“The course is an excellent way to realise your goals in an incredibly supportive environment.”

“The course is an excellent way to realise your goals in an incredibly supportive environment.”

Dr Alexandra Anderson is the Programme Director of the Help to Grow: Management course. She discusses how business leaders can benefit from the course.

As a course leader for the Help to Grow: Management Course, what is your previous experience of developing leadership skills and helping businesses grow?
Having owned and grown my own business from scratch, I understand the challenges and opportunities faced by SME leaders and have extensive first-hand and academic research experience of helping businesses grow. This includes raising finance, resourcing new developments, building teams, exploring international markets, and managing stakeholder relationships. 

I have worked on several regional business growth initiatives, all targeting SMEs. This includes Sheffield City Region Scale Up, Leading to Grow (supporting microbusinesses) and the Small Business Leadership Programme (SBLP). I’m delighted to now lead the Help to Grow – Management course. As the module leader role for internationalisation and winning new markets, it’s been fantastic to meet up with participants face to face to work through new opportunities for growth.

What makes the Help to Grow: Management programme unique?
It offers a 12-week programme to senior leaders to boost business performance, resilience, and long-term growth. Participants can access tailored content designed by leadership and management experts, peer group activities and 1 to 1 mentoring. All this is delivered as part of an incredibly supportive network of business and industry experts and peers.

What’s your favourite module on the course and why? 
Strategy and innovation is an excellent module to start the course. It allows the participants to work on the path their organisation needs to take to achieve sustainable growth. Exploring with participants their value proposition, and how this relates to each aspect of their business model can be a stimulating process for participants - whether a relatively new or more established SME. I specialise in maintaining an entrepreneurial culture within an organisation and maintaining and using networks to create opportunity and so participants can explore in detail what benefits innovation can bring to their organisation.  

Why should business leaders register for the Help to Grow: Management course?
Senior leaders can draw inspiration from peers from all types of SMEs, exchange ideas and operational and strategic experiences. Many will be seeking new markets to explore, looking to develop teams to support growth and find more efficient ways of working for sustainable growth. The Help to Grow – Management course is an excellent way to realise these goals in an incredibly supportive environment.

How would you summarise the course in three words?
Focused, innovative, and inspiring. 

Why is it important for businesses to adopt new technology?
Effective use of new technology can transform businesses. Technology innovations move at pace and businesses must ensure they benefit. It is important for SMEs to identify and enact upon the most useful technology adoption for their organisation to achieve growth ambitions. This maybe through more effective data management, more advanced CRM, creating new products and services, supporting supply chain efficiencies or informing marketing decisions.  

What is the importance of adopting responsible business practice? 
All organisations should seek to have a positive impact on society and the environment. SMEs can gain new competences and become more innovative through adopting responsible and sustainable business practices. They can enhance their reputation with a range of stakeholders including customers and employees.  

How can businesses nurture innovation?
Organisational culture is a key enabler of innovation. To nurture innovation, SMEs need to create a culture where employees have shared values and feel they have an important role to play in the growth of their organisation. This requires strong leadership that allows autonomy in decision-making, sees networks as a strategic resource, has a clear focus on their customers, creates a learning environment where ideas are welcomed and shared, rewards calculative risk taking and resources innovation. An organisation culture that values and embraces diversity.

Dr Alexandra Anderson 
Help to Grow: Management Programme Director 

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