Every growing business benefits from ‘outside eyes’ says Caroline Palmer, partner in Wiltshire-based Raising the Baa – probably one of the most unusual team-building businesses in the world.
The company brings shepherding and business coaching skills together to offer experiential learning programmes which have attracted clients as diverse as IKEA, Sainsbury’s and Burnley Football Club.
But, like a lot of growing businesses, Caroline and her business partner Chris Farnsworth found it difficult to take the time to stand back and look at their enterprise objectively.
So they turned to Wiltshire Business Support Services, funded by Wiltshire Council and part of The Enterprise Network, a £5.2m initiative led by Wiltshire Council to support new and growing small businesses.
Their WBSS mentor is former HSBC commercial manager Debbie Neale who, when she was working with the bank, actually took part in one of Raising the Baa’s team building programmes, and experienced herding sheep with her colleagues first hand. Now she is part of the WBSS team offering support to new and growing small businesses.
“We had already met Debbie, so it was great to find out she was going to be our WBSS mentor,” said Caroline. “She has so much experience to offer as she has worked with hundreds of small businesses over the years – and her support was just what we needed.
“She made us focus on the parts of the business we tended to avoid – like many people, we tend to shy away from forecasting and spread sheets! But Debbie sets us deadlines which force us to do what we should be doing – and we now actually spend time thinking about the business itself and planning what we need to do next.”
In July, Raising the Baa took on its first apprentice. Giles Farnsworth, aged 19, provides valuable support in all areas of the business, especially at client events, filming and video-editing.
“Giles is keen to run his own business one day so seeing all the ups and downs of a growing enterprise is invaluable to him” said Chris Farnsworth. “He accompanies us to our meetings with our WBSS mentor when we discuss the major factors of business growth.”
Both Caroline and Chris are experienced coaches, with Chris boasting the all-important shepherding skills which are at the heart of the Raising the Baa business.
“Like so many who set up a business, we are not experts in every aspect – so it’s great to have the fantastic support we’ve had from WBSS and we’d thoroughly recommend it to other Wiltshire businesses,” added Chris. More info www.raisingthebaa.com
The free, independent and impartial business advice service from WBSS is part of The Enterprise Network, a £5.2m initiative led by Wiltshire Council with EU and Government funding to nurture new and growing micro businesses in Wiltshire and rural Swindon by supporting them right from the first ‘light bulb’ moment.