NEO Environmental is a multidisciplinary consultancy that provides technical solutions and specialist integrated services for the successful consent of renewable energy and infrastructural projects across the UK and Ireland.
The business was set up in Glasgow in 2012 and works with a growing list of client projects covering the commercial energy, property and infrastructure sectors.
Michael McGee and his business partner Paul Neary were new to the responsibilities of running a business and aware of the many potential challenges. They sought a form of assistance that would provide reassurance and a way to develop their confidence and ability to meet the challenges ahead. Some specific challenges had been identified and others were suspected as having the potential to emerge suddenly and present risks that could threaten the business if not handled appropriately. Finding a mentor with experience and foresight in business was seen as an ideal way of gaining confidence and access to practical knowledge about developing a growing business.
The mentoring relationship between Michael and Henry Perfect began in the summer of 2012 and concluded formally at the end of 2013. Henry has volunteered his services through Business Mentoring Scotland for over 10 years now, with numerous businesses in that time having taken advantage of the expertise, knowledge and skills he has developed in a 37 year career in professional services progressing from project manager through to director then company chairman. The meetings between Michael and Henry were held bi-monthly where a range of topics were covered. Some topics were part of a structured agenda and others emerged and were discussed as the conversation developed, combining a series of diary appointments and relaxed discussion that became more focused as both parties developed a comfortable and productive relationship.
The mentoring relationship has generated immediate and longer term impacts on Neo Environmental. In the short term, the reassurance bolstered confidence and belief as well as acting as a sounding board for ideas in a secure and trusted setting. Honest feedback led to some real time rethinking in key areas such as the charging and pricing policy and the administration approach and systems. These changes increased efficiency internally to reduce costs, improve productivity and increased effectiveness generating increased turnover and profitability. Over the next year turnover is set to increase over threefold, with near similar
increases in employment. Scottish Chambers of Commerce spoke with Michael in detail as he revealed his experience of mentoring:
Why did you join Business Mentoring Scotland?
“As a relatively new business, we knew there would be challenges ahead and that would cause sleepless nights to divert our energy away from applying our skillsets and developing the core business. We wanted to find a way of addressing these and benefiting from the lessons learned by others.”
How did the mentoring relationship work?
“The meetings with Henry were excellent for developing scenarios around the business, addressing the potential uncertainties around our business and the growth pathway. The relationship between us worked well, with Henry providing honest feedback and insight.”
What impact has mentoring had?
“Henry’s mentoring has made a positive impact, especially on our outlook and on the shape of our business growth”.
How did mentoring differ from other forms of assistance?
“We were successful in accessing various forms of assistance from Business Gateway and others for funding grants for training, SEO optimisation and financial support for jobs. This was good for our development, however business mentoring made the most difference to our business and growth.”
Would you recommend Business Mentoring Scotland to other businesses?
“Yes, the relationship between myself and Henry worked well and we are looking to extend our involvement through another mentor.”
(Neo Environmental are currently being mentored again through Business Mentoring Scotland)