Hard work plus mentoring: a recipe for success

Below, Daniel Macauley, Brandwave Marketing who completed his mentoring on the Nesta Creative Business Mentor Network programme last year lets us know how the experience worked for him and the outstanding benefits it had for his company.

Brandwave increase turnover by 30% and profit by 35% through hard work and mentoring

Daniel says:

I set Brandwave up in 2007 as a full-service, niche marketing agency specialising in the sports market. Seven years later, we are proud to have a truly global client base and to work with some of the leading athletes, brands and associations in the industry. Over the years, we have expanded both our team and services as we have continued to diversify into new sports and broaden our target market. 

Mentoring for improved performance

Coming from a sports background myself, I was very aware what a difference good professional coaching could make to an athlete’s performance. An expert mentor will always be able to hone skills and accelerate the learning process based on both their own experience and the experiences of others. Bearing this in mind, we had tried various business mentors over the years on an informal basis but had failed to find someone who really understood the specific intricacies of our industry and of our business. 

The Nesta mentoring program couldn’t have come at a more opportune time for us.  We realised that it was exactly what we needed to help elevate the company to the next level.  We submitted our application along with our video and were asked to come along for an interview. I think one of the things that we managed to convey well was how important finding the right mentor was for us and how much we wanted to be a part of the Nesta programme. When we found out that we had been selected, we were over the moon! 

The perfect mentor

The Nesta business mentor that was selected for us was Sarah Du Heaume, an extremely successful business owner, entrepreneur and investor with media-buy agencies all over the world. We first met with Sarah for coffee on a cold Saturday morning in London and we hit it off straight away! Sarah shared our enthusiasm for marketing and had a wealth of international business experience for us to draw upon. From the very beginning, she fully immersed herself in our business, understood our needs and the challenges we were facing and continually identified ways in which we could improve the business.

Prioritising the business areas to focus on

One of the biggest challenges was trying to prioritise which areas of the business to focus on i.e. which areas would give us the best return on our time, money and effort. After an initial discovery period, where Sarah came to visit us in our offices for a day, we identified the most important three key areas for improvement:

  • Strategic business planning
  • Operations management
  • Financial transparency 

We worked with Sarah for a 12 month period on these areas, generally meeting at the end of each month either in London or at our offices on the South coast. The meetings usually consisted of reviewing our objectives from the previous meeting, discussing any issues and setting objectives to work on over the next month. A nice lunch and good bottle of wine always seemed to help lubricate the process. 

Getting the right mentor = acceleration

We have now finished the Nesta program and I am happy to say that it has been a great success for us. Our turnover has increased by over 30% and our profit has increased by over 35%. We now have a detailed three year business plan and a full-time operations manager in place. We have also overhauled our own marketing which has given us a real voice in our industry and massively raised our brand profile. 

I think one of the key success factors for us was ensuring that we met with our mentor on a regular basis and had a structured approach to our meetings. Identifying and prioritising business objectives at the start was also really integral to the success of the program. 

I would like to thank Sarah and everyone at Nesta for their professionalism, patience and enthusiasm. The Nesta program comes highly recommended from the Brandwave team!

To learn more about Brandwave, visit www.brandwavemarketing.com


Celeste Salas

Celeste Salas

Celeste Salas

Assistant Programme Manager

Celeste managed the Creative Business Mentor Network, a programme which aims to nurture some of the UK’s most promising creative companies by matching them with successful mentors.

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