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A minute with a Boost mentor: Mick Cox

A minute with a mentor Mick Cox

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 Mick Cox, a former CEO of one of the country’s leading distance learning and edtech companies.

Why did you choose to become a mentor?

Having been retired for the last four years, I decided now was the time to get involved in some sort of programme where I felt I could add value to the local community. I originally looked at a number of excellent voluntary organisations across the Fylde coast and was going to press ahead by getting involved with one of them until by accident I came across Boost’s Growth Mentoring Programme. Straight away I realised this was a perfect opportunity for me to support young and small businesses by sharing relevant aspects of my own journey before building a multi-million-pound market leading organisation.

How do you make a real difference to Lancashire businesses?

Even though I am still early on my own journey working with Boost, I have found that each and every one of the companies I have worked with so far have the same challenges and problems that I have faced myself over the years. Where I feel I have made the most impact, is assuring them that they have a great business! Too often business founders ‘down cry’ their achievements and adapt an ‘apologetic’ tone for some of the current situations they find themselves. My approach is to install confidence, remind them that they and their teams have a done a great job already, and work with them to visualise what future success might look like.

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

In a nutshell – GROWTH. With growth comes challenges. These challenges are things that I can talk about from experience and quickly relate my experiences to current situations that business owners talk to me about. The challenge with successful growth is being ready for it. If you grow too quickly you are properly not properly organised and structured as a business, so any possible growth opportunities could be wasted, and worse, delivered in a poor chaotic fashion. This in turn not only effects any growth targets, but often has a negative impact on company reputation, impacting on all areas of the business. Therefore, an unplanned growth strategy can in turn lead to overall revenue decline and occasionally closure!!

What has been your most inspirational moment as a mentor?

Recently I was leaving a company’s offices with the CEO after completing a three-hour mentoring session. One of the senior directors of the company came out after us and said: “That was excellent, you’ve really inspired me.”

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

Staffing. For small to medium companies, the risk of recruiting someone who doesn’t fulfil the role to the required standard often creates a nervousness about going out into the job market. But not doing so, puts extra pressure on existing staff members, who in turn can experience burn out. If there was some sort of external service that could help new employees be embedded into a company without taking up too much time for existing staff members, I feel this could generate a surge in recruitment over the region.

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

  1. Plan for growth – have clear strategies that will allow you to meet your budget. 2. Operate your business as a medium to large business in terms of reporting and governance – however small you might think you are. 3. Be ambitious – fulfil your potential. Mick Cox Boost mentor Initially working as a theatre director and producer, Mick then took a number of senior roles in public and private education organisations before co-founding and being CEO of one of the country’s leading distance learning and edtech companies, with a turnover of £30m and over 200 employees. No longer taking an active management role in the company he founded, Mick enjoys spending his time mentoring the next wave of aspiring high growth businesses to achieve the same level of success he himself has accomplished.

Boost is helping Lancashire businesses. We have a range of funded support programmes and a team of business advisers you can talk to. To speak to someone from the Growth Hub about business support, contact Boost online or call 0800 488 0057.

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