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Marketing experts line up to mentor UK’s brightest creative businesses

A downturn in business growth around the UK was highlighted in a recent Market report, which showed UK companies cutting down on advertising spending. With the need for constant innovation and increased competition, enterprise education and professional development will be critical in the sustained success of growing marketing firms, but in these cash-strapped times, where can businesses find the help they need?

At Nesta, we've been looking at mentoring as one way of meeting this need effectively and at a relatively low cost. Our Creative Business Mentor Network, which opened last week for a 3rd cohort of applications, demonstrates how with a little bit of organisation and some generous support from volunteer mentors, you can have a huge impact in helping creative businesses to thrive. Businesses in this sector are often set up by people whose creative talents outweigh their business acumen and mentoring is a great way of learning these skills. We think that all businesses in the creative sector should think about the benefits of being a mentor or finding one to help them.

Given the right set-up, all mentoring takes is a more experienced person giving up a bit of their time to help nurture someone who's looking for help. In addition, a mentor is someone you can be completely honest with, a sounding board and someone objective and removed enough to see the bigger picture. It can be lonely at the top - having an impartial, objective arm's length perspective can be a welcome offering.

In business mentoring, the idea of industry giving back to industry is a popular one for those who have achieved success and want to pass on their expertise. And we’ve seen our mentors get a lot out of mentoring too. Reasons for being a mentor include being able to spot new trends as well as connecting with the next generation of business folk.

Nesta has an incredible line-up of 30 of the industry’s leading lights as mentors for this year’s programme including Patrick McKenna, Ingenious Media and member of the Advisory Board of Bartle Bogle Hegarty; Neil Morris, Engine; Tim Bonnet, Creston; and Andy De Groose, TBWA to name just a few. With their help we are very much looking forward to making a long-lasting impact when we match them to the UK’s brightest businesses.

To begin with, we will be focusing on businesses in the digital marketing/advertising and media, film, games and television sectors. We know these sectors are packed with established businesses that burst at the seams with talent; by introducing an experienced executive we hope to unlock the potential of good creative businesses and help them develop into world beaters.

CBMN mentoring in action – A case study

Agency Inc, an integrated advertising agency established in 2003 by Matthew Morgan, is an excellent success story of the CBMN programme.  Matthew, who was looking to develop a more formal business strategy to help counteract the tough economic times, was paired with David Kershaw, the Cheif Executive of global advertising agency M&C Saatchi.

David examined Agency Inc’s finances as well as helped them develop a solid business plan.  Moreover, he guided Matthew in narrowing his firm’s strategy by focusing on the sport and leisure sub-division.  As a result of the mentoring programme, Agency Inc has been able to present itself to prospective clients in a clearer and more persuasive way. The company has since won six new clients in consecutive pitches.  Overall, the mentoring experience re-enthused Matthew’s passion for growing his business and has given him the confidence to develop it in a more focused, hands-on way.

Why take part in Nesta’s Creative Business Mentor Network?

The 64,000 dollar question perhaps, but with a simple answer. For ambitious creative businesses that have done the hard work of starting up, winning clients and delivering great work, this is the perfect opportunity to achieve your business aspirations. Our business mentors have a breadth of expertise that can give fresh energy and experience to any challenge in any sector. Nesta has tried and tested business mentoring and we know it makes a difference. So the message is simple, if your business hasn’t yet got where you want it to be, this could be the catalyst to fulfilling your potential in the future.