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A minute with a Boost mentor: Tony Openshaw

A minute with a mentor Tony Openshaw

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 Tony Openshaw, a qualified business mentor with a strong background in marketing and business planning.

Why did you choose to become a mentor?

I like to help people! I get my job satisfaction from seeing others succeed. Being able to share my experience, provide a different perspective and shine a light on a particular area that can help overcome a problem and unlock some previously unidentified potential gives me that feeling of being able to contribute in a practical way. I’m also nosy about other people’s businesses. I’m never happier than looking round a factory, workshop or offices and learning about what a business does!

How do you make a real difference to Lancashire businesses?

As a Boost growth mentor – the clue is in the job title! Helping businesses to grow is what I’m wanting to achieve. All businesses are different, so its not one size fits all. It’s about working with a business owner on those areas they want to address. That involves working together and coming up with workable solutions. My approach is to simplify where possible. Break tasks down so they become manageable and do-able.

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

My area of expertise is marketing. I’ve spent over 20 years in marketing, the last years of which were at director level. The strategic aspects of marketing is where I feel I can add most value. It’s about marketing planning that’s aligned to the overall business vision and objectives. Branding plays an increasingly big part of this, particularly the brand values a business wants to promote. Marketing is already recognised by most business leaders as being important, but it is the strategic aspects that often require focus - the integration of the various marketing channels and being consistent in the messaging and branding.

What has been your most inspirational moment as a mentor?

In providing growth mentoring, I’ve been fortunate to see many businesses scale-up, and sometimes very quickly. As such, there’s been a number of inspirational moments. I like to look back to where the mentoring started and see in a relatively short-space of time what a business has achieved. I had a text from a business that I’d mentored a while ago, letting me know they’d been successful in being awarded funding for a project I’d helped them with. Those are the moments that are rewarding for me as well as the business.

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

For many businesses they’ve not had a ‘normal’ trading year for some time. With the pandemic, Brexit and now the state of the economy, Lancashire businesses have had a lot to contend with. But the challenge is not to lose sight of the future direction and focus for the business. If the short-term has had to be about survival, start to think about creating capacity as a business owner to plan ahead. It’s the businesses that plan, evolve and anticipate change that come out on top!

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

  1. Have a plan. It doesn’t have to be war and peace, but it does need to set out your business aims and how you are going to achieve them. I do lean business planning with clients. It’s agile, focused and adaptable. 2. Be self-aware. Realise you may not have all the answers, but be prepared to reach out and ask questions of those that can help you. A mentor could be a good solution and offer that sounding board and business experience you can draw on. 3. You can’t do it all. Employ good people or outsource to good suppliers and delegate effectively. It’s your business, but good businesses have good teams that deliver results. Tony Openshaw - mentor Tony Openshaw is an experienced business support professional who has helped hundreds of businesses in Lancashire through the various roles he’s held as a business advisor, engagement officer and growth mentor. Typically, he helps businesses with their business planning, implementation of projects and prioritisation. With a background in marketing, Tony often works with businesses to achieve their strategic marketing aims, aligning this to their growth goals and business ambitions.
  2. 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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