It feels so long ago now, but we were once a small business starting out on our own, so we know how it feels to be the ‘newbie’ in town. Now as we head into our 17th year of business, our experiences over the years have taught us how much a little help can make a big difference to a new kid on the block. That’s why we’re always keen to support new companies to get off the ground by providing mentoring for them, as part of Business Mentoring Scotland.
The national mentoring programme is designed to match new businesses with a mentor who provides their expertise to help the business grown and develop and since 2001, UP has mentored over 40 new start, high growth or social enterprise businesses under the programme.
To explain a bit more about how the mentoring process works, we thought we’d include a case study on one of the companies which we’ve been working with recently, Craibstone Suites.
Established in 2009, Craibstone Suites consists of 15 immaculately presented hotel suites. The serviced apartments in Aberdeen are located within a recently refurbished Grade B listed townhouse in the very heart of the City centre.
The mentoring relationship started when Director of Craibstone Suites, Ross Watt responded to an email from the Aberdeen Grampian Chamber of Commerce and applied for a Business Mentor to help with the Marketing side of the business. Ross was soon matched with UP’s Managing Director, Campbell Urquhart.
With 14 years of mentoring experience under his belt, Campbell has helped Ross fine-tune Craibstone’s Marketing Strategy utilising smarter networking and targeting the right people for maximum opportunities to encourage repeat direct business. Additionally, together they examined different marketing and selling methods and emphases, targeting business users during the week and the leisure market at the weekends.
Furthermore, Campbell has helped Ross develop a Marketing brochure and looked at increasing his factoring business as well. Inevitably Ross and Campbell examined other areas which impacted on the marketing strategy including cash flow and pricing strategy. They simplified weekly and monthly revenue reporting and sharpened up data collection using this as a barometer of success.
Ross notes that the Craibstone Suites have greatly benefitted from Campbell’s fine tuning; with sales increasing consistently from 3% increase in January 2011 to 31% in January 2012. Additionally the uptake on the offering of company accounts to local businesses has increased fivefold, on a year ago. Ross enthused at the fantastic match Campbell was and how “he put the onus on me to do things better and we would see results by our following meeting.”
Campbell too is full of praise for Business Mentoring schemes. With a strong CSR ethic he explains that he himself was helped a great deal when starting The Urquhart Partnership and “enjoys the sense of self-satisfaction in the development and growth of new businesses, I also learn from what they are doing and what we discuss in our meetings.”
In addition to working with Business Mentoring Scotland, The Urquhart Partnership has a proven track record of working with organisations on a consultancy basis, designing, delivering and evaluating internal mentoring programmes. To find out more, please visit our website.
To find out more about Business Mentoring Scotland and read about other mentoring partnerships across the country, visit the Business Mentoring Scotland website.