Gael Holiday Homes is a web based business providing high quality holiday home and self - catering accommodation on a rental basis, started by husband and wife duo Les and Sheila Robinson in 2007, initially as a property management company but quickly growing to include rental bookings - now the business’ primary focus.
Les approached Business Mentoring Scotland as he had strong plans to continue the growth of the business and felt fundamental changes to the structure of the business were required in order to do this.
Les was matched with his mentor Cheryl Hopkins in February 2013 with mentoring taking place over the following 10 months. Cheryl is an extremely valuable recent addition to the Business Mentoring Scotland mentor pool, having built up expertise in all aspects of marketing through her almost 30 year long career, working for a number of international focused businesses and also starting up her own marketing and web site design business.
Gael Holiday Homes was already experiencing a 20-30% increase in annual turnover growth before joining Business Mentoring Scotland, however, since Les began meeting with Cheryl not only has turnover growth continued to increase but the business has experienced a huge increase in its profit margin – something Les acknowledges mentoring had a direct impact upon. As a result of his mentoring experience with Cheryl, Les is now acting as a mentor himself, using the skills he developed in his own 20 year experience in sales to help other businesses to grow.
Scottish Chambers of Commerce spoke with Les and he explained how Business Mentoring Scotland impacted upon his business:
Why did you join Business Mentoring Scotland?
“In my opinion most businesses already know what they want to do, but they want a second opinion from an experienced business person who has been over the course, this is what attracted us to mentoring.”
Were there any specific business issues you wanted to address?
“There were no specific or immediate issues, we thought it would be good to have a like-minded individual to bounce ideas off and to get feedback from someone experienced, even if just to share horror stories. We did know we wanted to grow and needed a strategy in which to do this.”
How did the mentoring relationship work?
“Co-incidentally I knew Cheryl beforehand, so we got on very well and it was very easy. Every time we met I would have 2 or 3 ideas to share with her. We met in person once a month and maintained regular phone & email contact, this felt like more than enough.”
What was the impact of mentoring?
“Cheryl’s mentoring helped us identify & better define mine & Sheila’s roles in the business, allowing us to concentrate on what we do best. This freed up time on a day to day basis so we could concentrate on our long term growth strategy. In essence, we became more efficient.”
Did you receive any other forms of assistance?
“We didn’t receive any other forms of assistance. In the past I’ve found other forms of support difficult to access and limited in terms of the types of businesses that can apply.”
What separates mentoring from other types of intervention?
“I would class mentoring as a growth tool, it’s ideal for businesses that are beyond the stage of just surviving and that are ready to move in to that next stage of growth.”
Would you recommend Business Mentoring Scotland to other businesses?
“Absolutely, after my experience with Cheryl and Business Mentoring Scotland I’ve now became a business mentor myself. The beauty of mentoring is that both mentees and mentors learn something, every day is like a school day, and it’s great to now give something back. Mentoring is one of the few things out there that actually works.”