Why your business needs a business development programme
Mention the phrase ‘business development programme’ and some SME owners automatically assume that such a service is for large companies with big corporate budgets only. Others may think that it’s just for big executive teams, or those struggling, rather than thriving, in business. But the truth is that good development programmes will benefit all size businesses, reap measurable rewards and be available at costs to suit every budget.
What is a business development programme for?
Essentially, the programme will take your business forward, to the next step of its objectives. Don’t have defined objectives? Then look for a development programme that incorporates strategy and goal setting. Got your plans but unsure how to realise them? Look for a programme that deals with specifics such as sales strategy and training, marketing rollout and promotional mixes, successful operations and logistics, finances and more.
A wide range available.
Each programme should ideally be tailored to your particular company and circumstances, although this consultancy may come with a price tag. However, there are development programmes available for a range of businesses who are eligible for funding or grants via a range of local economic partnerships, corporate social responsibility partnerships, government and EU funds and more. These tend to be open to start-ups and SMEs, which the government has identified as being key areas for leading the UK’s economic recovery. Specific funded or part-funded programmes are available across the UK, each with slightly different entry criteria, aims and objectives. They might be for new start-ups for examples, for budding entrepreneurs, for SMEs looking to export and trade abroad, or for medium sized companies looking to expand or enter new markets. The service package might involve aspects such as course attendance, a period of consultancy support, training, mentoring and coaching – depending on the aims and objectives and individual circumstances involved.
Other programmes include structured training courses and development opportunities for business leaders in a peer environment. These may be one off courses, accredited training programmes held in conjunction with local universities, sponsored events and conferences or specific information sessions or lectures. They will help provide inspiration, knowledge, skills development, ideas, guidance – and all important networking opportunities with other similarly-minded business people.
How to pick the right programme for you.
Get in touch with your local business services provider to find out more – there are agencies, companies and not-for-profit partnerships and business support organisations set up across the UK, many working with the government sector through funded local economic partnerships. These bodies will provide you with a business advisor to talk through your needs and establish which services you are eligible for and would benefit from. They may also be able to provide details of other services such as training, apprenticeship recruitment, access to finance, regulatory support and accreditation, events and networking and more. Your Chamber of Commerce is often a good place to start, along with Business Link online, or search Google to find out what’s available in your local business area.
Many businesses find that a structured business development programme is exactly what they need to take their business to the next level, so it’s well worth taking that first step and making contact – you have nothing to lose and everything to gain!