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Case study

My mentor provided a vital sounding board for my business

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Amanda Gordon was looking for some extra support and advice to help get her business idea off the ground. She discovered Be the Business’s 12-week mentoring programme – and quickly leapt at the opportunity.

Smartfreeze are innovative, durable and versatile containers for food storage, born out of Amanda’s frustration with inefficient food preparation and unnecessary food wastage. By downloading the Smartfreeze app, you can also scan the barcodes on each container to discover what’s in it, when it was made and when it’s due to expire.

Launched in March 2020, Smartfreeze is already showing promising progress. Yet, Amanda was in need of business advice before she felt ready to push her product to a wider market – particularly surrounding marketing and sales.

“I haven't run a business before, and I felt I needed support. At the time, I was hardly getting any sales. I needed ideas for sales and marketing,” explained Amanda.

"Fleshing out" her business plan

For any business owner, having a sturdy business plan is a vital asset. Not only will it help guide your business’s growth, but it will also be instrumental when searching for investment.

As an experienced business owner themselves, Amanda’s mentor had the tools to help her develop and strengthen her business plan. She notes how they helped her define customer demographics, what she could get from them and what messaging would resonate.

From this, Amanda was able to establish where she should target her marketing efforts, which helped free up her time in the long run.

“I was able to move that on to my content creator, who was then able to build four personas based on what we’d created,” she said.

The importance of a growth mindset

Another hurdle for many entrepreneurs is understanding how to grow their business sustainably. When you’re a small business owner, you often have a lot you want to get done with the limited resources available.

Amanda explains how her mentor helped her improve how she handled money, as well as guiding her to appropriate support that there is out there. This helped Smartfreeze prepare for potential investment opportunities, which Amanda is now ready to undertake.

“It got my mind thinking about if I want to grow, I need funding. I’m getting investment ready as we speak – I want to start my first round shortly,” commented Amanda.

An external perspective keeps you open-minded

Sometimes the most valuable thing for a business owner is someone to act as a sounding board to bounce their ideas off. Especially if you work in a small team, an extra set of eyes to cast over any ideas can make all the difference.

Amanda particularly found a mentor helpful for some extra guidance and, even if they had opposing opinions to her, having a second perspective was incredibly useful to help think more openly.

“The mentoring helped me immensely. It’s about being open minded and honest with the information you receive.

“In a world where it’s really expensive to get mentoring, I found this hugely useful. They could guide me through anything I was uncertain about and give me a sounding board,” she said.

In the near future, Amanda is planning to increase the variety of her food containers as well as modifying the look and feel of them. Once she’s happy with her final product, she is planning to do some outreach to retailers, so that Smartfreeze will become more accessible to the wider public.

Looking for a fresh perspective on your business? Be the Business Mentoring matches leaders from small and medium-sized businesses with executives from some of the UK’s leading companies. Find a business mentor here.


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