Latest news from the LEAD programme August 2010
Enterprise 4 All cohort celebrating their success.
The Class of 2010 - first graduates LEAD the way Since LEAD was launched across the Northwest in June 2009 over 500 small business owners have joined the programme and nearly half of these have now graduated with great success. At graduation ceremonies across the region successful delegates have been awarded their LEAD certificates and been encouraged to reflect on the experiences they have gained from the programme. All LEAD graduates have had an amazing experience over the 10 months of the programme. The experience and knowledge gained on the LEAD programme has made a real and positive impact on their businesses. ‘LEAD has helped me understand how other businesses work and the things they do to grow. I compared this information with my business to reevaluate the ideas I had and address the challenges I faced. It has made me realise that there are ample opportunities for my business to grow’ says Nurajahan Begum, Nurjahan Cosmeceuticals (PINNA graduate).
As well as giving them the chance to reflect on their achievements over the 10 months, the graduation ceremonies have afforded them the opportunity to focus on their aspirations for the future.
me step back and realise how much closer I am to my destination than I was 9/10 months ago’ remarks Susie Kirkham, J W Kirkham & Sons (Eastham) (Pinna Graduate).
‘Every day we are making new changes and driving the organisation forward – and a lot of it is due to what I have learnt on the LEAD programme’ says Margaret Massey, Jubilee Tower Credit Union (Enterprise 4 All graduate).
If you are a business owner who doesn't want to be left behind by your competitors and wants to gain the same benefits as our graduates, we are now inviting applications to join the Autumn intake of the LEAD programme. See back page of this newsletter for a list of preview dates in your area and also the timing of our Autumn start dates or visit www.businesslinknw.co.uk/lead for more information.
‘When you are running a business you can often feel alone. LEAD has given me a whole team of like minded colleagues to call upon, work with and learn from. My graduation has made
What the delegates say: “Being a business owner can be very lonely. Having the discipline of meeting other business owners once every couple of weeks on the LEAD programme means we can really talk, and get to the heart of the issues in our businesses. I get great feedback from people who are in the same situation, who understand.”
Delegate Case Study: Jayne Smith Former legal secretary Jayne Smith was thriving on the challenge of her new role as operations director of Liverpool-based Document Direct, providing round-theclock secretarial, typing and document production services chiefly for legal practices. However, as the business grew and she found herself managing a large team of subcontractor secretaries, she realised that although she had experience as an IT trainer, she needed to acquire some more specialist business management skills. ‘Before Document Direct I had only been an employee in legal practices, and I’ve had no formal business
What the delegates say: The LEAD programme: “...helped me find strategies for dealing with difficult people effectively, and I can now have more honest conversations with clients – and other people in all areas of my life.”
“...identified shortfalls in our management style. We discovered that we were reactive versus proactive – not leading, but trapped at the coal face.”
“My monthly turnover has increased by 35% year on year .... the company was drifting before I started the LEAD programme.”
education,’ she says. While looking for suitable training, Jayne heard about LEAD from Business Link. She was impressed by figures showing that 90 per cent of participants in the LEAD pilot programme had reported an average increase in turnover of some £200,000 as a result of what they had learned. ‘In the beginning I thought I would learn new and exciting skills to help me build my company,’ she says. ‘However, although you are taught valuable business performance techniques, the learning process is often much more subtle than I had expected. ‘It’s been these subtle changes in my attitude that have made such a big difference to me as a business
manager. I’m thinking about challenges differently - more objectively and more confidently.’ Especially helpful, she says, have been the one-to-one coaching sessions, the masterclasses and the action learning sets. ‘These are small teams of six or seven people just like you, also running small business and often doing it alone. These groups involve absolute trust – you have to bare your soul. I soon realised, though, that this was a powerful learning tool because other people share similar problems, and you can share the solutions too. ‘The upshot is that my management abilities have been vastly improved and I’m much more confident and much more comfortable as a business leader.’
A Masterclass for LEAD delegates with Andy Preston One of the many elements of LEAD are Masterclasses. During the 10 months you get the opportunity to hear 10 fantastic speakers on a variety of subjects ranging from inspirational stories of leadership to more practical business masterclasses showing how you can influence different areas of your business. Here is a summary of one of the recent business masterclasses enjoyed by some of our delegates: International Sales Expert Andy Preston, founder of the ‘Stand Out Selling’ system, is recognised as a leader in his field. His business masterclass “Sales and How to Make Them” generated much discussion among the LEAD delegates who had the opportunity of hearing him. He offered insight into sales techniques, helping delegates to understand why they had made certain buying decisions in the past without appreciating how they had been influenced by the seller’s methods. Andy explained that within any company,
the whole team is effectively part of the sales force because the first impression that every member of staff makes on a potential customer is critical. As business leaders, he told delegates, it was their responsibility to help all team members understand how important this first impression is, whether they be a sales associate, a van driver or receptionist. He discussed the principles of ‘Stand Out Selling’ with its emphasis on the importance of making a customer see why your company is different from the competition by acting differently, speaking differently and looking different, so that you have the edge even when selling the same product. The session lasted three and half hours covering every possible aspect of selling, from applying the ‘critical sales message’ to all areas of a business to ‘critical sales interaction’ to identify the moment at which a sale can be made or lost; all the delegates agreed that Andy’s masterclass was fascinating –and that the time had flown by.
Delegate Case Study: Anders Timms
Busy bee Anders Timms and business partner Mohamad Manavi founded BEE Worldwide, developing energy-efficient boilers for Middle Eastern markets, two years ago. Although Anders already had a successful career in the automotive and aerospace sectors behind him, he readily admits that his experience of running a small business was limited. ‘Lots of industry and professional experience was very different to the challenges of managing the finances of a small business,’ he says. ‘It was an area I knew I had to address
for BEE Worldwide to succeed. In particular, I wasn’t comfortable or confident when it came to the sales side of things – generating leads and closing deals.’ With a deal in the offing to manufacture gas-fired boiler products in Iran where the market for energy-saving products is being fuelled by a governmentbacked energy efficiency drive, it was crucial that BEE Worldwide made the most of the opportunity. Anders decided to take part in the LEAD programme because of its sharp focus on addressing the practical needs of small business leaders. ‘The LEAD approach makes you feel both supported and challenged, encouraging you to look at where you want yourself and your business to be –
and the steps you need to take to get there.’ LEAD has already had a tangible impact BEE Worldwide’s development. In February 2010, the company acquired a 20 per cent stake in Grandee Boilers, and this was directly due to input from a fellow LEAD programme delegate who suggested diversifying into the type of oil-fired boilers made by the company. ‘From a leadership perspective, I saw and took an opportunity to buy a stake in a UK manufacturing business and also to apply its patented technology to our business model. LEAD played a major role in driving and shaping this process, and gave me the confidence to do the deal,’ says Anders.
Artists need business skills too When business guru Martin Kirby was asked to choose the winner of a competition for a place on a LEAD programme, he decided to recognise the entrepreneurial spirit of a group of songwriters. ‘They have a clear picture of what they are trying to achieve, and demonstrate real ambition,’ said Martin as he handed the prize to the Northern Song Collective, a co-operative of Manchester writers, artists and producers bidding to break into the multi-million pound music industry. ‘It’s quite a quirky choice,’ admits Martin, regional manager for RSM Tenon, the UK’s 7th largest accountancy and financial advisory practice. Their vision of setting up a collective business to create a web magazine and a music channel to promote themselves
shows real business promise.’ Jimmy Docherty, who accepted the prize on behalf of the collective, says that when he and his colleagues heard about the business leadership development competition being run by Manchester Metropolitan University Business School, they knew that this was the kind of break that a modern music business really needs. He and his fellow collective members are delighted with the £2,000 sponsorship package and a place on the School’ s prestigious LEAD leadership development programme. ‘We already have the help and backing from Ronan
Keating’s manager Mark Plunkett and MD of Ronan's publishers, Stuart Hornall. ‘All we need now is the right inspiration and support to develop, and we hope LEAD will give us that.’
LEAD View AUGUST 2010
Taster sessions across the region If you want to learn more about LEAD and how it can help you and your business come along to one of our taster sessions. They are running across the region over the next couple of months. To book a place at any of these events just visit www.businesslinknw.co.uk/leadevent and choose the provider of your choice from the drop down menu box.
The next LEAD programme start dates NoGuru South Liverpool, Merseyside – 24 August 2010
Manchester Metropolitan University Manchester – 2 September 2010
The University of Salford Salford – 9 September 2010
University of Central Lancashire Preston – 15 September 2010
GM Chamber Event
The University of Cumbria
Preview @ Wigan 25th August 5 – 7pm
Carlisle – 16 September 2010
Lancaster University Management School (LUMS) Preview @ LUMS 19th August, 2 – 3pm Preview @ LUMS 17th September 2010, 2 – 3pm Preview @ LUMS 21st September 2010, 12 – 1pm
CXL Leyland, Lancashire – 20 September 2010
PINNA Myerscough College, near Preston – 29 September 2010
Runshaw College, Euxton Lane, Chorley Preview @ Runshaw College 10th August, 1.30 – 5pm Preview @ Runshaw College 17th August, 1.30 – 5pm Preview @ Runshaw College 31st August, 1.30 – 5pm
Lancaster University Lancaster – 30 September 2010
Knowledge Transfer International (KTI)
University of Salford
Runcorn – October 2010 (date tbc)
Preview @ Oldham 4th August, 9 – 10am Preview @ Stockport 4th August, 12 – 1pm Preview @ Bolton 11th August, 9 – 10am Preview @ Heywood 11th August, 12 – 1pm Preview @ Salford 18th August, 12 – 1pm
The Manufacturing Institute (TMI) Manchester – 21st October 2010 Places are limited so contact us now regarding availability.
Noguru – with Invest Wirral Preview @ Wirral Business Hub, 3rd August, 5.30 – 7.30pm
PINNA taster, Myerscough College Preview @ Myerscough College 10th August, 8 – 9.30am Preview @ Myerscough College 2nd September, 4.30 – 7pm
For more information about the LEAD programme and the providers in your area please visit www.businesslinknw.co.uk/LEAD or call 0845 00 66 888
What the delegates say: “I would – and do – recommend LEAD to business owners that I see running around like headless chickens. They may think, as I did, that time is too precious to do the programme – but the truth is that time is too precious not to do it.”