From left: Fiona Molloy, Ian McFarlane-Toms, and Mark Wisniewski. Fiona and Mark have joined Business Ready as new advisers.
From left: Fiona Molloy, Ian McFarlane-Toms, and Mark Wisniewski

Member Article

Warwickshire SMEs boosted as two new experts join leading business support programme

A successful business support programme for Warwickshire SMEs has been bolstered by the addition of two new experts who will help participants take their businesses to the next level.

Business Ready, which has helped small businesses raise more than £19 million in investment and finance, and to create 175 extra jobs through targeted mentoring and support, has hired Fiona Molloy and Mark Wisniewski as new advisers.

Fiona and Mark, who have extensive backgrounds in marketing and tech respectively, join Business Ready as part-time employees, having previously worked alongside its internal team as externally-retained Growth Specialists.

Fiona has worked in marketing for her whole career, and has provided freelance advice to clients for the last seven years through her business FiMarketing.

She said: “Many businesses, especially newer, smaller companies, either don’t have the time or the knowledge to dedicate themselves to developing a comprehensive marketing strategy.

“Through FiMarketing, and later through being retained by Business Ready as a Growth Specialist, I’ve been able to support businesses across a range of sectors increase their visibility, sales and brand awareness through helping them create a dedicated marketing plan.

“It’s fantastic to be joining Business Ready so I can impart this advice to businesses using the programme to improve their marketing.

“Having been involved as an external consultant with Business Ready for more than a year, I know how useful it is to the businesses that use it, so I’m really pleased to be part of the team and cannot wait to get started.”

Mark joins Business Ready after a wide background in supporting businesses to adopt digital services and products, and has personal experience of starting a new business without the fundamental knowhow needed to make it a success.

He came through the Business Ready programme himself after creating his own social meet-up app in 2015.

Mark said: “I tried to develop an app without doing proper market research. While I thought the app was a good idea, I hadn’t properly assessed whether it was something people actually wanted to use, so it ultimately failed.”

“That failure made me understand that there is so much more to business than simply having a good idea.

“Since that time, I’ve helped businesses properly test their ideas before committing to significant investment. Ultimately, it's about creating products or services which customers really value and, more importantly, are prepared to pay for. 

“When the opportunity came to work with Business Ready team, I jumped at the chance. Having been through the programme myself, I know it is very practical and tailored to individual businesses.  The fact that it’s free means that it is accessible to many more businesses who need help!”

Ian McFarlane-Toms, Business Ready Programme Manager, welcomed Fiona and Mark to the team.

“The recruitment of Fiona and Mark is demand driven, and they will add to the superb level of expertise within Business Ready,” he said.

“When businesses are referred to us, we try to pair them with the most suitable business adviser to help them achieve their goals.  

“Having Fiona and Mark in the team will enable us to support even more SMEs in Warwickshire access the advice they need to succeed, and we’re looking forward to seeing the businesses they work with blossom.”

Business Ready forms part of the Business Growth Warwickshire programme. It is delivered by University of Warwick Science Park on behalf of Warwickshire County Council and Warwickshire’s five District and Borough Councils.

This was posted in Bdaily's Members' News section by Matt Joyce .

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