I once asked a successful business owner which was the best type of customer.  The answer was “a client who is experiencing growth”*.

But how can business owners find or switch-on “growth”? Lots of companies want it, but not all attain it. If it was easy to achieve, then everyone would be at it.

In my conversations with various different individuals involved in the Local Enterprise Partnerships, I’m convinced that a good place for business leaders to kick-start their journey to growth is have a chat to someone from their local LEP. Growth needs planning, and in my observation, the LEPs can buy you some precious time for this important activity.

LEPs only exist in England, but if your business has an idea for growth, there’s a good chance that someone in your local LEP has a scheme that could help support your ambition. This could be financial support, but not necessarily so. That first conversation could save you some time and hassle.

This endorsement isn’t entirely altruistic. To plan growth, and make a good impression on the funders, lenders and investors, most businesses would benefit from external support. That’s where I and my AW colleagues can assist.

Our Corporate Finance team know how to find the best kind of finance for a business. Our Tax consultants can ensure that plans are managed in the most efficient way. Our “Blue” programme of strategic planning support can ensure that the business manages the demands that growth places on a business.

Here in Leeds, I’d recommend Start-up organisations talk to Lisa Whalley, and established companies talk to Amrit Choda, Mel Parker or David Baggaley of the SME Growth team.  For companies that need micro-funding, I’d recommend speaking with Jeremy Meadowcroft at BEFund.

There are lots of others who can help (Nicki Hudson at the Skills Service). The important thing is that you work what you want to achieve, and then ask how that objective might be supported through their pre-planned programmes. It’s out there and available to all.

If you’d like some recommendations for other geographical areas, or advice about how to plan for growth in your organisation, please call me for a chat.

* Many people might say that the best customer is the one who pays on time, and whilst that’s undoubtedly true, the individual in question was from an earlier generation. A generation that didn’t rely on credit to the extent that we do, nor the supply chain bullying that, in my humble opinion, blights our age.  Paying on time wasn’t the scale of issue for this individual that it is now.