By entrepreneurs for entrepreneurs

Springboard Testimonials

The following testimonials have come from Connect Gazelles members who have taken part in a Springboard Mentoring session as part of their membership.

“Spending a couple of hours with John was both inspirational and hugely educational for me, discussing high level strategy, vision and the strong foundations needed to scale my business and plan for future growth. Go Outdoors is clearly a fantastic business with a very clear strategy. It confirmed to me that to run a successful business you need strong leadership guided by a clear vision which must be communicated from the top, which is what John has done so well over the years to drive Go Outdoors to be the best multiple retailer in the outdoor leisure market.”
- Tristan Cowell, IC Innovations - 4th March 2016

"David has not only provided us with the direction forward for our business, but has also facilitated a clear roadmap of how to get there. His skills and experience are perfectly suited to our business and we would not be contemplating the future with quite so much enthusiasm without him."
- Stuart Franklin, Proper Nutty - 22nd February 2016

“I had the pleasure of meeting Mike Bridge for a mentoring meeting for sales and marketing. I found Mikes approach friendly and engaging. He understood our requirements and was able to provide useful information to enable us to demonstrate our point of difference from our competitors in a clear, no nonsense way. Mike has provided us with useful help and guidance to develop our business.”
- Cheryl Sanderson, CTS Environmental Services Ltd - 15th December 2015

“I was very excited with the prospect of meeting Michael due to his vast experience within the baking industry. I choose to focus on sale at our meeting. Michael was able to explain to me a simple sales strategy that i could instantly relate too and implement. I found the spring board session to be of great value and would recommend it to other members.”
- Allison Whitmarsh, Proper Maid - 8th December 2015

“Following becoming a member of Connect Gazelles my mentor meeting with James Lambert was quickly arranged and also with my 1st choice of mentor. My first session was all that I hoped, I outlined my business and we freely chatted and I picked up some great advice immediately without needing to get into any depth. My 2nd session was quickly arranged and I am looking forward to it greatly and can’t wait to dig deeper into James knowledge as I outline my business in more depth.”
- Karl Mason, Masons Dry Gin - 24th November 2015

“It was an enjoyable meeting, and Jonathan was able to offer us some advice and banking contacts for Python Properties’ reorganisation and also some advice on the use of Rudby Hall for shoot parties, one of the Halls key aims.”
- Martin Johnson, Rudby Hall / Python Properties - 17th November 2015

“Neil is a great guy, and very easy to talk with. We discussed many aspects of his and our business, he gave me some good guidance on how to promote the company and which professional bodies to join to give us more visibility to potential customers. Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed the Springboard mentoring session, came away with some good ideas to work on, and appreciated the time Neil gave up to help us move forward.”
- Duncan Proctor, Specialised Laser Products - 6th November 2015

“Many thanks for your time today. Your constructive advice really hit home, was very timely, and we’ve got some clarity and immediate actions to plan and implement.”
- Mark Pullar, All My Systems - 2nd November 2015

“I’ve just returned to the office following our springboard session with Andrew Mason and it’s fair to say both Me and Peter can’t praise the session high enough. Andrew was brilliantly insightfully and incredibly inspiring. The value we’ve taken away from this one meeting alone far outweighs our membership fee to the Gazelles.”
- David Sayers, Raw Telecom - 21 October 2015

“Thank you for joining us at the Mansion last week. We found it extremely useful having an independent and external view of our business, and your insights on the way forward. The partners were impressed by how quickly you were able to get to the key issue in a way that has eluded us from within the organisation.”
- Nigel Bew, Enhance Primary Healthcare Ltd, 16 October 2015

“I had a fantastic 2 hour meeting with John, he gave me very clear, practical advice which will save me a lot of time and headaches moving forward. He is a genuinely nice, helpful fella, I am really grateful he gave me two hours of his time, he has also agreed to help me out in the future too.”
- John Hickling, Glass Onion Vintage Ltd, 10 October 2015

“As a startup business, the potential and opportunities for growth are huge and need to be carefully planned, so I was delighted when John took the time to spend over 3 hours speaking with me about my future direction. John has a wealth of experience, market knowledge, great contacts and a strong business acumen. He showed great enthusiasm and interest in what I was doing and this further strengthened my belief in the potential of SLPY. He is a real people person, was genuinely interested in myself and my business and I felt instantly at ease with him. I look forward to meeting up with John again as my business continues to grow and would highly recommend him as a mentor.”
- Martin Brailsford, SLPY Ltd - 8th October 2015

"The Springboard session allowed us access to an industry leader who gave myself and my fellow Director insight and advice about a new market sector we were interested in approaching. We came away from the session feeling inspired and with lots of ideas, which are on the agenda for our next business development meeting. We couldn't have got this persons time without being a member of Connect Gazelles."
- Julie Tumilty, Feature Media, 2 October 2015

“Neil was great – he gave me the benefit of his considerable experience, and really helped me think through the challenges that I am facing, and how I might look to solve those.”
- Andrew Seaton, Resolve IT Solutions Limited - 1st October 2015

“Just wanted to send a quick email to say thank you for organizing our Springboard with Simon Biltcliffe last Monday. Julie and I spent the week looking at the business and teams with different eyes. We're getting together to decide how to implement some of the ideas he gave us.”
- Stewart Randall, Folio Albums - 28 September 2015

“Thank you for your time and advice today. It is very much appreciated. I will take on board everything you mentioned. Sometimes the answers are so close that one does not see them and it takes someone else to point them out. I will carefully research the ideas and use a range of tools available to assist me along with plain good old fashioned hard work. And I will keep you informed of my progress.”
- Moira Gelman, Safety Now Training Ltd - 24 September 2015

“What an amazing meeting with Deirdre Bounds today!! Thank you so much for the opportunity and setting it up. She is a fantastic lady, inspiring, thought provoking and encouraging. We looked at some key aspects of my business which can be developed and her advice was invaluable. I feel privileged to have had this opportunity and very excited about what the future will bring. Thanks again”
- Lucinda White, Pure Awards Creative, 15 September 2015

“I just wanted to say thanks again for your time and interest in our business today. You have given me a lot of food for thought and I will certainly be acting on some of your suggestions. In particular a brand refresh, and finding budget for an internal sales person are now on my agenda for next week! An external assessment of your business from someone who actually understands something about your sector is really difficult to achieve as a sole owner-manager and therefore always valuable.”
- Graham Moore, Exen Legal Solutions, 11th September 2015

"Although Paul has no previous familiarity with the products we supply, the experience and objective insight he has provided, has really helped shape the direction of my thinking and given me a new focus"
- Andrew Cameron, Intelligent Facility Solutions Ltd, 2 September 2015

"Springboard with Simon.... Check with him that he's happy with this ... Collaboration, transparency and sharing your vision and values through technology.... Working EFFI - Emotionally, Intellectually, Financially Focussed - Management speak? No! True insights to making a good business great, direct from the Bilty bible. Great guy, great vibe, great team and great on our patch! Barnsley bred. Inspired to move from Great to EFFI 'ng Amazing"
- Lisa Pogson, Airmaster Air Conditioning Ltd, 27 August 2015

“My Springboard session went very well; I had a very interesting 2 hours with John McDonnell. No ‘Road to Damascus’ moment but it was good to hear John’s take on our business and I certainly picked up a few good ideas.”
- Malcolm Little, Advanced Dynamics Ltd, 20 August 2015

"Many thanks for coming over to see us today for the Springboard session. I think it's fair to say we had a wider ranging and interesting discussion! It was very valuable for me, and extremely enjoyable"
- Steve Sykes, Smart Arts (UK) Ltd, 19 August 2015

“I found my session with Michael Bridges very useful, and I now have lot's to contemplate.”
- Laurence Beardmore, York Coffee Emporium, 17 August 2015

“Some can talk the talk but cannot walk the walk. Michael & Neil Conlon from Conlon Construction certainly can though! It was very useful having EIP’s from both a family business and the same industry as MWA as it meant they could easily understand our business. The 2 and a half hours the directors spent with the Conlon Brothers was gold dust and we left the meeting with new ideas and a revitalised attitude. I can’t recommend Springboard Mentoring Sessions enough and would once again like to thank Michael & Neil Conlon in giving up their precious time for us.”
- Damian Walsh, Martin Walsh Architectural, 13th August 2015

“I was really grateful for the time, input and wisdom that Richard gave. I have lots to work on, and I have some real clarity about what needs to happen next, and how to begin to do it. I am really appreciative for Richards time, honesty and knowledge.”
- Andrew Seaton, Resolve IT Solutions , 5th August 2015

"I found Edward Naylor insightful and very helpful, particularly in regard to the prospective business we are talking to with a view to purchasing them. I’d happily recommend him to anyone else interested in obtaining an informed and objective opinion."
- Dominic Clark, MD of Dominion Print, 27th July 15

“Our Springboard session with Jonathan Sands was incredibly productive for both myself and my business development director. Jonathan has helped us prioritise our list of things we need to do to grow the business. Jonathan held very little back when sharing his experiences and we feel very privileged to have had this opportunity.”
- Guy Redwood, SimpleUsability, 20th July 2015

"I'm pretty focused on my business and where we are going - sitting down with my mentor and working through my plan was really helpful. Often, I don't give myself time to do exactly that and as a result, I made a major change with my plan next year that will show a large jump in profit. Very happy lady here."
- Chrissie Slater, Mooncas,13th July 15

“The Springboard session with Michael Bridge was very useful. It was good to meet with someone with such a breadth of experience and knowledge from which to draw. Mike was very incisive and honest about our business and our plans going forward. He gave me a great deal to think about but most of all I felt that our discussion helped to bring clarity and focus. What is more, Mike followed up with an email outlining our discussion and next steps.”
- Pat Mangion, AOK Design, 6th July 2015

"One of Simon Biltcliffe's comments during the Springboard was about whether we should “do up” the offices we are renting or look to buy… he quite rightly backed up my thoughts that doing up where we currently are wouldn’t be the best choice! All in all though, I wanted to feed back that the Springboard talk was great, I feel the points I noted are ones that I actioned and it backs up that I feel I am “coachable” “mentorable” and I will take things on board!"
- James Biggin, Steel City Marketing Limited, 25th June 2015

"It’s great to be able to tap into a wealth of experience though the Springboard mentoring offer. We think we are on the right track but it was really useful to be able to sanity check what we are doing with Neil Ewin. Neil spotted some gaps in our approach which we are now working on. It’s a great confidence builder!"
- Alan Easter, Arkom Limited, 15th June 2015

“The chance to spend the morning with Propaganda’s Chairman gave me an invaluable insight into creating a brand identity for WRS and an opportunity for me to get some honest feedback from an industry leader. Being a part of Connect Gazelles opened this door for me and it is fantastic to get the benefit of Julian Kynaston’s knowledge for the only reason of sharing that knowledge.”
- Tim Mason, WRS Solutions, 27th May 2015

"I felt as though the Springboard Mentoring session was very beneficial. Obtaining an ‘outsider's’ perspective on our business was very constructive. I believe that Rachel Hannan and I struck a decent accord and appeared to be on the same page and have a common end goal. Rachel’s background and involvement with other fledgling businesses made it much easier to translate and appreciate."
- Chris Bahra, Manse Corporate, 5th May 2015

"My mentoring session with Paul Rose was a fantastic opportunity for me to speak openly with an experienced entrepreneur whose feedback and opinions I trust and feel can guide my business forward. Paul has so much experience and knowledge that it was inspiring to hear everything he has achieved and certainly made me want to follow in his footsteps!"
- Michelle Edgar-Parsons, The Individual Agency, 17th March 2015

“I had a very useful and inspirational Springboard session with Martin Penny, a person I have wanted to meet for some time. Martin’s knowledge of the industry gave me reassurance that our brand strategy is on the right track and that our future business plans are based on sound principles. Because of our mutual interests and knowledge we were able to have a very open discussion around business and brand development in the UK hairdressing industry. It was brilliant to have someone with Martin’s background and experience to use a sounding board and I valued the time we spent together.”
- Carol Leo, Great Lengths Hair, 12th March 2015

“My springboard Mentoring session with Alan Halsall was a unique experience, one I would recommend all business leaders to take. Alan had an excellent grasp of our business having picked through the extensive information pack provided in advance and extracted the central issues for review. We discussed our strategy for step change business development, against which Alan was able to outline parallels and guidance underpinned by his extensive experience and successes in similar scenarios. In summary the session provided me with tremendously valued assurance in the strategy we are implementing and that we have our eye on the key issues to warrant success.”
- Robin Wright, Wyedean Weaving, 15th December 2014

“My Springboard Mentoring session with Richard Doyle was diverse and wide ranging and covered key areas of business strategy. Richard was direct and insightful and provided rigour and challenge to my assumptions and plans (however painful that was at times). I found it of huge value to speak in confidence with someone that has been there and done it. Speaking with such an entrepreneur is hugely beneficial when you are moving over another hurdle, but still need a hand perfecting your technique.”
- Pete Watson, Atlas Cloud, 11th December 2014

“I was extremely grateful for the time afforded to myself by Graham Honeyman for my Springboard Mentoring session. I found the meeting extremely interesting and informative with many key points being discussed. It was fascinating to hear all about Forgemasters, in addition there were some great pointers and words of wisdom that I will certainly take on board.”
- Steve Manley, Universal Office Products, 10th December 2014

“It was great to have Hugh Facey into our business for a few hours. Hugh was a good sounding board and it gave us the opportunity to discuss some of our latest innovations and products to affirm and share some of the issues businesses face around protecting IP and taking new innovation to the market. Hugh also provided us with some good advice and has potentially given us some ideas around improving manufacturing methods for one of our products. A great Springboard Mentoring session and a pleasure to discuss our business with a likeminded entrepreneur.”
- Curtis Paxman, Brewfitt Limited, 30th September 2014

“It was great to meet Alan Halsall for my Springboard Mentoring session. I was already a very capable business woman, making all the right decisions and everything he told me I should be doing, I already was. But it is good to get a pat on the back from someone who knows what they are talking about. We talked about business plans etc and had a really good session.”
- Catherine Lobley, Poco Nido, 26th September 2014

“The help and advice provided during my Springboard Mentoring session was really useful. For someone in my position, it is always invaluable to hear from business owners that created successful companies and have both experienced and navigated through many of the common challenges along the way.”
- Steven Hutton, School ICT Services, 15th September 2014

“My Springboard Mentoring session with Martin Penny put into perspective the future for SLB PR. By making me take a step back and sum up the business and services we offer in just a few words I was able to visualise exactly where I want the company to be and establish the steps to implement to make that possible. Martin helped identify our strengths and weaknesses and our USP – all of which we were aware but it makes a difference when someone who really has been there and got the t-shirt reinforces that what your are doing is going in the right direction. We have already secured larger offices and are reviewing how we operate and provide services. I can’t thank Connect Gazelles enough for this opportunity or Martin for steering me and the company in the right direction.”
- Sharon Brigden, SLB Public Relations Ltd, 15th September 2014

“Our Springboard Mentoring session with Peter Roberts was enormously helpful to gain the perspective of somebody so experienced. I think the greatest challenge we face is being able to make time to plan strategically while also being so busy with day to day productions. Peter’s idea of spending a day away from the business is a very good one that we will build into our schedules ASAP. From there I hope we will be able to plan to find the right sales person – and I think Peter was right about quality being key.”
- Richard Critchlow and Lucy Critchlow, Dependable Productions, 8th September 2014

“Kevin Hollinrake was fantastic. He listened to me and prompted for goals and then tailored ideas and suggestions around this. I cannot thank him enough for taking the time to visit us for our Springboard Mentoring session.”
- Amy Wray, Applegate Properties, 26th June 2014

“My Springboard Mentoring session with Connect Gazelles Entrepreneur in Residence Daniel Lee Bsc (Hons), MRPharmS, MBA went great! I thoroughly enjoyed it. Daniel gave me inspiration and a lot of food for thought.”
- Rana Harvey, The Monster Group UK, 24th June 2014

"I found my Springboard Mentoring session with Sean Riddell extremely useful and informative and it has really given me food for thought in terms of strategy, structure and lots of very practical suggestions. I really appreciate Sean taking the time to come out to see us and offer great advice and support."
- Miranda Stead, Mednet Consult, 6th June 2014

"My Springboard Mentoring session with Peter Roberts was really useful. I had a great couple of hours with Peter and even though we aren't in the same industry there were a lot of similarities. If you are running a successful business, having some time with any of the Connect Gazelles ‘Entrepreneurs in Residence’ is extremely valuable, as they have been there and done it and built successful businesses. Peter gave me some great advice on how best to approach the real estate business to expand our network and also put me in contact with his own property director – really useful."
- Achille Traore, Top Screen Media, 25th April 2014

“Adrian Holmes was a great mentor for us as Directors of our business. Working with him for a couple of hours was revealing and insightful. Through his questions he demonstrated that he really knew our business and the sector in which we operate. In the time we spent together he never once told us what we should be doing, instead he asked the right questions that got us to come to the right conclusions ourselves. As a result of this we are now on the journey with some fundamental changes in our business that will give us consistency in our sales performance and a strong platform on which to build our business. In our business we know that it takes a very special kind of coach who can get you to see the answers for yourself and Adrian is one of those special people. Thank you Connect Gazelles for facilitating this experience for us.”
- Juliette Dennett and Mark Fitzmaurice, Dale Carnegie Training, 3rd April 2014

“We recently had a Connect Gazelles Springboard Mentoring session with Paul Rose. Paul had clearly done some research before the meeting and instantly highlighted the areas that we could focus on to grow our printing business. He also had relevant experience and examples from his own company that we are now working hard to replicate in our company. Thank you Connect Gazelles for this truly unique opportunity which is worth the membership fee many times over.”
- Dan Dean, B&B Press Ltd, 25th March 2014

“Thank you to the Connect Gazelles for recommending a Springboard Mentoring session with Entrepreneur in Residence, Richard Doyle. It sparked some interesting and positive change at BirchenallHowden and we’re looking forward to the direction we are heading.”
-Neill Birchenall, BirchenallHowden, 3rd March 2014

"The Connect Gazelles Springboard Mentoring sessions are a great way to give you another perspective on how you work. I've already actioned one of the two main points covered in my mentoring session and I aim to do the other in the next few days."
- Steve Sykes, Smart Arts UK Ltd, 20th August 2013

"Mark Woodward of Earthmill allowed us to talk about the challenges facing our business in a helpful way asking extremely pertinent questions along the way. He gave us useful guidance in a number areas of strategy, management and leadership, as well as a number of vital insights into what it takes to make a business both successful and a great place to work. We have been delighted to have been given this opportunity."
- Chris Sharp, Sharp Consultancy, 26th September 2013

"My Connect Gazelles Springboard Mentoring session with Neil Ewin and Terry Donovan was inspirational. Not only was their feedback extremely useful, but their comments also helped me crystalise some of my own thoughts. It was a pleasure to meet both Neil and Terry, two of Yorkshire’s leading entrepreneurs. I am extremely grateful they took time out of their busy schedules to spend some of their valuable time with me."
- Alf Lombardi, Shrewdd Marketing, 18th September 2013

"My Springboard Mentoring session with Judith Donovan provided me with lots of food for thought. The session challenged my thinking but I'm already putting plans together for 2014 to include some of the changes I can make."
- Jackie Cook, CQ Marketing Services, 2nd September 2013

"I can’t stress enough how helpful I found my Springboard Mentoring session with Kevin Hollinrake. Kevin proved to be an inspirational character and I’m sure all that meet him will come away feeling positive. Not only was Kevin generous with his time and the information that he gave me, he also did a little research in advance of our meeting. He genuinely has a passion for our industry that is infectious. The outcome of our meeting is that I feel re-energised and truly focused and ready to take the business onto the next level and for that I’m extremely grateful to Kevin."
- Teresa Galley, Galley Properties, 8th August 2013

"My Springboard Mentoring session with Dean Hoyle was fantastic. He's given me some great ideas and I'm certain it will make a positive difference to our business. Thanks very much to the Connect Gazelles."
- Neil Barker, Barkers Furniture, 3rd July 2013

"The Connect Gazelles Springboard Mentoring session was a really, really special meeting for me and for Lightbulb. The advice and insight will prove invaluable to our growth moving forward. To know that we are actually doing some things right is also a blessing! We're now fired up entirely and raring to go!"
- David Henzell, Lightbulb Brand Design Agency, 21st November 2012

"It was a rare privilege to have two such successful entrepreneurs as Jonathan Turner and Mark Woodward concentrate on my business for the best part of three hours as they did at the Connect Gazelles Springboard Mentoring session that I took part in. In some instances they confirmed our approach and in others they came up with new thoughts. In either case their suggestions and comments were invaluable - you couldn't buy this sort of advice at any price. I recommend all members of the Connect Gazelles to take advantage of this opportunity."
- Simon Stokes, Assured Fire & Security, 19th November 2012

"We were very grateful to the Entrepreneurs in Residence for taking time out of their schedules to visit us and discuss Zen Audio and the future growth potential. We appreciated all of the input, in depth knowledge and questions that immediately have had an impact on our thought process to the direction of the company. We received input and insight to what we had not thought about and this has now given us back the focus we need to drive the business forward."
- Matt Lawless and Stephen Helm, Zen Audio Limited, 9th November 2012

"The Springboard Mentoring session with both a Connect Gazelles Entrepreneur in Residence and Partner was amazing. Both parties had their own very knowledgeable handle on the business from a strategic focus and a pragmatic approach to the financial implications. They brought two very fresh pairs of eyes on what we needed to concentrate on to move things forward. They had a ‘To Do’ list ready and waiting, questions were relevant and moved the discussion forward. I really felt like they were interested in what I had to say and they gave me a very real Action Plan to move forward. I feel much more confident to move forward with planning the future!"
- Lisa Pogson, Airmaster Limited, 7th November 2012

"It was stimulating and enormously valuable to be able to discuss our business with Sean and Graham; they have been there and dealt with many of our big issues so their thoughts on the best way forward were great. Many thanks to them and to the Connect Gazelles who organised it all."
- Christian Martin, Medisoft, 23rd February 2012