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 marketing specialist Jean Atkinson.
Why did you choose to become a mentor?
I have been fortunate enough throughout my career to have received mentoring from colleagues and peers alike. Without the generosity of these individuals, I wouldn’t be where I am now.
To be able to pay this forward by offering my support and expertise to other local business owners gives me a real sense of purpose and a great deal of satisfaction.
How do you make a real difference to Lancashire businesses?
First and foremost, I provide business owners with a safe space to discuss not only their company, but the impact running their business can have on them personally. I provide an independent viewpoint on their challenges which is invaluable for many business owners and can help them to see another way forward.
Aside from sharing my knowledge and experience, I am also a sounding board and a shoulder to cry on when times are tough.
What is your area of expertise and why is it an important area for business leaders to address?
As a marketing specialist, I understand the huge role marketing can play in the successful launch of a new product, entry into a new market, attracting new customers and keeping the ones you have.
Companies must focus on delivering a sincere, relatable message to its audience, connecting on a deeper level to gain trust. Without well-thought-out, targeted marketing, businesses will struggle to sustain their growth and achieve their goals.
What has been your most inspirational moment as a mentor?
Every moment is inspirational when you’re working with another business owner. My mentees are my peers, so any chance I get to meet like-minded individuals is always an inspirational moment.
The sheer determination and belief of these business owners motivates me every day.
What are the key challenges for Lancashire businesses at the moment?
Uncertainty is still the biggest challenge for companies and organisations. Although we’ve all had a shared experience over the past 18-months, the reality is that every single business has been impacted in its own unique way.
I’ve had clients who experienced growing pains due to an unprecedented increase in demand for their products and clients where the order book was literally wiped out overnight. It’s going to take some time to figure out how to support every one of these businesses over the coming years.
As a mentor, what are your three business growth tips?
1. Focus on your current customers to build your business. Identify ways in which you can get them to spend more with your company, encourage them to recommend you to others and touch base with them regularly to keep the communication channels open.
2. Identify the skills gaps in your business and hire the right people to help you achieve your goals. This could be directly employing them or outsourcing to specialists as and when you need them.
3. Utilise technology to streamline your internal processes. Whether it’s setting up automated email campaigns in Mailchimp, using diary booking software such as Calendly, tapping into project management tools like Asana or embracing all that Zoom has to offer, creating efficiencies across your business will ensure you get the most out of your people.
As a Boost Growth Mentor, Jean works with managing directors and senior management teams to develop ideas, initiatives and activities aimed towards helping the business – and its people – reach their potential.