Ben has spent the last eight years working across the private, public and third sectors on a range of business growth and support programmes, helping anyone from high street shops to tech start-ups. After a stint working on the customisation of CRM systems for organisations, Ben now manages the Amplify programme at GC Business Growth Hub, helping established digital, creative and tech businesses grow at pace.
That's a wrap. After a 9 month journey, the first cohort of Amplify reaches its end point.
From post it note covered walls in Gorton Monastery, to hearing how the best and brightest do things in Copenhagen, its hard not to reflect on some of the things we hear the businesses say they've learnt. So without further ado, here's a round up of the top five lessons from the first cohort...
What we were able to share as a group was as valuable as the visits, and has helped validate some of my ideas.Jon Woodall, MD, Space 48 (www.space48.com)
First lesson: you already have the answers
For many businesses, Amplify didn't so much give them the answers, as it did give them the conviction to pursue those answers.
Making the big calls isn't easy, but from conversations over dinner in Copenhagen to the rhythms of support from Board Advisors who've been there and done it, the message was often reinforced that, yes, you do have the right idea, you just have to follow through on it.
Amplify has really helped us work collaboratively and openly with the rest of the leadership team in the business and get far greater alignment and clarity as a resultEd Cox, Co-Founder, Reason Digital (www.reasondigital.com)
Second lesson: alignment builds momentum
A key leader has a burning vision for where that business needs to go. But does the rest of the leadership team share that vision?
From the Growth Sprint to the Content Drops and associated Growth Challenges, the leadership team was brought together time and time again to tackle challenges together, and in turn ensure they're singing from the same hymn sheet.
This was vital, and leaders have frequently told us how much better aligned they are as a team as a result of Amplify, making it far easier to drive their growth journey.
It has made me think about the kind of culture we want to have, and how we in turn make that happen.Simon Weeks, CEO, Maginus (www.maginus.com)
Third lesson: people, culture, people
The importance of people and culture, and its role in driving a business forward, could not have been overstated.
The Study Trip bore this out most of all - at UsTwo, it was clear that from Managing Director to Studio Manager, everyone who worked there absolutely understood and bought into the vision of the organisation, and could articulate it to you perfectly.
Drummed in again with the "Hiring Great People" Content Drop, the process of building the right team and culture to grow your business was often front and centre.
Our Board Advisor has been invaluable in keeping us on track - they've really helped keep the leadership team continually engaged in the companies strategy.Will Bentley, Owner, BD2 (www.bd2.co.uk)
Fourth lesson: accountability is under rated
The Board Advisors bring a wealth of knowledge and experience to help the businesses they're matched with on the programme, but one of their most under reted assets was the ability to hold the leaders' feet to the fire.
This has proven invaluable when it can often prove tricky to stay on track with those "working on the business" projects, as the day to day grind comes calling.
This has been a great way of ensuring businesses sustain their momentum on the programme - no easy feat over nine months.
The Growth Sprint gives you a simple but useful tool to use and most importantly an action list to work on immediately. The idea of habit changing really resonated with my team.Rick Guttridge, MD, Smoking Gun PR (www.smokinggunpr.co.uk)
Fifth lesson: growth is a habit
Growth is not just about long term strategies and plans. While these inevitably have their place, its important to build a habit of growth, encouraging people to continually trial new ideas.
The Growth Sprint took this principle to heart, using the Google Design Sprint methodology to stress that while you may have a big strategic goal, continual and short growth experiments will help maintain a head of steam to get there.
This semeed to resonate with a number of businesses on the cohort, who've taken this mindset back to the office.
And my personal learning from Amplify? That we've got a pretty great bunch of digital and creative businesses in Greater Manchester.
If you're interested in joining the next cohort of Amplify, then click apply below.
How do I apply?
If you think the programme is right for you, simply click below to register your interest for the autumn 2019 intake.