor are twice as likely to survive beyond five years as those without.

undefinedGiven these poignant statistics, the latest article in Aldermore’s Budding Businesses series recognises four examples where a mentor’s expertise has proven invaluable for a growing firm.

Twists Pasta Bar

Enterprising duo Jeffrey Postlethwaite and Adam Thompson met at university and quickly began testing out a business idea providing a healthier alternative to traditional fast-food outlets. The pair have worked with several mentors including Huddersfield University Vice Chancellor Bob Cryan, but attribute much of their success to the PR knowledge of current mentor Janet Marshall.

“Having mentors has made it a million times easier,” Postlethwaite told Get Mentoring. “It would have taken twice as long, been twice as expensive and twice as stressful to do it on our own.”

Gael Holiday Homes

Six years after starting his web-based holiday home rental business with wife Sheila, Les Robinson decided dramatic changes were needed to bring a new wave of growth for the firm. Approaching Business Mentoring Scotland, Robinson was paired with marketing expert and fellow entrepreneur Cheryl Hopkins, who has played a pivotal role in boosting profit margins for Gael Holiday Homes.

“I would class mentoring as a growth tool,” states Robinson. “It’s ideal for businesses that are beyond the stage of just surviving and that are ready to move in to that next stage of growth.”

Kakao by K

For fashion entrepreneur Karina Baldorf, the experience of mentoring has well-exceeded her expectations. After being matched with banking expert Linda Gill, Baldorf has seen sales of Kakoa by K’s Scandinavian inspired designs soar, but feels the figures tell only half the story when it comes to the benefits of mentoring.

“Before going into mentoring my target was to increase annual sales revenue by 5%, but after mentoring had finished my annual revenue had actually increased by 18%,” Baldorf is proud to report.

One Minute London

Nelson Sivalingam, owner of hospitality video marketing platform One Minute London, believes mentoring opens up doors for those who don’t come from an entrepreneurial background.

“No-one else in my circle of friends or family are in entrepreneurship so there isn’t really a source I can go to,” comments Sivalingam, adding “Having someone there as a sample that I can discuss ideas with and brainstorm different strategies is really helpful.”

Learning from his mentoring sessions with Jared Jesner, founder of WeSwap currency exchange platform, Sivalingam advises SMEs to take a pro-active role in seeking advice, but understand that mentors often have their own business to run.

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