Insights from a Nesta mentoring relationship
Below, Tess and Danny have given us a glimpse into what a mentoring relationship looks like, what it can achieve and the unexpected and surprising benefits of the experience. As many of our previous mentees have noted, guidance and advice from an experienced mentor can help set a business on the road to growth and the mentor learns a lot of the way too!
Tess Alps, Thinkbox (mentor) says:
Mentoring outside of your sector is a fantastic eye opener
“Nesta’s inaugural Creative Business Mentor Network gave me a privileged opportunity to get close to a creative business that was at a crossroads in its development. I had mentored various individuals before but never a company, and it required me to familiarise myself with a sector of the creative industry I was less familiar with. This proved to be a fantastic eye-opener and I learned a great deal in the process.”
Answers within + guidance = impact
As with all mentoring schemes, the mentees provided all the answers to their own questions; I was merely a midwife. But I hope that introducing a few basic business concepts – competitive market analysis, 5 year forecasting, succession management etc - into their planning, lubricated the passage for the birth of the new-look Hotspur and Argyle. One crucial element was to distinguish between what were market trends at the time and what factors were specific to them and their business performance. And, inevitably, we did address a few personal factors that can’t fail to feature in any owner/manager business.
I’m delighted to say that H&A is now thriving and expanding in all sorts of ways, thanks to the partners’ own ideas - and their very hard work. This is very gratifying to witness. Along the way, I’ve also made two excellent friends who have helped my business out on several occasions since.
I would highly recommend making available the modest time needed to offer yourself as a mentor to this excellent scheme.”
Danny Fleet, Hotspur & Argyle (mentee) says:
“I wish Tess would give me the answer” was often on my mind when I left a mentoring session with Tess Alps at Thinkbox. And then a few days after the sessions, I’d be thinking about what Tess had suggested, prodded and cajoled, and the answers would begin to come. It was a fantastic experience. Having a seat with an absolute authority in the Advertising Industry was hugely motivating. Careful nurturing and guidance over the months was helping me to realise for myself that we can do this. We can get through what had been an awful, recession filled year and grow this business.
Talented creatives, not business experts
When we set up in Commercials film production, we had a passion for what we did and we loved the work, but we didn't come into it with any formal business planning or training. Being part of the Creative Business Mentor Network was the start of a long, ongoing, learning journey and we will always be indebted to the wonderful Tess Alps and Nesta for starting the process.
We have continued to stay in touch with fellow mentees and there’s plenty of crossover in the differing industries that allows a good flow of ideas.
It doesn’t matter how young or old you are, whether you have a fairly new business or are desperately trying to turn around an oil tanker, I cannot recommend it highly enough.”
If you are an established business with growth potential and work in Film, TV, Advertising or Digital Media and are keen to get a business mentor, please register your interest here initially.
We will be open for full applications soon and we plan to have a new group of mentors and mentees starting in April.