A Shropshire business is expanding thanks to help from a new Peer Network programme supported by the Marches Local Enterprise Partnership.
Oswestry marketing agency Martin & Jones Marketing has taken on two part-time members of staff as part of a new business plan developed with the support of the Peer Network programme.
Business owner Ruth Martin said the programme had been an invaluable help in recruiting the new staff and developing the business structure to support them.
The networks bring together businesses to share knowledge and experience, help each other tackle common challenges and also take advantage of potential opportunities.
Three providers have run five group programmes across the Marches LEP area, offering 18 hours of group interaction and 3.5 hours of one-to-one support with a business expert who also facilitates the sessions.
Ruth, whose company works with a growing portfolio of clients, said the scheme had been a huge success for everybody in her group.
“I joined the scheme because I wanted to take on two new members of staff. We work remotely and I wanted some ideas about how to make sure they understood the company’s culture and how to develop targets for them.
“My colleagues on the group come from a wide range of businesses and their insight and knowledge was invaluable. They were able to help me come up with a definitive set of values for the company, a ‘rules of the game’ statement and some probing questions for the interviews. It was a massive help in the recruitment process.
“In return, I was able to share some of my marketing expertise with the group and give them tips and advice for their own businesses.”
Ruth’s programme was overseen by business consultant Chris Gough, of the IBD Business Advice Group, who helped her draw up performance targets for both the new recruits and the business itself. Chris was supported by colleagues Simon Rowland-Jones, Steve Allen and Chai Uawithya.
“Chris has been absolutely brilliant and the whole programme just fantastic. Having the experience of the whole group to draw on as well as Chris’s business expertise has made a huge difference to my business.”
Chris said the programme had brought together a wide range of businesses who each had a specific challenge they wanted addressing.
“We then open that up to the group so that they can share their own experiences and give any advice or support they have to offer. The sharing of common problems and their possible solutions, using the Action Learning methodology, has been a really powerful part of the programme and we’ve also seen new contacts and business relationships develop which will last far beyond the programme itself.
“All the group members say they want to remain in touch and continue working together and supporting each other, with some saying the sessions have been the highlight of their week.”
The programme was funded by the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) with the Marches LEP appointing the delivery partners.