It transformed our business

Tell me about your business

We are an award-winning local architectural firm who problem solve for our clients across a variety of sectors, including care, commercial and residential developments. Our mission is centred around three crucial elements: listening, collaborating, and problem-solving. We take pride in not just delivering functional and aesthetically pleasing designs, but also in creating environments that inspire and empower the people who use them.

What were the key challenges you were facing before joining the Help to Grow programme?

After 20 years in business, we had been ticking over as a lifestyle business, with no clear growth or exit plan. After our initial 6 years growth, we were surviving but not growing. We knew we needed to do something, but didn’t know what this something was.

What made you join the Help to Grow: Management programme?

For me, it was a no brainer.  When I saw the course advertised, and so heavily subsided, it was a great opportunity to understand the theoretical and academic fundamentals and how to apply them to our business to grow.

As a short programme, it felt quite manageable alongside working in the business to give structure and direction on where to focus to move forward.

The blend of online and face to face suited me and I was attracted by the idea of a business mentor offering personalised support.

What were your key learnings and how did you apply them?

It was great to really understand the theoretical side of how a business behaves and performs, then discussing the practicalities of this in the case studies sessions. We were then able to implement key aspects of the course to steer us in the right direction.

Specifically, for us it was about:

Defining the Brand - the ‘Vision, Mission and Values’ module was really inspiring and these are core to a business. Our outcomes have now been embedded throughout the company and fed into everything we do.

Culture - we have an increased focus on maintaining a productive and motivational culture, as well as how we can help key staff with personal development goals. This in turn has positively impacted on how we present ourselves externally.

Digitisation – seeing what was possible has enabled us to improve efficiencies and develop a more robust business to move forward with, based on data from our business.

Any personal learnings?

One huge advantage was the dedicated time to work on, rather than in, the business. Working with our business mentor from the programme was a very useful sounding board, and I will continue to work with them. We also decided to bring in an additional business mentor to the board of directors due to the benefits.

After seeing the value of dedicating time to work on my business, I have made a point to ringfence that time, now the course is over, enabling me to focus on key areas to maximise growth.

The opportunity to network and chat with peers from a range of sectors on the course itself, was insightful. That continued after the course finished, and connecting to different businesses from other cohorts at the follow up events has also proved valuable.

And what has been the result for your business?

It has transformed our business! Applying the principles that we learnt about has meant a dramatic change event though some changes are quite small. The course has impacted, in a good way, every aspect of our business. It’s a business course on speed and has resulted in us exceeding our targets, with turnover up by 25% in the last 9 months and profit margins also increased. I am also more motivated and energised to lead our business.

What would you say to another business considering Help to Grow?

It’s a no brainer. The value add for minimal financial investment is huge and it really changes your perspective and shifts your focus to what is important. It has been truly transformational.

Find out how we can help you grow your SME business

Help to Grow: Management