Some local and national resources for 2015 for SME’s looking to grow.
Last year was my second full year running The Composerworks. I tapped into some of the brilliant local funding and education resources in and around MediaCityUK which helped me move the business forward.
Here are some ideas which may work for you for 2015.
1. Manchester Metropolitan University: MMU offers an amazing course called the Knowledge Action Network. It was very informative. Groups of like-minded business folk met every month for 6 months to discuss business issues and find an effective way through them. You also get 4 sessions with a business mentor afterwards. And they have free workshops for months afterwards – from “know your numbers” to how you can work Linkedin to your advantage. MMU is well connected and the course invited mega-successful people who came along to talk about business. Definitely to be recommended to SME’s looking to grow…
2. The Business Growth Hub: They offer 50% matched funding for up to £3,000 for certain projects. Spend £1,200, get £600 from The Growth Hub; which is what I did, twice. There are no catches. There is EU money to be given away. (UKIP? No thanks.)
3. Business Planning Day: Step out, step back, move forward. There is a local business coach called Mark Dyble who runs a quarterly planning day. It’s incredibly useful. I felt at first it was an achievement to take a day out of the business during working hours. He gets you to think about the main milestones you need to meet over the next 3 months. You come away with a tangible business plan for the next 89 days and (3 months later) he even posts you a letter you write to yourself on the day telling yourself how marvellous you are for meeting the goals in your plan. Freaky when you open it though. £150 for the day.
4. Social Media Stream: I was stuck for a social media plan. This MCUK-based social media company will give you a social media health check and devise a VERY comprehensive strategy doc to encompass all strands of social media. And I got matched funding for it (see above) so well worth the investment.
5. UK Trade And Investment: If you’re serious about trading abroad then I’d recommend a UKTI half day course which I attended called Website Optimisation for International Trade events. It enabled me to understand better how an international audience will find (or not find) your website easily and how to design and optimise it all accordingly (which was impeccably done by MCUK-based SME Gather Digital). A really useful course.