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A minute with a Boost mentor: Nikki Hesford

A minute with a Boost mentor Nikki Hesford

Through the fully funded Boost Growth Mentoring programme, business owners and managers can access a wide variety of professional experts to help them develop and grow their business. We highlight some of the mentors working with Lancashire businesses behind the scenes.

So take a break and read about Nikki Hesford, a multi award-winning entrepreneur in the fashion and e-commerce sector. She is also the managing director of The Small Business Academy, and responsible for delivering the Boost Growth Mentoring Programme.

Why did you choose to become a mentor?

After nearly 15 years in business, there aren’t many problems I haven’t seen or solved, and to share that experience with business owners who are struggling to navigate those challenges is a privilege.

I didn’t have anyone to mentor me when I started out, but if I had, I would have found success a lot quicker and wasted less money!

How do you make a real difference to Lancashire businesses?

Working one-to-one with a business means the content of our sessions is entirely bespoke to them and their needs, however niche that may be, means the impact from those sessions makes a real difference.

It allows the business owner to take a shortcut, by having someone beside them who can unlock the answers, rather than spending months trying to find the key themselves.

What is your area of expertise and why is it an important area to for business leaders to address?

I specialise in e-commerce and Facebook Ads, and particularly since the pandemic, business owners have needed to pivot quickly to selling their services online where they perhaps never needed to before.

Selling online allows traditional businesses to expand their pool of potential customers outside of their local geography, rather than relying on local footfall. But knowing how to actually do that, is a skill many business owners are still trying to learn.

What has been your most inspirational moment as a mentor?

I’m a very commercially driven marketer and mentor – and so I start with a revenue goal and work back from that, developing tangible targets for leads/enquiries and sales – there’s a penny drop moment with all businesses where there’s a sudden clarity between their marketing activities and a commercial outcome. Every time we get that breakthrough, where they’ve taken full ownership of their revenue goals and actions to achieve it, is an inspirational moment.

What are the key challenges for Lancashire businesses at the moment?

Almost all businesses are battling cost increases, coupled with a fear of declining sales as consumers tighten their belts. But there is always opportunity, even in a recession, for those who grab it.

As well as practical challenges, businesses are susceptible to being infected by media negativity – keeping business owners motivated, optimistic and enthusiastic when they’re being bombarded with messages of doom every day is a challenge, but we’re helping them to see the opportunity in the problem, not the problem in the opportunity.

As a mentor, what are your three business growth tips?

  1. Get out from behind your desk and seek out rooms of people who motivate and inspire you. When you’re the most successful person in the room, then find a new room. Even having a little bit of envy from other people’s success, can be a positive motivator.
  2. Invest in yourself – you’re never too successful to learn and grow. Take time out for personal development, even if that’s only 2-3 hours a month.
  3. Don’t leave the ownership of your financials to your accountant!

 Nikki Hesford, Head of Boost Growth Mentoring programme

Nikki Hesford started running FaceBook ads for her own business, a fashion e-commerce business back in 2009, that later appeared on Dragons Den and successfully received £250k investment.

She now operates Hesford Media, a Facebook Ads agency formed in August 2017 and The Small Business Academy, a training, mentoring and support hub based in Blackpool for SMEs, that also delivers the Boost Growth Mentoring Programme.


Would you like to see your business grow? So would we. To speak to someone from the Growth Hub about business support, contact Boost online or call 0800 488 0057.


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Department for Trade and Business
Northern Powerhouse
Lancashire County Council