As part of promoting the valuable mentoring support delivered through Boost’s Growth Mentoring programme, we highlight some of the mentors behind the scenes that work with Lancashire businesses.
So take a break for a minute and read about Anne Williamson, a marketing communications and customer service specialist.
Why did you choose to become a mentor?
I was approached by Boost after a seminar I did. I’d never even considered mentoring, but it fits so well with my wanting to help people. I really enjoy discovering the amazing businesses within Lancashire and the fab people behind them.
How do you make a real difference to Lancashire businesses?
I had a look through testimonials from Boost clients and here are some sentences . . .
“Anne enabled me to look at marketing in a different way, which I am sure will benefit my company for years to come.”
“Your personality, ideas and business advice have been fun, productive and will definitely help move my business forward.”
“Anne helped me to develop a marketing plan which will support the growth of my business. She is very approachable and easy to talk to and has encouraged me to consider different approaches.”
What is your area of expertise and why is it an important area to for business leaders to address?
The relationship side of marketing is my expertise, with the focus on customer service.
Involving customers in your business will save you time in product and service development and will stop you wasting both time and money producing products or services that people don’t really have a need for.
You may think you know what your customer wants, however your customers will give you so many ideas and marketing messages if you spend the time with them talking through your plans.
Develop outstanding customer service and keep looking for ways to improve. Be the business that everyone remembers for great customer service.
Many businesses don’t identify who their ideal customer is and use the same marketing messages everywhere, rather than specific messages to different target customers.
What has been your most inspirational moment as a mentor?
I’ve been so inspired by all the businesses I have worked with over the past five years and especially those business who have taken the time to work on their business during lockdown, when they found their world turned upside down overnight.
One of these businesses changed its business focus to start engaging a remote sales team and hit 70 per cent of their annual target within our sessions together. They were so open to possibilities.
Another business had been hit hard when its main client cut back on the services they required. So they took the time to rebrand, developed a website and now they have new business clients using their services. Having supplied one key client for many years, the business owners now realise this carried risks and are focussing on building a spread of clients.
What are the key challenges for Lancashire businesses at the moment?
Adapting to Change. For some their whole industry potentially stopped functioning, so change was needed to survive. Look at how restaurants have adapted to offering takeaway meals, cook at home meals and even fruit and veg boxes to keep their own suppliers in business.
Manufacturing Delays. Some businesses have struggled with getting supplies of material as manufacturers slowed down production or closed altogether. This can affect customer relationships and it is critical for businesses to keep in constant contact with customers over delays.
As a mentor, what are your three business growth tips?
- Ask your past customers what they would like to see you offer in your business. Customers always have ideas for improvements and now could be the time for you to develop some of these ideas.
- Identify who are your ideal customers and spend time finding more like them and market to them, rather than ‘everybody’.
- Every month reflect on activity, what worked, what didn’t work and adapt your marketing plans. Don’t wait until the end of the year to do this.
Anne Williamson has been involved in marketing for over 30 years, always with a focus on customer relationship building. She operates Customer Love a consultancy that works with businesses who are looking to increase customer retention rates and develop improved customer relationships.
Anne is also the author of ‘Are you a one night stand business?’ and she holds a CIM Professional Diploma in Marketing.