Volunteer Business Support Scheme helps Hertfordshire-based marketing agency evolve and thrive

Co-founded by Oliver Smith, SWW Marketing is a Royston (North Hertfordshire) based construction marketing agency established in 2019. As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, his business faced a sudden and large reduction in demand for their services. Interested in exploring strategic approaches to help him not just manage this setback but also explore new opportunities and grow his consultancy business during these uncertain times, he applied to the Volunteer Business Support Scheme (VBSS) to get his business back on track.

Devised by Hertfordshire Growth Hub, in partnership with the University of Hertfordshire and Hertfordshire Local Enterprise Partnership, VBSS offers free and bespoke business mentoring from highly experienced mentors in managing or coaching at a strategic level to micro, small and medium sized businesses, as well as sole traders, in Hertfordshire.

Upon joining the scheme, Oliver was matched with volunteer mentor Paul Eysink. Over the last 19 years, Paul has successfully helped businesses across the financial services, mining, manufacturing and construction sectors with their strategy execution, business transformation, market expansion and operational improvements.

Right from the start, Oliver found Paul to be of great help. “Paul has been amazing! He’s shared valuable insights and has revolutionised our business. He is friendly, knowledgeable and passionate; I have enjoyed every session with him.”

Paul made key suggestions and expertly guided Oliver throughout their mentoring sessions, instilling confidence in his ability to grow his business. He helped Oliver review his business strategy, streamline his business functionality, refine his company’s USP by exploring potential new services, and rebrand his company’s image. “I found Paul’s approach to be very professional, engaging, and, more importantly, I felt that he brought lots of positivity to a particularly challenging situation.”

When I first met Oliver, his business was facing a market downturn due to a decline in client activity, and he felt unsupported in a time of sudden uncertainty. Through VBSS, we worked to identify how to build a value proposition among his existing customer portfolio with the aim of expanding it. To achieve this, we implemented a new, resilient business structure, developed a unique selling proposition and improved the overall professionalism of the business. Our one-to-one mentoring sessions have enabled Oliver’s business to strategically work in a clear direction where it can move on from the support it once received and continue to grow through this challenging period.

Paul Eysink

Volunteer Business Support Scheme Mentor

As a result of Paul’s ongoing support, Oliver’s business is now in a stronger position and has managed to secure work with new clients: “Paul came in during an incredibly tough and uncertain year, but he helped us manage this by breaking things down and keeping us focused on our strategic direction. Thanks to Paul, we have implemented processes and a structure that’s transformed the way we work, and we have introduced new and improved services that are USP-focused; he has assisted us to not only navigate this tough period but also grow through it. My company is now more resilient than ever before, thanks to the clarity and guidance from Paul. He and the scheme encouraged, supported and reassured us, and I will be forever grateful!”

Looking to the future, Oliver plans to continue to engage with the Hertfordshire Growth Hub and other business support services from the University of Hertfordshire including its Business Incubator programme, attending virtual business conferences and events and looking to onboard UH graduates as interns and apprentices.

Find out more

Visit Hertfordshire Growth Hub to find out more about our free and confidential 1-2-1 mentoring programme.

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