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Growing my business with Help to Grow by Holly Barnes

10 August 2022

Holly Barnes (BA 1998), Operations Manager at ITSUS Consulting recently completed the Help to Grow: Management business development programme at Cardiff Business School. Holly tells us about her experience on the programme, and the changes she’s implemented in her work since.

I didn’t really know what to expect from the Help to Grow programme, but I came away with some useful ideas about how we can support and facilitate growth. In particular, the module on Efficient Operations provoked several ideas about the areas we need to look at and develop.

It was great to chat to other cohort members, share ideas and learn about their businesses and challenges. It also made the whole process less intimidating because you realise that everyone is in the same boat, and nobody is an expert.

The top three things I learned on the programme were:

  1. The definition of growth: that it’s not just turnover or the number of employees, it’s also about building better processes, structure, and developing diversity within the organisation.
  2. The impact of formalisation during business growth, and how some employees and customers may resist this. It’s something I’d seen in the past, but perhaps had not appreciated the reason why.
  3. The importance of employee engagement.

After the Digitalisation module, I was able to get a quick win under my belt by implementing digital employee payslips. This idea came about after a conversation with a cohort member during the module. I spoke to our accountant who said confirmed he could support my request, and it was implemented soon after. This is a small and relatively easy change which has made life easier for everyone.

Going forward I am focussing on Digital Adoption, Organisational Design and Efficient Operations, but have also been able to support colleagues with information from some of the other modules.

To someone considering signing up for Help to Grow I would say “do it!” Make sure you write down notes for your Growth Action Plan as you go along, or else you’ll forget all the ideas that will spring to mind during the modules.

Help to Grow: Management is a programme that supports senior managers or small and medium sized businesses to boost their business’s performance resilience and long-term growth.
Twelve sessions over twelve weeks cover key areas of leadership including strategy and innovation, adopting digital technology and building vision and brand.
The programme is 90% funded by UK Government, costing business owners just £750.
Find out more about the Help to Grow: Management programme.