“Speak to somebody who's got business experience, the sooner the better.”

“Speak to somebody who's got business experience, the sooner the better.”

Meet Karl Smith, the founder of Urban Surfer, an online retail clothing company based in County Durham.  Specialising in surf, skate & snow clothing and footwear, Karl has been running his business for over 19 years and finds access to the Entrepreneurs’ Forum’s mentoring programme invaluable.

Karl recently met with mentor Alice Hall of Rowen Homes at one of the Forum’s drop-in events held at RBC Brewin Dolphin’s Newcastle office - Rowen Homes is launching their new flagship store in the Metro Centre in May.

“I absolutely believe in mentorship - 100%; I appreciate getting knowledge from people who have started their own or are heavily involved in business. It’s amazing I get to talk with Alice. She's been in the same industry; marketing, ecommerce and clothing. It's invaluable spending time with someone who's been there, done it and achieved massive success.

“She looked at pretty much every single part of our business, from sourcing the products to creating the website, to target our market, which is one of her strongest points and marketing is one of my weakest.

“I think everybody needs a mentor. It doesn't matter what stage you are at in your business. If you're just thinking about starting a business, the sooner the better because they will have probably been in your situation. They've probably started the wrong business at first and seen all the pitfalls at the beginning. It’s always helpful to be guided, so whether you're a start up or if you've been doing it like me, for nearly 20 years, I'm always going to take every opportunity to learn from other people.

“The three qualities I think you need to be a good mentor are; to be personable, experienced and a good reputation as a seasoned business person. It also helps if they have diversity within their company and are non-judgmental.

“Spending time with someone who has achieved incredible success and moved on to create a second business gives me more motivation and consider where I want to develop my business.”

If you would like to see more from Urban Surfer – visit their website, link in the comments.  

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