In business, confidence is everything, and more so for a business development manager.
Setting up a business as a new parent and then finding yourself in a global pandemic is enough to test any person’s confidence – but Martine Moore’s fledgling business outsourcing company, 6tine, is flying.
Martine, from Leigh, attributes her remarkable progress to a cutting-edge mentoring package, Excelerate Labs, provided by local business support experts The Women’s Organisation.
Martine stepped up from an in-house BDM role to strike out on her own in 2017, just 3 months after giving birth to her daughter she commenced trading from home in her spare bedroom in Wigan, and despite making such a bold move admitted: “I was the least confident person you’ve ever met and I would doubt myself all the time.”
“I was really anxious and although I could strategise and advise my clients on a daily basis with my eyes closed, for some reason I found it difficult to do it for my own business.”
But once she was introduced to The Women’s Organisation and her mentor, Mike, things swiftly changed.
“I had so many ideas, but Mike helped me focus on what to park, what to look at in the short and medium term.
“He is such a good listener and helped me to analyse my thoughts and to uncover what I really wanted and gave me specific advice and direction.
“He’s given me advice on social media, PR, strategy, everything. I don’t think I’d be where I am today without Mike’s support.
“He’s just been a really good sounding board. He’d either advise me, ‘park that for now’ or ‘yes, just go for it’ and provide more pointers and ideas on how to implement and move forward with my ideas.
“My inner confidence is first and foremost the biggest improvement I have made since the inception of 6tine, which is hugely down to Mike. He helped me to reflect on what amazing things I had achieved for my client’s companies and how I could do the same for 6itne. My self-confidence journey has been the key turning point, I was limiting myself with my own thoughts creating imaginary barriers. I started allowing myself to realise and believe my capabilities and focused on growing my business.”
Martine has worked in business development since leaving school. She set up her own business realising that everything she was doing she could translate into success for herself
6tine’s first client was her former employer for whom she continues to enjoy a great working relationship today. 6tine has worked with companies across a wide range of sectors including finance, insurance, construction, facilities management, housebuilding, project management, customer care, interior design, fashion, fitness and lifestyle.
6tine offers a range of outsourced businesses services specialising in identifying opportunities, arranging introductory meetings, websites and branding, sales training, CRM, creating template documents, systemising and strategising to make their clients life easier and their businesses more profitable: “Once you have your step by step processes written down on paper, you can literally multiply your operations overnight.’
She added: “My biggest USP is turning no’s into yeses and opening doors that other people can’t.”
She remembers a key piece of advice from her mentor which was to take on staff: “Initially I thought that if I employ someone else then that would mean less profit, more money going out, but it’s actually the opposite. There is only so much you can do yourself, and the more people you have, the more businesses you can do business with.”
She said: “I’ll admit it, I was really small minded and used to think no-one could do this as good as I can, but then thought well, how am I meant to grow?”
“I had just let go of being a perfectionist as it was stopping me from growing. It was paramount that I needed to maintain my reputation of high levels of service and performance however I had to realise you’ve got to let those worries go. It is possible and I’ve proved that if I manage and train my staff and share my best practises and experiences they will perform and maintain if not improve 6tine’s reputation. Like I say to my clients, if you’ve got your processes and strategy in place then letting go and allowing other people be a part of the business makes sense.”
Martine has just employed her second member of staff and opened offices in the centre of Manchester, where she wants to create the perfect workplace for her own workforce, and fellow new start-ups.
“I’m very excited about growing the team. I’m really committed to giving back to the community and supporting young people. My goal is to create opportunities by offering degree apprenticeships to every new member of staff. We have recently applied for the amazing new Government Kickstart scheme which creates job placements for 16-24 year olds and we have also encouraged our clients to look into this to support them through what’s been a difficult time for everyone.”
Martine said: “I want my employees to look forward to coming to work and genuinely enjoy their time here. We are really focused around female empowerment and promoting positive mental and physical health so we are incorporating fun things into the fit-out such as desks in ball pits, neon inspirational wall messages, football table with red-bottom heeled barbie dolls and a protein shake shack with a dumbbell breakout station. I’m looking to make it completely Instagrammable!
“I’m also looking to offer sub-let short-term / flexi desks to external businesses at an extremely reduced cost for people who may not be able to afford the expense of having their own office space but may require the facilities on an ad-hoc basis.”
“It’s really important to the team and I that we show gratitude and thanks for everything we have. We choose to do this through our ‘Helping Hand Days’ This is where every month we contribute a full day out of the office as a team to support the local community and charities to give something back.
“One charity we already work closely with is, Embassy Bus. They’re an amazing team who provide shelter and support for people who are homeless in Manchester.”
Another 6tine USP is their costing model, they offer clients a performance-related fee structure: “We have a unique fee structure which is payment upon performance. For example, if a business wants a meeting with 10 different specific people, they don’t pay me until they are sat in front of them. I put my money where my mouth is so to speak, I don’t believe in lengthy tying contracts and time-based fees.”
The Excelerate Labs business growth programme is part funded by European Region Development Fund and available free to existing women-led businesses based in Greater Manchester.
It supports entrepreneurs and management teams to consistently drive significant business growth and employment gains.
Specific support programmes include developing and promoting an ambitious business growth culture, generating more revenue and profit through access to new markets while attracting and retaining more customers, and gaining access to, and benefiting from targeted business networking which drives sales, improves supply chains and develops businesses’ social capital.
And, of course, the scheme focuses on helping entrepreneurs become more effective business leaders.
Martine said this was one of the key lessons she took from her mentorship.
“Mike gave me the confidence and direction to grow the business organically. Having that support meant all the weight wasn’t on my shoulders.”
“He’s also given me a lot of advice around how to price something, particularly around the royalty side of things. I’ve always had my basic fee structure of payment upon performance, but Mike showed me how to increase my revenue in a way that means if I win, my clients win too!”
Reflecting on the impact the programme has had on her business Martine added: “My turnover has increased, the number of clients we have has increased, the number of employees in the business has increased, and now I have taken on office space, which I never thought I’d do and it’s all down to having the confidence.”
Looking to the future, she said: “I would love a 6tine in every region, and even internationally. That is the goal, I want to help as many businesses as possible to smash their goals!”
To find out more about the Excelerate Labs programme contact firstname.lastname@example.org