In order to help small business owners in Britain prepare for a brighter future, after the pandemic, Lloyds Bank and The Sun offered the opportunity to win online mentoring sessions with two of the country’s brightest entrepreneurs.
The winners went on to meet Stephen Bartlett, founder of Social Chain and BBC’s youngest Dragon ever, and Dominic Cools-Lartigue, founder of Street Feast.
In sessions, Stephen and Dominic shared the lessons they learned during the lockdown with ten winners of the 2021 Lloyds Bank Small Business.
To get their places, business owners revealed their pandemic challenges in their competition entries and explained how they responded to them.
The win in itself was a much-needed pat on the back for the trainees.
“Given the amount of work the team has done over the past 18 months, we have been delighted to be recognized by Lloyds Bank as Young Business of 2021,” says Paul Griffiths, Director of Aspire Sports, which makes physical activity fun for kids.
The sessions were, by all accounts, lively and candid – leaving trainees armed with confidence and ideas to innovate and grow. Here, our 10 winners shared how Stephen and Dominic inspired them.
Session with Stephen Bartlett
Sarah York, Stylebook (an online guide for hair industry professionals)
“It was amazing – Stephen was so straightforward. I wanted to know about the investment, but he first told me I needed a CTO because I’m good at hairdressing but not tech.”
I asked him if he would invest in my business and he said, “Yes, 100 percent if the chief technology officer, through technical data, proves that the concept works.” So I do what Stephen advised and come back in December to show him the results.”
Nikki Hoyland, Holler (creators of custom software for business)
“So it’s refreshing to hear content that isn’t the same advice we’ve all heard before. It was an amazing session that felt so casual and real. One thing he took with me, which is easy to forget, is that success doesn’t happen and shouldn’t happen overnight.” We’re in this long game.”
Yana Lapetskaya, Yay! Starter Marketing (a digital marketing agency in South West London)
“It was the most helpful advice we got from Stephen about the importance of community building and media publishing. This is something we’ve already been thinking about but it was great to get Stephen’s check – now we’re clear on what we need to do. Look at this space!”
Wendy Harris, WAG Associates (Telemarketing Training Provider)
Stephen agreeing to be a guest on my one-year anniversary podcast in November was the culmination of a great session. I also asked him about building additional services to encourage clients and he advised me to continue doing what I had already started – writing a book and a podcast.
His other advice was to build a community. I’ve been focusing on LinkedIn but I need to get smarter with others.”
Shereen Morrison, Visions TV Online (a digital platform to support and develop the UK gospel music industry)
“This was definitely an award worth winning. Unexpectedly, Stephen suggested our work should become more action-focused. With events set back during the lockdown, we were skeptical.
However, we are experienced with live and virtual events, so we will be giving our singers and rappers a regular platform to reach a wider audience. Thanks, Stephen, for your invaluable guidance.”
Session with Dominic Cools-Lartigue
Paul Griffiths, Aspire Sports (provider of training and sports resources for children and youth)
“The mentoring session with Dom was very insightful and filled with pearls of wisdom. I wrote in my notebook and actually implemented some ideas that will help us achieve our three-year plan.”
Rebecca Puttock, Wanderlux (Ultra-Luxury Travel & Concierge Services)
“Managing a business can be a challenge, especially servicing travel in the event of a global pandemic. Dom offered some open and honest thoughts about the challenges he faces and his motivation to keep going – these have brought me back to persevere, build and continue to believe in Wanderlux.”
Sam Peter, Children Inspired by Yoga
“Your choice of session worked wonders for our belief in ourselves and it was good to hear other business interns experience in the event of a pandemic. But the best part was meeting Gareth Oakley, President of Lloyds Bank Business Banking!
His tip for getting additional guidance through Be the Business [an organisation set up to help small enterprise] It was awesome. The follow-up message he sent me also had more detailed information.”
Sophie Douglas, Candy Works (online sweet shop that doesn’t choose delivery)
“We were so shocked with Covid that we were unable to attend the session. However, Dominic very kindly answered all the questions we emailed to him afterwards.
I was worried we weren’t planning enough in advance but he reassured us we were headed in the right direction. Set long-term goals, he said, but also ride the wave and go with it.”
Dawn Richards, Soon Come Deliveries (Jamaica takeaway box delivery service in Kent)
“Hearing how Dominic has faced and overcome huge challenges in the recent past has been encouraging, and I appreciate all the great advice. Gareth Oakley of Lloyds Bank Business Banking handled the session perfectly, making me feel so welcome and at ease. So much to consider, going forward. It was It’s an honor to be a part of the session.”
For more great trading tips from Steven and Dominic, take a look at highlights from recent live events here