“It’s helped me take time out to think strategically.”

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“It’s helped me take time out to think strategically.”

Jules Leahy is the co-founder of Steps Rehabilitation, a residential centre in Sheffield for people who require specialist rehabilitation and nursing care following traumatic injuries. She enrolled on the Small Business Leadership Programme in 2020. 

What’s your company history? 

We launched STEPS Rehabilitation in 2017. It’s a family business, with me, my sister and my father as founding directors. We provide intensive, seven-day rehabilitation for clients following traumatic injuries.  

We are particularly proud to offer services to younger people from the age of 16 — without us, their options were either to be placed in a nursing home with older people and no specialist rehabilitation services, or to be at home and not have the opportunity to reach their full rehab potential. It’s a privilege to be able to make a difference to people at such a difficult time in their lives. 

Our reputation has grown steadily since we launched, and we now have NHS and private referrals from around the country and outside the UK. We are now operating at over 90% occupancy and have been making a profit since autumn 2020. 

Why did you choose to join the Small Business Leadership Programme?  

I wanted to meet other business leaders in Sheffield, to share expertise and gain knowledge on running a business.  

What have been the overall benefits of the programme for you? 

I’ve gained confidence — in what I already knew, to try new things, in managing our team, and to implement new processes. 

There was a good balance of topics on the programme, all of which were relevant. It’s helped me think about the way I do things in our business.  

Which parts of the programme did you find most helpful? 

The peer group sessions were invaluable — I came out of every one of them with something new to think about. It felt like a safe space to say what you wanted. In particular it was great to speak to other people working in family businesses. 

Without the lectures we wouldn't have the conversations we had, so the mix of those along with the discussions is really important. The course leader was excellent at pulling everything together. 

What changes have you made as a result of your participation in the programme? 

It’s made me realise the importance of taking time out to think strategically about the business, rather than always focusing on the day-to-day. The course helped me prioritise, and it gave me confidence in my ability to manage my business. 

We have made practical changes too — I’ve changed several admin processes as a result of learnings from the programme, which has made us more efficient. 

What would you say to a business owner considering taking part in the programme? 

I would recommend it. Sheffield Hallam has so much knowledge available to access. It has definitely been worth it. 

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