A commercial and domestic laundry is building a bright future with the help of a business mentor.
Iron Maidens was founded by Sharon Bridgett in her home garage 15 years ago after she was made redundant by a local council.
The business expanded into a shop at Oakhill, Stoke-on-Trent, and forged a successful reputation as a domestic laundry before Sharon decided to diversify into commercial services two years ago.
With the help of Let’s Do Mentoring’s Don Butterworth, the business has thrived and now has seven employees working across two sites, the Oakhill shop and a commercial laundry in Longton.
“I decided to get a mentor as a result of talking to Adele Cope at.the Chamber of Commerce,” said Sharon. “At the time, I was just moving from only having the Oakhill shop for domestic laundry to setting up a commercial laundry and this meant coming to terms with a completely different environment.
“I was matched up with Don and it has been a huge success. Don is a great sounding board for my ideas, I believe that sometimes you are so close to your own business that you cannot see what needs to be done and Don gives me that view from outside looking in.
“Having a mentor has given me the confidence to go out to other businesses and say ‘yes, I am a businesswoman.’ Now that I have had this experience, I would like to think that I could mentor someone in the future.”
With a background in business development and marketing, Don has been able to help Sharon to identify and sell in to new markets.
“When I first looked at Iron Maidens I saw the potential for the business to grow,” said Don. “It was all about finding the market for Iron Maidens.
Running a small business can be a lonely place, you are often responsible for the finances, sales and marketing and general day to day operations – things which are treated as specialist disciplines in big business.
“As mentors we bring management experience and will offer confidential advice to a business.
“A particular task at Iron Maidens was to help Sharon to segment the market so that she had a clear idea of who to offer her commercial laundry services to.
“This has helped give Sharon the confidence to go out and sell her business – an area in which she shines.”
Sales and marketing strategy revamped. Assistance in growing the business..
Workforce increased from two to seven
Growth due to the identification of new sales prospects and markets.