Course Overview



Help to Grow: Management Course
What will you learn?

Facilitated by small business experts from leading university business schools located near you, this practical programme takes place over three months. The short focused sessions allow you to complete the course alongside running your business. It includes both online and face-to-face sessions, peer support and 1:1 mentoring.

The course has been designed to help you to focus on a Growth Business Plan for your organisation right from the start. You will do this with the support of your course facilitator and mentor – and they’ll help you to build on this foundation throughout the programme.

Part 1 - Strategies for growth and innovation

This focuses on what your business does and how you want it to develop in the future. We look at your business’s strengths and core capabilities, your opportunities, and your current and potential markets, as well as how innovation, digital adoption and new market penetration can be key drivers of productivity and growth.

Content covered will include:

  • Understanding innovation and its relationship to growth, profitability and productivity.
  • Reviewing your business model and value proposition in relation to current and future market opportunities.
  • Understanding how business model innovation can help you respond to, and recover from, challenges.
  • Finding out about the UK’s innovation ecosystem.

Content covered will include:

  • Understanding the benefits of digital adoption for SMEs in innovating business models and seizing opportunities.
  • Considering what stage your business has reached on the path to digital adoption from digitisation to digital transformation, and identifying priority development areas.
  • Understanding the role of digital leadership and considering digital enablers to achieve a transformational culture.
  • Being alert to the risks of a digitised environment and ways to mitigate that risk.

Content covered will include:

Taking an in-depth look at how a business has:

  • Innovated its model.
  • Developed markets overseas.
  • Explored models to address opportunities in different countries.
  • Adapted their business model and overcame challenges.
  • How the experience encouraged them to innovate.

Part 2 - Engaging with customers

This part focuses on why you do what you do, how you connect with your customers and how you effectively convey your values and purpose in your brand. We look at building demand, segmenting your markets, and achieving a targeted and strategic approach to marketing.

Content covered will include:

  • Understanding the strategic value of vision, purpose and brand, their link to the customer value proposition and role in achieving competitive advantage.
  • Exploring vision, mission and values statements and planning an approach for reviewing these in your business.
  • Defining brand components and how they add value to your business and customers.
  • Understanding the role of your business’s vision, values and brand in organisational culture and employee engagement.

Content covered will include:

  • Further developing your customer value proposition and your business’s approach to marketing.
  • Understanding market segmentation, targeting and positioning (STP) within your business’s competitive environment.
  • Considering the stages in the buyer decision-making processes.
  • Starting to consider the benefits of database marketing.

Content covered will include:

  • Exploring how a business built a market-leading brand and continued to serve its customers’ needs through changing times. What challenges had to be overcome and how did the company stay true to its purpose and values.

Part 3 - Building a sustainable and agile business

This part focuses on creating a suitable organisational structure to deliver your goals, and adopting good practice in the leadership and management of teams. We look at leading people through change and supporting the wellbeing of staff, as well as developing your people and introducing agile ways of working.

Content covered will include:

  • Identifying growth phases and when and how it will be necessary to evolve the shape of the organisation to implement growth.
  • Considering SME examples of different structures and ways of working and the implications for your workforce.
  • Jointly with others in your business, reviewing skills, roles and training to ensure the required expertise is available to deliver the growth plan.
  • Considering structures and processes to facilitate agile working.

Content covered will include:

  • Identifying appropriate strategies for leading change in an inclusive and engaging way.
  • Planning to implement approaches that enhance employee engagement.
  • Recognising the impact of your own leadership approach as a key enabler for growth.
  • Being able to utilise tools and resources collaboratively to lead your team towards strategic goals.

Content covered will include:

  • Exploring an example of a company that has put employee engagement at the heart of their business and created an inclusive culture. The tools and ways of working are innovative and productive, and the business has achieved growth through the way it works as much as through what it does.

Part 4 - Operations and financial strategies

This part focuses on what happens in the business to create outputs, how you monitor progress and use information to inform decision-making. We look at a strategic approach to operations, financial management and options to finance growth, and how everything comes together in the implementation of your Growth Action Plan.

Content covered will include:

  • Recognising the role of operations in the value chain.
  • Understanding the type of operations in your business.
  • Identifying opportunities to improve operations management.
  • Reflecting on the impact of the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

Content covered will include:

  • Using financial data to make informed decisions about future operations including identifying relevant financial metrics for monitoring growth and productivity.
  • Understanding the importance of cash flow forecasting in managing crisis and recovery.
  • Considering options for financing growth both internally and from external sources, and being aware of where to source information and advice.

Content covered will include:

  • Developing priorities and a timeline for implementation, using your Growth Action Plan.
  • Identifying the resources required to achieve the objectives in your Growth Action Plan.
  • Embedding key management practices critical to growth and productivity in your business.


You will complete the programme with a unique Growth Action Plan. Over the course, your plan will be personally tailored to the challenges you face, including an organised set of actions and a plan on a page to share with your employees.

You will continue to receive support to grow your business through the Help to Grow: Management Alumni Network. This includes access to events, masterclasses and practical seminars, alongside other ongoing opportunities to engage with and learn from other like-minded businesses.

Still have questions? Check out our detailed Frequently Asked Questions.

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