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Boost briefing: Providing business mentoring during lockdown

Business Plan Anne Williamson BANNER

Anne Williamson has been providing mentoring through the Boost Growth Mentoring programme for several years now. She looks at how the business mentoring process has evolved during lockdown.

Up until lockdown, my mentoring support through Boost consisted of face-to-face meetings with business owners or directors, usually at their premises.

The 12 hours of one-to-one support I provide Boost clients is around marketing plans and activity to grow their business. I am usually working with a couple of businesses each month, travelling to different areas of Lancashire.

I normally mentor no more than two clients at any one time, as this is my way of ‘giving back’ to the local business community, alongside running my own business.

How lockdown has changed the way  I work

Before lockdown I was mentoring just one client. They were in the process of having a brand new website built, however their plans were put on hold as a consequence of the current situation.

I presumed this would be the case with many businesses across Lancashire, putting their business on hold until lockdown ended. 

How wrong I was!

I am at present supporting four different businesses through Boost mentoring, however it is quite different during lockdown.

As the sessions are all delivered over Zoom, it has cut out travelling time. This means I have been able to work with more businesses. It is wonderful that so many businesses are taking this current time to focus ON their businesses rather than working in them. They are taking advantage of having space in their diary (and minds) to allocate to their growth plans.

Time to focus ON your business

Part of the mentoring process looks at the business’s twelve-month Growth Action Plan. Whilst the current situation has thrown them curve balls, all those I am working with are optimistic with their business goals. In the fourth session with one of my clients, we have revisited their original Growth Action Plan as they have already hit their 12-month turnover target.

Normally I would have three-hour face-to-face mentoring sessions, however over Zoom the maximum session is now two hours, because the sessions are just so intense. There is no quick cup of tea and maybe a little biscuit on the side over Zoom.

Working over Zoom has also brought about the added bonus of being able to share screens and documents, which have sped up the reviewing of plans and activity.

On reflection, mentoring via Zoom has many benefits. Whilst the travelling has been cut out and contributing to less pollution, the sessions have worked well over Zoom. I can see that this may be a way of working in the future, once an initial face-to-face meeting has taken place.

Is it time for you to work on your business goals?

There is no doubt that my experience of mentoring during lockdown has proven that is has been an opportune time for many business owners to focus on future business goals. Some of the areas you should consider include:

  • Business goals: Defining goals and your plans to achieve them. Make sure to include specific projects with deadlines.
  • Ideal customers: Look at approaching marketing in a targeted format. Do some customer profiling to make sure you really know who they are. Have your customers changed? Has their spending or buying behaviour and their product choices and requirements changed since lockdown?
  • Marketing planning: Update your marketing plans and make sure they cover the current situation and fit in with your future growth plans.
  • Marketing collateral: Think about what’s needed and what can be worked on now for the future. This may include new written content – blog posts and article, updating your website, new videos and brochures.
  • Communication: Don’t forget the importance of communication, especially during lockdown. Stay in touch with clients, employees, business partners and suppliers too.

If you’re looking to work ON your business, especially at the moment whilst you have the time, do contact Boost and find out what support is available to you. Mentoring is just one aspect of the many areas of support that are available to you and your business. As a business mentor for Boost Lancashire, Anne mentors B2B business owners looking to grow their businesses. She has mentored over thirty businesses.

Growth Mentoring is a fully funded programme where your business is matched with a successful business person who’ll support you to tackle the challenges that you are facing in growing your business. These challenges could include: business planning, finance, sales, marketing and human resource management to name just a few.

To discuss your business needs and to explore the support options available to you, contact the Boost team on 0800 488 0057.

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