Wednesday, 2 October 2019

Learn how to grow your business from the experts

Tuesday, October 22 is the date of the fourth annual conference I have organised with a group of like-minded business owners. The focus of this year's half-day event is learning how to grow your business - and we're bringing some fantastic experts who will have vital advice and tips to share.

When we sat down in 2016 to plan our first event, which took place at the Pirelli Stadium, we wanted to create an event that we would REALLY want to attend if someone else was organising it. Do you know what I mean? The sort of 'can't be missed' event that makes you re-jig your diary to be sure you can get along.

New connections, new ideas and new insights

Each year we have aimed to build on the year before and bring in topics and speakers that people tell us they want to hear.

This year, I am so proud of what we've put together and I can't wait to hear the buzz of excitement in the room and see people gathering valuable new connections, new ideas and insights and more knowledge on where to get practical help and support to grow their business. If you're sold on the idea already, you can book your ticket online here.

For starters, we are delighted that the conference will be officially opened by Mike Cherry, national chairman of the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB). Mike and his team lobby Parliament for changes that benefit all small businesses and the self-employed. They have been running a host of important campaigns including ending late payment, saving free-to-use cashpoints from closure and pushing the case for what small businesses need when we leave the EU. Mike also runs a family business in Burton-on-Trent, so has a special insight into our local business community.

Thanks go to the FSB in Staffordshire and the West Midlands who have sponsored our conference this year.

The rest of the morning will see 20-minute presentations from eight great speakers.

  • Bassit Siddiqui is one of the stars of TV's Gogglebox. He is also a former teacher now running his own successful company, Siddiqui Education, which encourages children to learn and looks at how to raise aspirations and ambitions. He will look at how businesses can continue to use education as a way of growing their business.  He said: “It is fantastic to be part of this year’s conference. Education is such an important part of my life and I am very passionate about its role in supporting business growth.  My experiences with Gogglebox and teaching have played a huge part in helping me form the skills needed to run my own business. I believe that, at any age, if you have the confidence to give something a go you can achieve so much.”
  • Dr Philip Clarke is a performance psychologist who works with elite athletes being supported by the Derbyshire Institute of Sport to become world-class and future Olympians and Paralympians. He knows a lot about the psychology behind high-performance, the success mindset and why athletes and business people may falter and miss their goals.  He is a lecturer at the University of Derby and knows about endurance and resilience because he was part of the "Run for Cancer" team which ran  417 miles across Ireland in 13 days.

How to turn a NO into a YES

  • Ian Preston is a leading business coach and trainer who has led high-performing sales teams and trained and coached many teams and individuals over 30-plus years. He has a particular interest in the art, science and psychology of selling. Ian said: “Selling is a skill like any other. It needs familiarity with the requirements and lots of practice to be proficient at it.” He’ll be looking at issues including, how to turn a NO into a YES! - and how to prevent a NO in the first place - and what to say when someone says ‘It’s too expensive’.
  • Sarah J Naylor is a successful businesswoman, author and coach who has helped many people to transform their lives and careers. She will be sharing her three key steps to business success in a talk called Aligning Your Visions With Growth. She will discuss a range of tools and techniques that she has used over the years, demonstrating how these have worked for her. Sarah said: “If you are already self-employed, or run your own business, or if you are just considering taking the plunge then please come along and be inspired by some fresh ideas or the kick you need to create your vision and make it a reality.”

Raising external finance for your business

  • Kevin Caley began his career as an engineer in the Midlands car industry and used his MBA to get into early stage venture capital. In November 2009, at the height of the banking crisis, Kevin established the world’s first peer-to-peer platform specialising in making secured business loans. Called ThinCats, it allowed private investors to lend directly to businesses cutting out ‘fat cat’ bankers. He will explore with delegates the questions: Why would anyone want to invest in your business? Why would you want them to? Kevin will discuss the advantages and disadvantages of raising external finance and explain the differences between loans and equity. He will be highlighting the problems and the risks involved and suggesting ways to minimise them.
  • Karen Woolley is the FSB development manager for Staffordshire and the West Midlands and is responsible for supporting and protecting the needs of small businesses and engagement with key external stakeholders, MPs, the media and local authorities on small business issues. She works closely with a number of external organisations to help them to understand the barriers to growth faced by small businesses and is a member of a large number of working groups on issues such as skills, access to finance, export, business and cyber crime. She will signpost delegates to exactly where they can get practical help and support, depending on where the business is located.

Preparing for growth in the digital era

  • Joe Burns was just 21 when he co-founded a business that later sold for more than £1million. He is now managing director of management consultancy business 5bi and helps businesses become more efficient and secure by using automation tools and the right technology for their needs. He will share his motivational business story with delegates. He said: “I’m delighted to be speaking at this event and I will be sharing my insights into the highs and lows of growing a successful business, as well as giving some tips to prepare for growth in the modern, digital era.”
  • Tilley Bancroft is one of the founding members of the not-for-profit Burton Small Business group, an award-winning filmmaker and animator and project manager of the Burton Swans sculpture trail set to bring artists, businesses, community groups and the public together in 2020 for Burton's first outdoor public art trail. She has worked with private and public sector organisations and charities to create memorable marketing materials and brought her own particular style to the #BuckieLovesSmallBiz one-day tour of Burton when she was in the Small Business Saturday #SmallBiz100. She will talk about alternative marketing and how to be memorable and strike the right emotional notes with your ideal customers.

New venue - Repton School

This is the first year we have not held the conference in Burton. But we are just a few miles over the border in South Derbyshire at the historic Repton School. Our event will take place in the 400 Hall which has space for lots of delegates and it also enabled us to ask a local, small, independent business to provide the catering. 

A buffet networking lunch will be served between 1pm and 2pm by caterer Helen Wheat from Helen's Bakehouse and Tearooms in Burton Market Place. Helen worked for many years as a trader on the outdoor market before securing her own premises and creating several jobs for staff who provide breakfast, lunches and afternoon teas in a retro-style tearoom.

The 400 Hall allows us to have the facilities of a raised stage in the auditorium and also space to host a number of stands from business support organisations and businesses who support other businesses. Included in this small expo will be representatives from Derbyshire and Staffordshire Police, providing cybercrime advice, the local Chamber of Commerce and Growth Hub, business support experts Blue Orchid and networking group Derby Hub among others,

If you are ready to buy your ticket NOW, an early bird price of £20 (plus online booking fee) is available until October 7. The prices rises to £25 after October 7. Book online here

Why you should attend - and why we do it

I think that the key reasons you should attend are:
  • You will get ideas, inspiration and information from our speakers
  • You will get advice from our business stands
  • You will come away with new connections from our speakers, those on the information stands and other delegates.
  • It's a valuable day OUT of your business working ON your business
  • Helen does a GREAT buffet
So why do we give up our time to put on this event (and others) as Burton Small Business? Basically, it is back to spotting gaps in the provision of events for local businesses and stepping in to create events WE would want to attend and which we believe would help us in our day jobs.

We also believe that when local businesses grow and prosper we ALL benefit. Small businesses are the heart, spine and soul of our local communities. They give back to their local communities and support our local economies. You will all have seen the stats showing that when you buy from a small, independent business, more of each pound you spend stays in the local economy.

We all love being part of the Burton and Derby small business community and we want to do our bit to see it rise to even greater heights.

My thanks to the BusinessGrowth2019/Burton Small Business team: Cheryl Morris (Creative Word PR); Tilley Bancroft (Red Door Studios), Karen Woolley (FSB), Mike Byrne (Blue Orchid) and Owen Conti (Code 56).