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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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!