Mentoring – a case study

Posted on June 9, 2009
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Kids Should Be Kids (www.kidsshouldbekids.co.uk) is a web site set up in 2007 by Danish-born mother of two, Malene Hansen, to supply stylish Scandinavian designed Children’s Clothes. KSBK’s children’s clothes are fresh, practical and funky in bright, clean and vibrant colour combinations.

The company is based on the fundamental view that kids should be dressed as kids and not as mini adults!

Like all startups, KSB has some key issues such cash flow, marketing and generating visits from potential customers to the web site.

Nick Booker has acted as a mentor to Malene since November 2008 and generally has a meeting every six to eight weeks lasting between one and two hours.

Malene has developed the web site from scratch over the last 18 to 24 months, working on her own most of the time. Nick therefore sees that one of his most important roles has been to provide “a listening ear” providing objective comment and insight on a variety of aspects of the business. In addition Nick has been able to introduce Malene to organisations like Warwick University B2B Centre and their excellent free seminars and networking events as well as signposting her to other sources of advice and help and making suggestions on business and marketing planning for the future. Nick has made extensive use of his own business experience and networks, one example being the use of LinkedIn the business professionals networking site.

Malene had been using Google Adwords but to no great effect, so Nick ran a question on LinkedIn on the problem and received over 40 replies from business professionals from around the world. These answers enabled Malene  to understand the problem better and arrive at a solution for optimising the KSBK web site both for generating better organic growth and for the Goggle Adwords programme. 

Nick says “It’s very satisfying being able to make use of my long experience in business and help out someone who is starting out. I’m not web site design specialist, however I know what works and does not in many cases. But that is not the issue. It’s about being able to provide objective strategic comments and asking the questions so that Malene can find the solutions herself. What I bring to the party is the ability to signpost and suggest where advice might be sought as well as providing the constructive criticism and helping to set milestones and targets. However, I sometimes have to resist the temptation to dive in and do things myself! But that is not what mentoring is about. I liken it to be being KSBK’s board of directors and chairman all rolled into one.

 And finally, it’s not a one way street as along the way I have learnt a few things myself. So for me being a mentor is a win win game and it’s fun”

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