The Mind Your Own Business (MYOB) programme, which launched ealier this month at The Old Hall at the Cotton Exchange, continued with the second of four events.
Around 40 delegates assembled at the venue, which will be home to all four of the MYOB events, for the second offering ‘Growing Pains’ – a no-nonsense, jargon free advice session for small and growing businesses, facilitated by The North West Fund, Morecrofts Solicitors, Lloyds Banking Group, Seneca Partners and P3 People.
Stephen Molyneux (pictured), Investment Executive at The North West Fund kicked off the proceedings with a powerful by telling people about the funding that is available for businesses right now. He said:
“The North West Fund provides finance from £50,000 to £2m for businesses based in, or relocating to the North West of England to start, develop and grow. Currently, we have only invested around 22% of available finance in Merseyside, and we’re keen to continue to engage businesses who fit the criteria and are looking to lend.”
Carl Hall, Commercial Manager at Lloyds Banking Group followed, and reiterated the messaged that finance was available through the banks too. He said:
“Statistics suggest that seeing your bank manager is perceived as being almost as scary as visiting your dentist, but it really needn’t be the case.
“Lloyds Banking Group is open for business. We’re ready and keen to engage with businesses looking to borrow, and there is finance available if the proposition is right.”
Alex Dymock from Seneca Partners, an independent investment management and corporate advisory business for SMEs, supported presentations from funders, saying:
“The UKs position in terms of accessing finance is no different to what it was fifteen years ago, it is only really perceptions that have changed. Finance is still available, it’s just not always necessarily through the banks. I think that what we need to work on changing people’s mind-sets and educating people on the different ways of raising funds for business and enterprise.”
Donal Bannon from Morecrofts solicitors offered some more practical advice to business owners, warning delegates of issues to consider when launching or growing a business, covering areas of law including leasing, letting and sub-letting as well as parting company. There was one thing he made abundantly clear though, whether dealing with clients or customers
“Always have your terms and conditions reviewed by a solicitor,” he urged, “I can’t stress how important that is to preventing stumbling blocks when growing your business.”
Charlotte Gallagher from P3 People closed the session with a candid and dynamic take on recruitment, which is so often considered the biggest risk by small business owners. Charlotte indicated treatment of staff and succession planning was key to driving a successful workforce and realising employee potential.
“Your wouldn’t buy a car and leave it on the drive to rust,” she proposed, “so why not treat the same investment you make with your staff with the same level of care?”
“It’s so important to look after your staff, get to know them, their strengths and their ambitions. You and I as employers have all developed through the ranks, give the people you employ the opportunity to do the same.”
Using a zebra on a motorbike adage, Charlotte urged employers to realise the potential in their staff, and ensure that they were giving them all that they needed to truly excel.
The Growing Pains session was part of a series of events that aim to equip small business owners with honest and easy-to-implement hints and tips to grow and develop. Supported by The North West Fund and the Another Level project from Smaller Earth Group, there are two events still to follow later this month and early next, that will address retail and marketing respectively.
Liverpool John Moores University, Morecrofts Solicitors and The City Central BID have also backed the events, and will take a role in facilitating the remaining two events on Thursday 26th June and Thursday 3rd July.