Andy Salmon, serial entrepreneur and Associate Professor for Enterprise and Corporate Development at Birmingham City University Business School discusses the role of the University’s Enterprise For Success programme and how forming a solid marketing and leadership plan for your business is essential and can help your business flourish and cope with the current volatile business environment.
Enterprise For Success is part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund in partnership with Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council.
Andy, tell us a bit about the Enterprise For Success programme and who it is designed for.
The Enterprise For Success is designed for businesses in the early stages of trading who have not quite got off the ground. The first year or two years of starting a business is difficult. You don’t have a track record – a previous level of experience on which you can base future business decisions. When I speak to organisations starting on the programme, many of them describe the symptoms of their business challenge such as ‘we’re not getting enough sales’.
Through the Enterprise For Success programme and workshop series, with the help of academics with industry experience we try to get businesses to see past the symptoms and understand the root cause of their issues.
What characteristics of the programme are especially designed to help starting businesses grow and succeed?
The whole programme is designed to help businesses better understand and review their current business position and teach them techniques and processes to help them overcome their challenges and put them in a better position to grow.
Attendees will develop their leadership skills, understand challenges that impact growth and develop their value proposition.
The programme is designed to help attendees think deeply about their opportunities and challenges, and develop solutions and robust stategies to them.
However before businesses can fully do this, we also help them to understand their own barriers to growth that they need to overcome to make the most of opportunities – whether that be skills gaps, access to funding etc.
The design of the delivery is also key to helping businesses make the most of the programme. By spacing teaching across a series of workshops, this gives businesses the opportunity to reflect, experiment and share ideas with their peers on the programme.
Why is forming a solid business marketing and leadership plan essential to new businesses?
By forming a solid business marketing and leadership plan, it helps starting businesses answer some fundamental questions. Such as – why does this business exist, who are my customers and what is it that they want?
When starting a business most founders tend to be made up of a person or small groups of people who have a real passion for the area they work in. Although they may be experts in their field, it doesn’t necessarily make them an expert in marketing, leadership, confidence building and all the other skill sets that are required to build a successful business.
Starting to build a marketing and leadership plan can help individuals to address this challenge and better understand their areas for improvement. External programmes out there including Enterprise For Success are designed to support businesses do this and share knowledge from external experts in these fields, and empower businesses to manage this process independently.
What current challenges do starting businesses face that make a solid leadership and marketing strategy so important in today’s market?
The pandemic and Brexit have been something of a perfect storm for businesses. That combined with inflation has lead to a wide range of challenges, ranging from costs in the supply chain, to changing consumer needs to changes in consumer spending.
Volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity are all impacting businesses currently. These are all symptoms of a changing marketing place that are particularly apparent at the moment.
Organisations have been forced to change the way they operate and look at new ways of working. Understanding your marketing and business leadership strategy is vital to making this change as seamless as possible. As we’re encountering a unique economic situation.
Could your business benefit from joining our Enterprise For Success programme. Our next series of workshops starts in September.