Last year we spoke to Nigel Heald about his enterprise support business, Build a UK Business. This year we’re catching up with his business partner Matthew Clayton to talk about Business Clinics – an exciting new initiative the team has recently launched.
Since the IOEE last checked in with Build a UK Business around a year ago, the enterprise has seen huge growth. It now has over 1000 clients who work across business support, training and third sector services for start-ups, SMEs and social enterprises. There has been growth too in the number of associates Build a UK Business works with. These individuals act as an extended team, offering an incredibly diverse range of specialist business advice and support services to an increasing client base. Matthew says:
“We now have eight associates, each of whom brings their own skills to our team. For example, one is a social enterprise expert, another is a communications expert and a third is a marketing expert.”
In the short time since we interviewed Matthew’s partner, Nigel, Build a UK Business has also struck up fresh associations with organisations including accountancy firm Certax and Yorkshire Bank. One things that remains the same is the sheer diversity of the businesses Build a UK Business helps.
“The businesses we work with are all very different and they operate across a broad range of industries. We’ve got dog-walking sole traders and at the other end of the scale we’ve got an aeronautical composite plastics manufacturer! But, to be honest, the challenges and the questions asked at our Business Clinics can be very similar across sectors and sizes.”
The Business Clinics are the latest Build a UK Business offer and these bi-monthly events promise to deliver an entirely new take on business support during 2017. Initially taking place in Stoke-on-Trent and Birmingham, the events are open to all and completely free. Matthew outlines what takes place at a Business Clinic:
“It’s an informal drop-in session, not unlike going to a GP’s surgery but for businesses! Designed for start-ups or SMEs, people come along from 10am to 4pm having booked online through EventBrite, and share their questions, challenges, or business areas they’d like support with.”
The Business Clinic officially opened in mid-January and already awareness is growing. The sheer accessibility is key – no matter what stage their business is at, everyone is welcomed. Matthew says:
“You could wake up on a Monday morning and think ‘I don’t want to go to work anymore, I’m going to pursue that brilliant business idea. I’ll go to Birmingham instead and talk to Build a UK Business at the Business Clinic.”
Once at the event, individuals will find Build a UK Business representatives and associates, advisors from Yorkshire Bank, and even a few current Build a UK Business clients keen to share their own enterprise experiences. Everyone who attends a Business Clinic will receive a complementary business assessment developed by Matthew and the team in-house. The type of assessment they receive will vary according to their specific circumstances. Matthew says:
“For start-ups, that would be a Business Readiness Assessment, for established small businesses we’ll do Business Health Checks and for third sector enterprises there’ll be a specific assessment. That provides everyone who attends a Business Clinic with a tangible, working tool for the future.”
Of course, as well as reaching out to a broad range of enterprises, the Business Clinics are also about pushing Build a UK Business into the enterprise spotlight and generating greater awareness of its unique services. So, after an exceptionally fruitful 2016 and with plans in place for an equally busy 2017, what does the future hold for Mathew and the team?
“We’re keeping our focus fairly simple. We want to build our business subscriber numbers. It’s a simple proposition – clients can subscribe on a Prime subscription or a Premier subscription. We’re looking to boost numbers by about 20% and the Business Clinics are one way we’ll be reaching out to new subscribers.”
As well as this, plans are afoot to expand Build a UK Business’s third sector involvement and, towards the end of 2017, there will be moves to inject new life into enterprise networking in the West Midlands by partnering with charities and other organisations.
“In our experience, people want something different and new from business networking events. We’re looking at new formats and focussing on communities rather than profits. There’s a real air of positivity around this and we’re an organisation with experience – experience we’re willing to share in a new model. We want people to walk away with a real value-add. People who attend will genuinely do business on the day and any money generated will go to a local charity.
To read more about Build a UK Business and its Business Clinics, go to www.buildaukbusiness.co.uk.