Those who own an Elite Bike will testify to the craftsmanship, design prowess and attention to detail Mark Lyon invests in every single one of his bespoke, carbonfibre race machines.
Since leaving the Forces early due to life altering injuries, Mark has equipped himself with a number of impressive qualifications, including a Level 3 cycle mechanic BTEC, a Master Frame Builder certificate and Shimano accreditation. On top of this he has a BTEC in aeronautical engineering and he is an RAF accredited carbon fibre technician.
But reliable business advice and guidance proved hard to come by... until he was introduced to Heropreneurs. "I'd been introduced to Help for Heroes during my rehabilitation period and I was very lucky to receive a grant for some extra equipment to help me move around the workshop," says Mark.
"While doing that, I explained that my bike business was taking off and luckily someone mentioned Heropreneurs, so I fired off a business plan and they got in touch," he adds.
"Their help so far has been amazing, they have been so supportive. Not only did they came up to visit but they also talked me through the website and how it needed to change, as well as how to market the business and get the most out of social media.
"I have no business expertise, so they're advice has been invaluable. You couldn't pay for that sort of help."
But it is not just business advice that Heropreneurs helps with, as the charity and its experienced mentors know just how hard life can be when coming out of the Armed Forces.
"Heropreneurs know that because of my medical restrictions, I can't work all the time and they understand this," he says. "I'm working seven days a week at the moment to satisfy customer demand. They are pointing me in the right direction and they are putting people my way that can help.
"I am a stickler for details and find it difficult to relinquish some responsibility but I'd be silly not to want to expand and rope in new staff, because I'd like Elite Bikes to live on after I've gone.
"I think Heropreneurs can help me build a business that reflects the hard work I have put in over the years."
Mark Lyon, owner and founder of Elite Bikes
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