A programme that delivers support to expanding businesses has relieved a Leamington-based company of its growing pains.
Emerald Group, which provides computer support services to start-ups and multi-national corporations in the West Midlands, had reached a crossroads following a sustained period of growth.
While the company – which had seen the number of staff members rise to 15 – was well-positioned to grow, it also had to consider if it was in its interests to expand.
Directors of the Group contacted Business Ready, which is managed by the business support team at the University of Warwick Science Park and is funded by the European Regional Development Fund and Warwickshire County Council as part of the CW Business: Start, Grow & Scale Programme.
In addition to supporting growing businesses such as Emerald Group, the programme also helps businesses that are failing to meet their potential to overcome the barriers and achieve scalability.
Emerald Group was assigned a mentor from the programme who analysed the company and determined it needed to focus on marketing and customer service.
On the advice of its Business Ready mentor, Emerald Group then sent their team members on workshops (four on marketing, seven on customer service) and saw immediate results in their day-to-day operations, business strategy and sales.
Sarah Windrum, co-founder and CEO of Emerald Group, said: “I don’t believe we would have got this level of business improvement through general training alone.
“Our team members participated in a range of weird and wonderful exercises – all of which were geared towards getting them to think differently.
“One of the marketing activities involved planning for a Christmas party – in July!
“On the customer services side, all of our employees have benefitted from Business Ready, which analysed our company and our customers and then provided bespoke training accordingly.”
Since receiving support from Business Ready, the company has been able to build on the workshops and develop its own training plans specific to the Emerald Group’s needs and requirements.
The company has enjoyed quarter-on-quarter growth at a sustainable rate and is better-prepared to develop team members from within the company to allow them to assume additional responsibilities.
Sarah said: “Our clients all have the same thing in common: they want to use technology to achieve their goals. They also want the highest level of support and expertise, and working with Business Ready has certainly helped us to deliver on both of these requirements.”
Ian McFarlane-Toms, who heads up Business Ready at the University of Warwick Science Park, said: “We approach our support to businesses as a two-way process and ensure it’s not prescriptive but tailored to a company’s needs when it comes to their own growth.
“Emerald Group were going through what so many businesses experience – that point where it feels like such a big leap to go to the next level of growth. We are very pleased to have worked with the team to help them get over that bump in the road and put them on a path to sustainable growth.”
For more information on Business Ready and the help available go to http://www.business-ready.co.uk/
The CW Business: Start, Grow and Scale project is receiving up to £2.6m of funding from the England European Regional Development Fund as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020. The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (and in London the intermediate body Greater London Authority) is the Managing Authority for European Regional Development Fund. Established by the European Union, the European Regional Development Fund helps local areas stimulate their economic development by investing in projects which will support innovation, businesses, create jobs and local community regenerations. For more information visit https://www.gov.uk/european-growth-funding