Help to Grow: Management will now enable multiple participants from small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to attend the course. Two leaders or senior managers from a business with 10 to 249 employees can attend the 12 modules of learning and get the benefits of one-to-one mentorship.  

Additionally, those who previously attended the Small Business Leadership Programme (SBLP) will be able to sign up for Help to Grow: Management. 

Naturally, some will wonder about the value of two people attending the government-subsidised course. To answer this question, we spoke to Josh Smith, director at Creative Picture Framing, Matt and Georgina White, director of operations and director of marketing at White’s Bakery, and Rebecca Dean, managing director at Unico 3.  

The three companies are from vastly different sectors. Unico 3 is an accountancy firm in Walsall, White’s Bakery provides food for schools in Barnsley, and Creative Picture Framing creates bespoke frames in Cirencester. However, each business wanted two people to attend Help to Grow: Management. 

Why do Help to Grow: Management with a colleague?

For Georgina and Matt White of White’s Bakery, the potential need to take over from their father’s management prompted the decision to join the course. For the first time the siblings were going to be responsible for crafting a business plan. Matt explains: ‘There's always been a vision of where the business needs to go, but actually putting it down on paper and having a template is different.’ 

Help to Grow: Management enabled both attendees to start planning and get out of the day-to-day work that stops managers from looking at the bigger picture.  

Georgina comments: ‘We get stuck in the day-to-day doing of business. Whereas we should be putting our time and effort into things that are going to help the business grow.’  

Going on the course together, enabled the siblings to address different areas while creating a unified business plan. While Georgina focused on developing marketing and sales, Matt worked on the effectiveness of operations.  

Other attendees have also found the course an opportunity to look at the business from a wider perspective before making positive changes.  

Smith, Director at Creative Picture Framing, comments that both he and his colleague Daryl Perkins were from different professional backgrounds. They joined Creative Picture Framing at different times but were keen to discover how they could take the business forward together. Help to Grow: Management helped both members of the team address their workload and create efficiencies for the business.

Similarly, Dean attended the course with her colleague Adam Jones, sales and marketing director at Unico 3, with the goal of both feeding their learnings into the business from the same page. Having completed the course together they had a common set of business tools and frameworks, and a collective understanding of the 12 modules covered in the course, that they could use to progress the business. 

What benefits did the course deliver?

Small business leaders attend the course with different levels of experience, but the breadth of the course and diverse ways methods of learning that feature ensure that every participant gets something valuable from the experience. 

Dean found the course helped with business efforts around employee engagement. She used the learnings from the course to help change Unico3’s office space, introduce software that enabled remote working, and introduce hybrid working options for employees. The course also informed which management styles were required for a hybrid approach to work. Whether that be goal-orientated or a more hands-on approach.

Dean adds, ‘we've done a lot of work with team managers in the business to help them and support them to support teams.’ 

Conversely, Smith and the team at Creative Picture Framing found that the course reassured them that they were heading in the right direction. With that said, Smith does say, ‘we've got three or four areas where we need to invest more time to make more efficient, and before the course, we didn’t know that.’ 

A primary module that put Creative Picture Framing’s development areas into the spotlight was ‘Financial Management and Planning’.  

The ability to speak to a mentor was most valuable to White’s Bakery, both Matt and Georgina found that taking the time to bounce ideas off an established leader helped them create new processes. These processes are now part of a greater plan for a move to a new production site.  

Evidently, the learnings from the course are being applied during important growth decisions and this looks set to continue.  

Going forward

These businesses have managed to assess their needs and identify potential areas of growth through Help to Grow: Management. While they all carve out their paths, a recurring theme in our conversations was advising other leaders to attend the course.  

Smith notes that ‘the modules touch on every part of business. We had the opportunity to consider everything from branding to financials. With this information, we can now further our company.’ 

This sentiment is shared by Unico 3. Dean summarises: ‘I have recommended the course because it pulls business information together with a network of people to share experiences with. Being able to take that time out of the business to work on strategy and development was incredibly useful.’ 

With over 50 business schools offering the Help to Grow: Management Course, you can begin your development journey near you. Discover more about Help to Grow: Management here

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