“Being mentored has enabled my business to grow, my staff to develop, along with my level of self-awareness and strategic focus to improve significantly.”

When Scott McCrae (SME Business Owner) first met with Evelyn Toma (Business Mentor), McCrae Training was in a period of growth, however the growth was restricted.

There was limited capability for increasing the number of staff McCrae Training required and Scott was aware that his commitment to the growth of the SME Business had resulted in him micro-managing the business during the period of growth.

Scott, who has run McCrae Training for eight years from start-up in December 2011, recognised that operating the business from 2011, to having a team of 16 people in 2018, was a great achievement however being a perfectionist, he was falling into the trap of doing too much by himself and found himself requiring support in the next steps towards growing his business – asking questions like how do we take the business where we want go, what should we do next and when and in what markets?

As a result of this, Scott joined the Scottish Business Mentoring Program run by Scottish Chambers of Commerce. The programme manages Scotland’s largest peer-to-peer business mentoring support network, matching growing businesses with an experienced business mentor from SCC’s National Mentor Pool of over 1,000 knowledgeable business individuals.

Through the programme, Scott was matched with Evelyn Toma, Business Development Director of Strategic Projects at the University of Glasgow, who advised Scott on the importance of being strategically focused, having a strong level of self-awareness and continual development.

Looking back on the process, Scott credits Evelyn with transforming his mindset and approach to running the business.

“Evelyn was fantastic at getting me to step back, reflect and act more as the conductor of an orchestra to ensure I delegated tasks, clearly communicated and allowed my team the scope to perform in the roles I employed them to complete which has in turn allowed my business and most importantly my team to grow.

“My style of leadership has been adjusted to accommodate staff at all levels in my business and we now have regular meetings where we each share information on how the business is performing, keys areas of focus and the contribution of all staff members to the success of the business.”

Though Evelyn operates in a different sector to Scott, it is the approach to business which Evelyn has that’s impacted McCrae Training so positively. Over the 12 months in which Evelyn mentored Scott, they met face-to-face four times, each meeting lasting 90 minutes. In advance of their meetings, Scott sent Evelyn a progress update and agenda for what he wanted to discuss during their next meeting.

“With the strategic direction and support of Evelyn, my team and I have implemented new processes, procedures and controls over a 12-month period and our client base has increased by over 40%.

In turn as the business has become more profitable, we have invested in our people, plant, equipment, premises and above all increased our staff numbers.

Without the mentoring programme, I would still have grown my business, but to a lesser degree and the growth in turnover, profit and staff development would not have been as positive.

Evelyn made me reflect and re-evaluate the company’s previous performance and helped me to focus on the areas that I needed to improve on to enable scalable and manageable business growth.”

Scott praised the programme, the process of selecting a mentor and his end-result, recommending the programme to business owners who require the support to take their business to the next level of growth and development.

“Joining the Business Mentoring Programme has been a fantastic experience which has enabled my business to grow, my staff to develop and my level of self-awareness and strategic focus to take my business from strength to strength. I cannot thank Scottish Chambers enough for providing my business with the opportunity to receive such an invaluable service.”

Evelyn said: “I am delighted that my support made such a difference to Scott and his business.  I received world class leadership training during my career at Motorola and was able to put that into practice on a much smaller scale at the SMEs that I have run.  It is a pleasure to be able to share this approach and experience with other business leaders.”

To find out more about mentoring, visit scottishbusinessmentoring.co.uk