Dormen mentor is Taylor made

A Dorset engineering firm is set to double its turnover to £1million after it was paired with a specialist mentor.

Bay Engineering utilised the assistance offered by Dormen – the Dorset business mentoring service – which links experienced business people with companies.

The Dormen service at most costs a £100 annual administration fee as the mentors are unpaid.

Bay Engineering, based in Weymouth, was turning over £500,000 before the recession of 2008 and that dropped slightly in the immediate years afterwards.

Managing Director Darren Taylor then contacted Dormen, which suggested Frank Guinn as a mentor.

The partnership has been a spectacular success with the company now on track to nudge the £1million turnover mark this year.

Darren, who along with Steve Balem established the company in 2001 following a management buy-out, said that the main thing the mentor has done is to give him confidence.

He added: “When Dormen first approached us we thought it sounded too good to be true.

“After the crash things went a bit quiet in 2009 and all manufacturing companies were affected.

“We were jogging along OK and decided to approach Dormen who put us in touch with Frank Guinn who actually had an electronics background.

“We had a meeting and he basically got us asking ourselves the questions we should have been asking.

“It was just good to have an outside point of view and our confidence grew. Because we were meeting with him every month we were more motivated to put in place things that we’d decided to do.

“We have gone from strength to strength and this year hope to turn over a million pounds.

“We moved premises in March last year, bought a great deal of new equipment and are looking to grow our workforce in the future from 11 to 20 people.”

Mentor Frank Guinn, who formerly ran several highly successful electronic businesses, said: “Like everyone, Bay Engineering was hit by the recession.

“I had a meeting with Darren and Steve and we discussed how they could diversify by doing assembly work.

“In the meantime they gained new customers and started to recover. They put in place controls to monitor costs to see which projects were most profitable.

“They have done everything properly and invested profits back into the company with a new building and new machines.

“When I sold my businesses I wanted to put something back and I do like to see young firms succeeding.

“I am able to warn businesses of tank traps because I’ve been there before and I am able to guide them away from problems.”

Vivian Dunn from Dormen, said: “We have mentors with expertise in all sectors and we’re looking for businesses to partner them with.

“Bay Engineering had ambition to expand and Frank was able to help them do that while avoiding mistakes.

“Mentors can often just instil confidence in business people and point them in the right direction – and that can be incredibly valuable.”