Richard Hall, PD-M – June 2022

I had met Jonathan Sands a few times before engaging with Connect Yorkshire and it is fair to say that part of the reason for joining Connect Yorkshire was to access titans such as Jonathan. To give context I am planning the next three to five years of business growth and mentoring is something that I need in order to have transparent, direct dialogue and a sounding board.

Jonathan was able to quickly diagnose my current position and identify three primary factors to address as part of the early stages of strategic development. These were (i) is it time to bring a running mate into my company? (ii) Consider repositioning the business and be more explicit and direct regarding the impact and effectiveness to clients (iii) Be more active at networking, fostering relationships with clients, colleagues, friends etc – effectively a relationship plan.

The session was insightful and has given me the impetus to roll up my sleeves and start putting plans in place.

Sarah Blenkinsop, Golden Frog Marketing – June 2022

I was fortunate to attend an event where David Smalley was on the panel, and delighted when he agreed to have an EIR mentoring session with me. I am on the verge of creating a SAAS proof of concept, and although I can see a route to market, needed some technical advice.

David has definitely ‘been there and done that’, and was able to advise me on some of the pitfalls to avoid, both with engaging with developers and in the planning and execution of the offering. To have this insight was invaluable – I will definitely be taking his advice and he’s kindly offered that I can keep in touch to discuss any further developments.

Emma Armitage, Excel Water – June 2022

I had a good session with Edward Naylor. The 3 big issues we discussed were:

  1. I should think about doing the employee ownership piece at a later stage; I will have enough on my plate acquiring another stake in the business.
  2. The financiers’ proposals look ok (Edward actually quite liked the “kick the can down the road” element of a 5/6 year bullet) but given the relatively high interest rates, he thought I should have  flexibility to prepay debt if our cash flow is good.
  3. Edward liked the idea of a non-Exec to act as a sounding board as we grow; maybe stage 1 would be to invite the person I mentioned to just sit in on a couple of months’ board meetings and see how it goes.

Paul Kenny, Aquatrust Water & Ventilation – May 2022

“I was introduced to Achille Traore of Top Screen Media recently as part of my Connect Yorkshire membership. I must say that I was thoroughly impressed by his new viewpoint on our business. Its good to get a an outsiders view on how you can make your business work better and I went away from the meeting totally enthused by his input.

Achille is definitely a great example of “todays” business and gave me some well imparted knowledge on the digital era and how this can benefit Aquatrust. Many thanks for the intro Connect Yorkshire!”

Achille Traore, Top Screen Media – May 2022

My mentoring session with Entrepreneur in Residence David Richards was really good. David founded Wandisco, a US listed IT business and as he lives and works in the US our conversation was online. My main issue was how to best structure pricing for our Software as a Service platform (SaaS). The valuation of a business can vary significantly depending on the pricing model, especially when dealing with potential equity investors. David provided really good advice and as a result we have changed our pricing structure. Thank you David-and Connect Yorkshire for organising it.

Robert Brown, Metalube – April 2022

Thank you very much Edward Naylor for your time. As always very much enjoyed catching up with you and benefiting from your experienced advice.

Its very good of you to give me some of your time.

Thank you for sending through the comments. It does seem we have been having similar experiences – and let’s hope we can navigate through the next 6 to 12 months…. When we may see a different side to the world economics…. But its anyone’s guess at the moment!

If its ok with you – I’ll make contact again around 6 months’ time…. will be good to discuss how the businesses are performing.

Once again many thanks for your time and help. Hope you have a good few months with business and pleasure and look forward to catching up again so

Glenn Mead, Face Value – April 2022

The challenge that I brought to my mentoring meeting with Michael Bridge was how to grow my business. Through the course of a relaxed, 90-minute-long discussion over coffee, Michael developed his understanding of what my business offers, but from a potential customer’s point of view and reflected that back to me. That was extremely useful, because, as business owners and leaders, it is so easy to fall into the trap of assuming that our offering is obvious and easy to understand: if we understand why it’s useful, then surely everyone else does too?

Michael helped me to answer the customer’s cardinal question: what’s in it for me? What benefit does my service offering give my customers? With my focus now on helping businesses to save money and increase profits, I was able to cut the waffle out of my website and get my message across in the fleeting few seconds in which visitors’ attention and interest must be grabbed. I’m now looking forward to doing the same at the training event I’m delivering to Connect Yorkshire on 9 Jun 22.

Lisa Pogson, Airmaster Air Conditioning – April 2022

Well CY, you did it again!  We have been members for a number of years and have had the opportunity of picking the brains of some amazing EIRs throughout our growth.

From our very first session with Julie Kenny, no nonsense advice – great mentor;  following year, a great meeting with Simon Biltcliffe to hear about Employee Engagement and communications. (That ultimately led to doing short Vlogs with our Team through the early Lockdown days too – thanks Simon).  This year we have continued those discussions and I had the absolute pleasure of meeting the amazingly enthusiastic Hugh Facey (Gripple) at one of their sites, socially distanced of course.

We talked all things employee engagement, customer service, innovation, communication and Awards too.  They have had lots – what a great team they are at Gripple!  Thank you for your help and support.

We really appreciated the way that you sorted the connections – we were really looked after and they have suggested following support too.  Same with Simon B when we caught up for a chat about where we are… Great team of people doing a great job.  Over the years, we have attended meetings and Master Classes and there are so many nuggets of information…  Neil Ewins, Graham Royle, Edward Naylor, to name but a few, alongside all the above….Thanks!

Dan Broadbent, Objective Creative – March 2022

We always benefit enormously from our mentoring sessions. Our regular meetings with Connect Yorkshire mentors are particularly useful during periods of growth.

As our mentors have experienced similar opportunities and challenges they add tremendous value to our business planning process.

We feel sure that our mentors have contributed to Objective achieving 35% year on year business growth.

Richard Keeting, Newstone Group – March 2022

Being a member of Connect Yorkshire allowed me to connect with Jonathan Turner of Bayford Group.

I struggle to think of another environment where you can surround yourself with such a high calibre of business people and truly inspirational individuals.

The opportunity to meet with JT on a 1-2-1 basis and discuss, business, success and personal values was both encouraging and inspiring. I have already begun applying several insights taken from our meeting which I know will help me going forward both personally and professionally.