London-based coach takes small businesses to the next level

A London-based coach is one of more than 5,000 mentors that are taking small businesses to the next level. Nikki McReynolds has signed up to become part of a national network of voluntary business mentors to help SMEs realise opportunities to grow as part of the Help to Grow: Management Course.

After opening a children’s nursery called Nikki’s Nursery from scratch in 2014 and building it up to a business that generates £1.2m, Nikki sold it in 2019 with the aim of retiring. By her own admission, Nikki is not the retiring type yet. So, for the last two years, she has been supporting clients in establishing businesses in the hospitality, education, haircare and fashion retail sectors.

Now, Nikki is a regional ambassador for the Association of Business Mentors, mentoring others so they can avoid the mistakes she made as a founder. She also operates her own consultancy calledNMR Associates Ltd.

She said: “My mission is to be the ‘buddy’ to other business owners that I didn’t have. We all have to walk our own road, but we don’t have to do it alone. In my business, I’m either a consultant, a coach or a mentor, depending on my client’s goals. To be a mentor, you must be someone who has significant experience either through trauma or over time.

“So, the mentor must have a greater level of experience and knowledge than the mentee and, therefore, an ability to pass that on. You can’t teach well if you aren’t experienced. Through the Help to Grow: Management Course, I’m keen to support others and guide them towards positive outcomes in the best possible way.

“I want participants to feel not only challenged but to grow through the programme. I do love volunteering, and I hope I can continue to support for a significant period of time.” Nikki picked out her favourite and most challenging things about being a mentor. “I feel mentoring is on the rise and is highly recognised by leading companies as a go-to strategy towards retaining and engaging employees,” added Nikki.

“The best thing for me personally is that I get to help others. I add value to people’s lives both personally and professionally and I drive a purpose that’s a force for good. The biggest challenge I’ve faced so far is when the mentee doesn’t take advice on board and continues to make the same mistakes. I don’t know all the answers, but it’s hard to watch a situation play out negatively when it could have been avoided.”

Nikki is also helping to organise National Mentoring Day, which takes place on October 27 and highlights the important role the mentoring community plays in UK economic growth.

The Help to Grow: Management Course offers senior business leaders one-to-one support from an experienced and fully rated business mentor included in 50 hours of leadership and management training across 12 weeks, with the government covering 90% of the costs involved. Training is delivered via a national network of over 50 business schools.   

Emma Jones, founder of small business support platform Enterprise Nation, part of the consortium of businesses contracted to recruit volunteer mentors for the course, said: “It’s so important right now for businesses to be able to access high quality support like this.  The Help to Grow: Management Course online platform allows businesses to find the perfect mentor so they can start to put what they have learned into practice.”    

In exchange for offering their time and experience, voluntary Help to Grow: Management Course mentors receive significant value in the form of industry recognised mentor training, access to qualified content, networking opportunities with other mentors, and the possibility to join a national effort aimed at supporting the growth of the UK economy by increasing small businesses’ productivity.    

By Mark Adair – Correspondent, Bdaily

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