How the Scottish Chambers of Commerce helps businesses to grow through Mentoring

Business Mentoring Scotland is a service matching senior managers from growing businesses with experienced mentors. These mentors are professional business leaders in their own right who volunteer their time and are committed to sharing their skills, knowledge and experiences. Business Mentoring Scotland is available to leaders within businesses which have been trading for over a year, have over £100,000 turnover and which have a strategy to grow further over the coming 3 years.

Interview with Duncan Alexander, a client of Business Mentoring Scotland

EMM Corp is part of Usha Martin Group, and is an Aberdeen based rigging and lifting management services business that manufacture and supply wire rope primarily to the marine industry. EMM Corp have the largest stock holding of wire ropes of any business in the UK and offer rigging and lifting related services including testing, rigging pool management, project management and logistics.


Duncan Alexander was Business Development Manager at EMM Corp when he began being mentored by John Price in September 2012 and having only been with the business a short time before joining Business Mentoring Scotland, saw mentoring as an ideal way in which to galvanise his plans to make radical changes to the organisation – aiming to increase EMM Corp’s presence in North East Scotland and at the same time aid his own personal development.


Duncan’s mentor, John Price, provides personal development and mentoring services and has worked with a diverse range of industries during his 37 year long career in business. John is now working within the food industry in Ireland but has in the past worked within the automobile industry and with different charities.


Scottish Chambers of Commerce spoke with Duncan and he described how mentoring impacted upon EMM Corp by positively influencing the business’ international strategy and turnover:


How did the mentoring relationship work?

“It was good to sit and discuss issues with a knowledgeable guy with experience.”


What were the specific business issues you wanted to address through mentoring?

“I heard about Business Mentoring through the local Chamber of Commerce and thought it could be useful. I had an issue in accessing the right people to make sales and develop the business.”


What impact did mentoring have on your turnover?

“Turnover increased from £22.3m to £25m and is now up to £28.7m. The doors that were previously closed are now open and we have won significant new business. John’s mentoring definitely helped to create the spike in our business performance.”


Did mentoring influence your international aspirations?

“There was a focus was on how to open doors; how to make contacts that could develop the business and we did that successfully.”


“The information on marketing to networks/contacts and how to overcome barriers was important. We were able to reach the right people with key information which is an approach that works well, especially in many overseas markets.”


How else did mentoring affect your business?

“I was never short on confidence but John’s mentoring helped me to think more slowly and consider things more deeply before rushing in. This has enabled me to consider things in a less gung-ho manner and make decisions differently i.e. the first idea on how to do something is not always the best.”


“It definitely had an effect on our business. It was a bit like getting an adrenalin shot.”


Would you pursue mentoring again?

“It was a good experience and I would consider it again in my next role. You get out as much out as you put into it, like any relationship.”


“It definitely had an effect on our business. It was a bit like getting an adrenalin shot.”

- Duncan Alexander

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