Real business stories

Find out how a wide variety of UK businesses are tackling the issues, problems and challenges central to business improvement.

We've spoken to leaders who have taken the steps to improve their businesses and, in each case, provided three key takeaways to shape your own efforts.

We encourage you to use them as the inspiration to kickstart your own improvement efforts, taking their experience and shaping the right change for your business

  • Avoid common pitfalls by learning from the experience of others who have been there before
  • Find out how your peers worked through similar problems – each story has three key takeaways
  • Read stories from businesses in the same sector or size as you

A £4 toothbrush sparked an idea to delight customers

The Old Mill House has taken an everyday frustration and turned it into a moment of delight with a simple but wonderfully effective intervention.

A creative approach to sustainability keeps customers coming back

Aside from helping to lower costs, reducing waste in an interesting way can be a talking point that keeps customers coming back through the door.

A finger on the pulse

Wonder Vision is a CGI production studio in Henley-on-Thames set up by James Elderton and Joe Thomas. They brought in a new HR system to help them engage with employees and build the culture they wanted to create

A great culture doesn’t mean blowing the budget

The average full-time British employee will spend over 3,500 days at work during their lifetime, so it’s vital that business leaders promote and encourage a healthy and happy working culture to keep staff motivated during working hours.

A hands-off approach to leadership empowers staff to make decisions and innovate

Employees that are empowered to make decisions are more productive, loyal and happier. That's exactly what Pete Fraser has done at his restaurant, Harbour Lights.

A local partnership created a cost-effective marketing opportunity

Set up by Adam Kesacoff, fledgling barbeque brand The Aussie Smoker faced the challenge of building its presence in the South West.

A Siemens business mentor re-united our family firm behind the same vision

Family-run Carrs Pasties has been manufacturing baked goods for over 80 years, but for brothers Matt, Joe and Liam, taking over hasn’t been straightforward.

A strong digital presence has never been more important

As Integrated Estate Management has shown, building a good digital presence has increased brand awareness, demonstrated trust and, ultimately, generated new business.

The benefits of swiping right

Be the Business Boards helped Glider Technology focus and prioritise, and catalysed a funding round that has put wind under its wings.

An easier way

Outdoor provisions make all natural energy bars in plastic-free compostable wrappers for people who love to get outdoors. As a young start-up, they use technology to help them move quickly and punch above their weight

An incredible multifaceted learning experience

A driving force for senior leaders joining the Be the Business Boards programme is their desire to share their own experience to help small businesses to grow.

Base your health and wellbeing strategy on people, not theories

Poor mental health and stress are two of the top causes of long-term absence. Having a health and wellbeing strategy in place is one step towards supporting your employees and creating a motivated and productive workforce.

Be honest and keep it simple when communicating financial performance to staff

Communicating financial information with non-finance staff can be a daunting prospect. However, Charlie HR has shown it can build trust, inspire innovation and boost sales.

Be pragmatic about technology to align investments with business needs

Translation service Locale used customer feedback to kickstart its thinking about new developments and ensure they fit genuine business needs.

Being a mentor has helped me keep my ideas fresh

During his time as a mentor, BAE Systems’ Pete Boddy has been impressed by each company's hunger to learn – and they've given him inspiration for his own work too.

Being accountable was exactly the kind of challenge I needed

As a business leader who operated at a mile a minute, a mentor made Jo Scott accountable and encouraged her to slow down and look at her company objectively, rather than emotionally.

Being the CEO of a growing business can be a very lonely place

Rapid growth and multiple opportunities might sound like a great combination for an ambitious SME chief executive. But Adam Watts, CEO of EFT Group, knows that having the right people, doing the right things, is essential for success.

Brand advocacy is built on a personal connection with the business

Successful companies know that an effective brand puts you head and shoulders above the competition. And, there’s no better advocates for your brand than those who live and breathe it every day – your employees.

Bringing the best people onboard

Success for any business depends a lot upon the strength of its employees, so hiring the right people at the right time is essential.

Build a business network for mutually beneficial relationships and fresh perspectives

Building a business network in the hospitality industry has been essential in turning around the fortunes of Cornwall pub and hotel, The Norway Inn.

Building new revenue streams around your point of difference

Thinking differently helped lure some of the thousands of people who visit Britain’s most southerly point to Tregullas Farm.

Business books are no substitute for talking to someone who has done it

Anton Hanley is ambitious and eager to learn from others who’ve trodden a similar path. The Mentoring for Growth programme proved to be an invaluable experience.

Businesses must adapt internal processes based on cultural shifts

Identifying cultural shifts and adapting internal processes has been a winning strategy for Dice, a Nottingham-based engineering consultancy.

Chance & Counters: Building a team that complements your business vision

Find out how Chance & Counters turned a simple idea into a phenomenally popular concept that’s booked up weeks in advance by thinking long and hard about who it hired.

Check technology meets your standards before automating processes

Animation business leader Peter Saunders shares the research he did before automating a process and the impact new technology has had.

Collaboration gives Toast Ale’s small team the scale to tackle the food waste epidemic

Toast Ale is a brewery on a mission to reduce food waste by using surplus bread to brew its beer. Find out how founder Louisa Ziane built the business.

Comprehensive research is the key to creating a hyper-relevant offering

Talking to clients and looking at products offered by competitors and companies in related sectors helped PracticeWeb’s lead generation grow exponentially.

Conducting market research led to new export opportunities

Discovering new customers to target requires research, but Ask Mummy & Daddy quickly realised the importance of being realistic about the time and money you can afford to invest.

Considering new technology? Be curious and experiment

A curious approach to adopting technology has played a big role in helping evaporative cooler manufacturer EcoCooling expand by 150-200 per cent year-on-year for the last decade.

Could you be the mentor someone’s looking for?

Experienced mentor Keith Softly tells us all about how mentoring works, what’s involved and why he believes other senior managers should get involved.

Creating a community helped us tackle hospitality’s notorious turnover problem

Few challenges in business are more disruptive than high staff turnover. We spoke to one business leader who has taken action to retain staff.

An authentic vision and willingness to learn turned Creative Nature into a multi-million-pound brand

Creative Nature is committed to producing superfoods that are free from the top 14 allergens. That drive has helped turn the company from struggling with debt to a multi-million-pound turnover.

Customer feedback is a powerful tool to inform your business plan

Customer feedback has been an important part of the business plan for distillery and visitor attraction, Cotswolds Distillery.

Customer feedback is essential for product development and future improvement

Customer feedback should be an essential part of product development — before and after launch. Hearing what customers think offered Trunki valuable insight into whether products were meeting expectations.

It's The Small Things podcast: Dan Black, founder, Black + Blum

Doing less but doing it better has been transformational for product design company Black + Blum, seeing it increase turnover and reach new customers.

Data provides a foundation for better decision making

Technology has helped businesses like Housekeep collect data from multiple sources and collate it into usable information.

It's The Small Things podcast: Dave Pickard, co-founder, London Sock Company

Selling online is hard, but it's something Dave Pickard and his business, London Sock Company, have made great progress in. Find out what's worked.

David and Goliath: Ariel Motor Company has succeeded by staying small

Creating world-beating products as a small business isn’t easy. For Ariel Motor Company, an artisanal approach and uncompromising ethos has helped the team take on the industry’s heavyweights.

Delegation empowers staff and allows business leaders to focus on growth

Giving staff autonomy and accountability has been pivotal in the growth of Left Handed Giant, a Bristol-based beer brewing business.

Develop a data collection process to inform your business strategy

For Empire Engineering, changing the way it collected data on potential clients has been critical in helping the company survive tough economic times.

Develop a process for identifying the right tech for your business

At RapidSpike, CEO Gav Winter ensures possible new technology investments answer at least one of four key questions if they are to be taken forward.

Developing good lines of communication throughout your business

Communication, communication, communication. It’s a buzz word that many of us might disregard, but in actual fact, communication is key to the success of many businesses.

Do you know the difference between asynchronous and synchronous workplace communication?

The speed of doing business and remote working have meant that companies are increasingly relying on non-real-time communication. But does this mean businesses might be missing out on the benefits of more traditional connections?

Do your research before investing in new tech

Get technology investment right and the benefits can be huge. The wrong choice, however, can waste money and hinder growth. See how Dunsters Farm approached the process.

Doing one thing well helped Black+Blum double revenue in two years

A combination of leadership self analysis, product optimisation and team empowerment has helped Black+Blum take big strides forward in the last year. Founder Dan Black explains more.

Double-down on employee engagement during difficult times

Employee engagement is rooted in culture and communication. How leaders engage with staff on a daily basis can have a huge impact on performance and productivity across the business.

Effective people management is key to safeguarding your business

Safeguarding a business and the quality of products or services being provided is critical to financial security, as telemarketing firm Konnexx proves.

Employee insight is an essential part of business planning

Inviting employees to share their ideas is an essential part of business planning for recruitment agency EA Change.

Empower your staff with motivating career paths

Few workers want to be confined to one role for the whole of their careers, so the ability to progress within a company is key if an employer wants to both attract new recruits and keep long-standing members of staff.

Extend performance management to contractors to get the best results

For performance management to be effective, everybody needs to be working within that framework. Managers should have the same goal setting processes – and there’s an opportunity to involve team members that aren’t permanent employees too.

External agencies can deliver immediate expertise and fast results

An external agency helped Maxwell Scott double revenue, but software company Softwire warns SMEs to only trust results.

Extract Coffee Roasters forged strong customer relationships by sharing expertise

We took a tour of Extract's roastery with co-founder Dave Faulkner to find out how the business has stayed on top for more than a decade.

You’ll “fall flat on your face” if you fail to grasp the financial side of the business

It took a number of set backs and "wish I'd known" moments before Rob Stone truly realised the importance of having a firm grasp of his company's financials,

Find a CRM system that delivers value for your business

After implementing two unsuitable CRM systems, rural recruitment agency Fortem People learned to approach technology investments much more strategically.

Find out exactly what incentives your people are driven by. Then you’ll get the best results

Thinking creatively, businesses from all corners of Britain have introduced work incentives both big and small to keep staff motivation high. Each have learnt that the more inspired a workforce is the more productive they tend to be.

Find the right technology by testing and learning quickly

For snacks business Outdoor Provisions, adopting the right technology has allowed the company to scale quickly, keep costs down and manufacture sustainably.

Focusing on the big picture is key for scaling successfully

Looking for signs of growth and planning thoroughly has been essential to scaling up Woky Ko, a Bristol-based restaurant.

Get your fingers burned

Tom Simmonds has always invested in technology. As the Chief Executive of AllSaved, a fire safety business, he brought in a project management system which helped his people focus on what they do best and opened up a route to scalable growth

Getting the best from your staff, every time

Appraisals are an important part of both employee and business development, so it’s vital that these meetings are productive for all involved.

Getting the most out of your best people

You utilise hours and numerous resources to track down the best people for your vacancies, but once you’ve found them, how do you ensure that you get the most out of your latest employee?

Good communication and customer focus transformed Origin into a £40m business

Origin COO Victoria Brocklesby shares how a pioneering approach to customer service, good internal communication and an ethos of always listening to staff ideas has transformed Origin.

Help your staff with upskilling or they’ll look elsewhere

By helping staff achieve their working ambitions, companies that prioritise the upskilling of current and new employees find that staff stay longer and can help boost overall productivity.

How a bakery’s pandemic response drove its longer-term evolution

While most businesses had to adapt when coronavirus hit, for one particular bakery it opened the door to a new way of operating and changed its future strategy.

How David Gandy-backed London Sock Company conquered the menswear market

Focusing on providing one product exceptionally well, London Sock Company is a great example of a digital-first business staying close to its customer and building sensibly.

How ethical values helped this Cornish surf brand make waves

For Finisterre, a Cornish surf brand, ethical values aren't just a moral question – its values helped shape its unique selling point (USP).

How one accidental business leader learnt to successfully guide her company

When Little Soap Company became a high street brand, CEO Emma Heathcote-Jones became an accidental business leader and had to learn to lead fast.

How six businesses are deciding what future office spaces should look like

With mandated home working forcing many companies into a unique situation, find out how business leaders are using factors such as employee sentiment and data to shape decisions around the future of workspaces.

How to effectively use the Kickstart Scheme to boost your company’s skills and people power

The government’s Kickstart Scheme can provide useful extra skills and staffing, but only if you know how to approach it correctly.

How to foster staff loyalty in a constantly shifting job market

With the working life dramatically upended by the coronavirus pandemic and the war for talent hotting up, more employees than ever are looking to make a move. Here’s how SME owners can improve staff loyalty.

How to work with staff to create and codify company values

Find out how defining and codifying the company's unique culture helped retain staff and drive business forward at Extract Coffee.

I became proactive, rather than reactive

Using the experience of a supportive business mentor gave Sam Marriott-Dowding the framework to work on his business, rather than just in it, and by the end of his 12-week programme he had won three new clients.

I felt like I was in my dad’s shadow

Joining the Be the Business Mentoring programme helped Liz Smith finally get comfortable in her leadership role at family firm LG Davis.

I gained different perspectives from people who aren’t in my industry

Always looking for new ways to grow and learn, Victor joined the Be the Business board programme to gain a new perspective on his business.

I knew marketing, but finance and logistics were way out of my comfort zone

With overseas orders making up around 30 per cent of its sales, sportswear brand Just Strong has built up a global presence – but founder Mark Robinson needed extra support to get a handle on the logistics.

Identify future skills to stay competitive in business

Determining the skills DMA Group needed, and then and being agile enough to bring them in, has helped to set the business apart of the pack.

Bringing experts on board to identify the gaps in your business

After launching TutorHive in 2020, Rushab Shah realised that there were gaps in his business and sought out the Be the Business Boards programme.

Identify the right people to manage your growing business by hiring for culture, not skills

Identifying people to manage a growing business is a make-or-break moment. Get it right and, like Patient Choice has found, the positive impact will be exponential.

I’m indebted to the board for their help

Helen Tanner’s company has embarked on a new phase of growth, after amending its sales and marketing strategy on the advice of a Be the Business board.

I’m making quicker decisions now

When Chris Mayne stepped into a leadership role at navigation engineering company Forsberg, a mentor helped him introduce new ideas to the business.

I’m sharing info with my advisory board that has never left the business

With ambitious growth plans of 20 per cent a year, Hydraulics Online are using an advisory board made up of experienced business leaders to mark a clear route.

Impact of Be the Business Mentoring programme

In business, you don’t know what you don’t know

Having previously gone it alone and firmly embraced trial and error, Anton Peruga has discovered the power of having access to a pool of like-minded professionals through our Boards programme.

Investing in your business is the key to a lasting future

Before taking the plunge and investing in the business, Notepad planned thoroughly, know its finances and set clear goals.

It has helped us deal with problems in a completely different way

Jilbruke and Jenner Collins have big plans, but their focus on engineering challenges had blinded them to the commercial aspects of their business.

It’s a way of paying back

When he took on a Be the Business advisory board role, Neil Douglas wanted to “give something back” – but there have been plenty of other benefits.

It’s been like a top-level coach working with a top-level sportsman

When Andrew Connors started mentoring Rupert Cross at the end of 2019, neither of them knew just what a challenging time lay ahead.

It's The Small Things podcast: Simon Saunders, owner and director, Ariel Motor Company

Ariel Motor Company’s cars have appeared on Top Gear and outperformed Ferraris and Lamborghinis. We joined founder Simon Saunders to go behind the scenes.

It's The Small Things podcast

“It’s The Small Things” is a Be the Business podcast providing the inspiration small and medium-sized companies need to take an iterative approach to business improvement.

It’s win win: the best possible outcome for both company and board

Advisory boards can have a powerful effect on small, fast-growing businesses. Enable Manufacturing is a case in point.

I’ve built a road into the future

Laura North's mentor has helped her become more efficient and effective, freeing her up to concentrate on sustainable growth – and to develop a healthy work-life balance.

I’ve now got a platform for our next stage of growth

Bethan Thomas was struggling to manage her company’s rapid growth with a small team. With help from a mentor she gained a more strategic focus and delivered impressive results.

I’ve now got goals designed to be realistic and achievable

Utilising a mentor has helped Mildred Talabi solidify and flesh out her goals – breaking the big ambition down into yearly objectives that are bite-sized, manageable and achievable chunks.

It's The Small Things podcast: Julianne Ponan, owner and CEO, Creative Nature

CEO Julianne was driven to create delicious free-from products because she suffers from anaphylaxis and was frustrated by the lack of products on the market.

Keeping loyal customers is the key to long-term success

A focus on retaining customers has improved customer retention at Birmingham-based Time etc and London-based Disciple Media.

Learn from competitors to avoid mistakes and spot opportunities

Learning from competitors is vital to avoiding mistakes and identifying gaps in the market for Freda, an ethical sanitary product business.

Left Handed Giant shows why hiring for attitude over aptitude really does work

Filling the business with people directly qualified for the job is relatively simple. Hiring those who live and breathe the company's values is more difficult, but can be truly transformative.

It's The Small Things podcast: Louisa Ziane, co-founder and COO, Toast Ale

Founder Louisa has developed its brand and built a framework for making changes and evaluating their impact as the business has grown.

Make employee mental health and wellbeing a key component of your strategy

The positive impact of strong mental health and wellbeing initiatives is well documented, yet many leaders wait too long to implement a clear strategy in their organisation.

Mentoring felt almost like business therapy

Despite a career that included lots of great experience, Nicola Seferta realised extra support was needed in order to get stuck into a new role.

Mentors have to be able to ask difficult questions

Like most businesses, was unprepared for the scale of the coronavirus crisis. Luckily, managing director Neil Adley had the support of a mentor to help him find a way forward.

My board gave me confidence that I’d been making the right decisions

Language school owner Val Hennessy is rebuilding the business after lockdown, boosted by the validation of a Be the Business board.

My board helped fill the gaps in my business

Advice from Swati’s board members helped fill the gaps in her business, as well as implement changes that led to a five-fold increase in turnover.

My board helped me to find my confidence as a business owner

Nathan’s board members helped him put in place some business basics, and find a renewed confidence in himself and his company.

My board helped me to turn my mission into a real business

Engage Transform founder Yemi explains how her Be the Business board helped turn her vision of a diverse workforce into a successful recruitment business.

My board opened up opportunities and helped me become a better leader

Support from board members allowed Janine to become a better business leader, and also opened up doors to countless new opportunities.

My mentor challenged me in a good way, like a critical friend

While mentoring is a great way for business leaders to sense check the big decisions they have to make it is also very helpful to set a founding strategy, as Meena Anand found out.

My mentor helped bring the jigsaw pieces together

While Jackie Dearden had the ambition to embed sustainable ways of working, it took a mentor connection to bring it to life and start seeing the benefits.

My mentor helped provide clarity to get my voice out there

Christiana had so many ideas and so many questions, that she needed help to focus and prioritise. Sarah Clout helped her to do that and more!

My mentor provided a vital sounding board for my business

Amanda Gordon used Be the Business’ Mentoring programme to help get her business off the ground.

My mentor’s experience gave me leadership confidence

When JPL Flavours started to take off, managing director Jake Lavelle realised he needed to take steps to improve his management skills and mindset.

My people management skills improved overnight

Denise Baurmann was struggling to work out how to move forward with technology at Fairmont Residential when a mentor stepped in to help.

My staff give me 200 per cent, so I need to give 1,000

Few sectors were hammered as hard by the pandemic as hospitality, but Elaine Clarke of Baa Bar is determined to put the industry's annus horribilis behind her and lead her team to new heights.

New ideas and a more diverse workforce will fuel growth

While the pandemic caught Slater Heelis off guard, it also provided an opportunity to make some important changes. Follow the law firm's story each month to track progress and improvement efforts.

One company changed its short- and long-term planning to survive and discovered new opportunities

The coronavirus pandemic threw the short- and long-term plans of most companies up in the air. Here’s how one turned the crisis into an opportunity to transform its planning.

One company’s experience of making virtual meeting technology really work

Struggling with virtual meetings and the challenges they present? Hear how one company has managed these issues and pivoted to make the most of working online.

Our mentor’s productivity improvements saved us time and money

Allsee Technologies managing director Baoli Zhao joined the Be the Business Mentoring programme to get advice with his expansion plans.

Our third CRM system

Having invested time, effort and money on two previous systems which proved unsuccessful, Jane Vincent, Director of Fortem People, decided to look for independent, external support to help her find the right CRM.

Outside perspectives helped us seize opportunities for improvement

Getting outside perspectives and focusing on learning has opened the eyes of leaders at Crowdcube and LG Davis to the untapped potential of the companies.

It's The Small Things podcast: Paul Kelly, owner, KellyBronze

Small changes like implementing a simple staff bonus scheme have proved transformational at turkey breeders KellyBronze, a family business proving you don't just have to take the old way of doing things as gospel.

Procorre built a global giant by reacting quickly and embracing change

Management consultancy Procorre has built a global presence by offering services in rapidly growing sectors like renewable energy and cybersecurity, and partnering with subject matter experts to bring senior expertise into the company. Procorre CEO Anne O’Donnell shares her secrets for staying ahead of the curve and why today’s leaders have to be comfortable with change.

Productivity can inspire the people that follow us

Experienced board member Simon Godfrey shares his approach to productivity and how he helps small business owners to improve.

Radical candour stops challenging situations becoming bigger issues

Managing challenging employees is one of the most daunting parts of being a leader. Employee engagement is easier when things are going swimmingly, but what do you do when there’s an issue?

How one manufacturing company is reaping rewards from its degree apprenticeship programme

Paul Wenham shares his experience on plugging the skills gap at Geometric Manufacturing through a new degree apprenticeship programme.

We’re having to ask customers for a forecast because we need to understand their needs

Allsee Technologies are specialists in digital signage, and while the business weathered the coronavirus pandemic reasonably well, a global parts shorting is now playing havoc with future planning.

It's been give with one hand, take with another

You would struggle to find an SME as proactive and committed to its future as Dunsters Farm, but the road out of the pandemic is still far from clear. Follow the company's progress each month.

Reengineering cash flow helped engineering firm bridge income periods

Evaluating the way it handled invoices meant a North West of England-based engineering business could bridge income periods, even out seasonality and achieve next day payment.

Relentless testing allowed Flight Club to reinvent an age-old sport and create a £30m business

The amount of moving parts that are involved in creating a seamless experience at Flight Club – from game animation to using hawk-eye-like technology – requires a relentless approach to implementation and improvement.

Remote working attracts better talent – and diversity of thought

Distributed workforces reduce costs, increase the pool of candidates and create a higher level of job satisfaction, but education and communication are key.

Resolving internal communication problems brings business benefits

Change can be the catalyst that challenges the existing ways companies communicate internally. Reboot Online made sure junior team members had the support they needed when working remotely.

Rising waste costs triggered a host of sustainable changes

The rising cost of commercial waste disposal has been the stimulus for CJ Bishop to take a fresh look at how her pub and restaurant operates.

Sales targets motivate staff and help businesses reach full potential

Sales targets are helping London-based jewellery business Taylor & Hart motivate staff and succeed in a highly competitive market.

Sharing financial performance with staff can lead to greater efficiency

Being open about financial reporting and using incentives tied to performance has helped Inn Cornwall build staff interest turnover and profit.

Shielding, but far from isolated from his team

Pub director Mark Holden turned to Be the Business when lockdown forced him to develop a new approach to leadership and communication.

Six heads are better than one

The Be the Business Boards programme is helping dynamic small businesses to meet challenges, manage growth and become even more successful.

Small things businesses can do when revenue falls

After a fall in revenue, small tweaks turned things around for Papersmiths, a chain of stationery stores in London and Brighton.

SMART goals provide motivation and direction with a clear yardstick of success

For Clownfish Events and Sift, the SMART concept is the cornerstone of successful goal setting – helping to provide provide motivation and direction.

Spark Sessions helped me validate approach during period of rapid change

Deciding it was time to take better care of herself, Spark Sessions gave Liz Smith a new approach to leadership that has been particularly effective during challenging times.

Staff perform better when they’re engaged with your company’s vision and values

Engaging staff with the company vision and values has driven significant improvements for both Snaffling Pig and Sellick Partnership.

Starting a business with one-to-one knowledge from an expert

Tamayo founder Morin used Be the Business’ Mentoring programme to navigate the transition from employee to business owner.

Stepping back from running your business frees you up to improve it

Great people and good processes allowed Bespoke HR MD Alison King to step back from running the business and be more strategic.

It's The Small Things podcast: Steve Moore, CEO, Flight Club

Flight Club is a business like no other. Blending slick hospitality with NASA-like technology, hear how CEO Steve Moore has developed a slick management and leadership structure that brings it all together.

Striking a balance between short and long-term business needs

Balancing short and long-term business needs is a common challenge for leaders. We spoke to a HR manager about how she makes it work.

Strong supplier relationships freed up funds to invest elsewhere

With over 100 pitches across five separate camping fields, Dennis Cove Campsite is always looking for creative ways to improve.

Success doesn’t have to be defined solely by your sales

Building an incentivised team and regularly reviewing KPIs helps Ocushield to not lose focus of what success means to the company.

Successfully applying peer learnings requires careful thought

Applying learnings from peers has been important for Creative Nature’s growth, but the application of ideas required careful thought.

Take a behind the scenes look at children's luggage business Trunki

Join us as we go behind the scenes with founder Rob Law to get an exclusive glimpse of Trunki's tried-and-tested design strategy and discover the secret sauce behind the company's trailblazing reputation.

The biggest benefit is their role as a sounding board

Buying out his angel investor just before the pandemic hit left Marcus Trofimov without his mentor at a crucial point in the company’s development.

The pandemic pushed us to innovate

After signing a lease on the premises two weeks before lockdown, The Steel Cauldron’s founders have used every trick up their sleeve to spread the word.

The scale of the task

Dunsters Farm is a third generation family business in Bury. After starting out in 1963 as a milkround it now offers a full food service

There is nothing I wouldn’t want another person to see – even a competitor

Cumbria bakery Ginger Bakers has been through a rollercoaster of highs and lows, but now founder Lisa Smith is back on track and ready to build.

They really took our challenges seriously

Working with a Be the Business board has forced the founders of Loom Digital to make time to work on their business as well as in it.

This kind of help will categorically help you run a better business

We took a trip to Spice Kitchen's distribution operations to find out how founder Sanjay Aggarwal has leveraged outside support to improve both his personal management abilities and the company's business plan.

This mentoring opportunity is like gold dust

When Glenn Bemment joined the Be the Business Mentoring programme he had no idea how much his conversations would help with his day-to-day job and personal development.

To have a business mentor of this standard is like a dream come true

When dance teacher Ella Mesma spotted a new opportunity, she sought out a mentor to help her develop the business skills she needed to launch.

It's The Small Things podcast: Tom Calver, director of Westcombe Dairy

Westcombe Dairy makes over a hundred tonnes of cheddar each year. Watch director Tom Calver talk about automating processes, driving change and what a typical day looks like.

Treat every new employee as a potential leader from day one

Nurturing junior employees to become future leaders not only helps to increase engagement and build solid teams, but it supports business growth in a stable, sustainable way.

Trusting staff with responsibility made productivity higher than ever

Trusting staff with responsibility has helped drive productivity and boost morale for Wolfestone Group, a Swansea translation services business.

Understanding what customers think you do can improve your messaging

Finding out what customers think they do best has been the key to making cleaning product manufacturer Fabulosa’s marketing work.

Use data to improve decision making at all levels of your business

Find out why Freespace CEO Raj Krishnamurthy believes that providing employees with a clear benefit is the best way to get them comfortable with using data.

Use new product innovation as a marketing tool to engage customers

Handcrafted cookware company Netherton Foundry gets ideas from customers and turns experiments into marketing opportunities.

Using social media to set up a celebrity-run event in five days

Social media might seem full of noise and hard to navigate. But it can be the gateway to opportunities and access to people previously out of reach.

It's The Small Things podcast: Victoria Brocklesby, COO, Origin

The second episode of this season of It’s The Small Things welcomes Origin co-founder and COO, Victoria Brocklesby. Along with her cousin, Neil Ginger, Victoria has built the bespoke window and door manufacturer into a £40m business.

Visiting another business inspired new ways of working

Using days out to show how bigger businesses operate has been eye opening for the team at forward-thinking pub and restaurant The Victoria Inn.

How an obsession with waste at Brompton Bicycle drove a five-fold increase in manufacturing capacity

Brompton Bikes offers a masterclass in reducing waste. MD Will Butler-Adams built capacity using every tactic available, from installing Raspberry Pi computers to personally taking parts out of the bin.

We didn’t want coronavirus to stop us in our tracks

When plans to develop its workforce looked to be derailed by coronavirus, consultancy CGA Strategy turned to our 12-week mentoring programme for support.

We have a better strategy now and better ideas about how to get there

Enable Manufacturing encouraged its Be the Business board to challenge its thinking. The result is a robust strategy that is playing well with investors.

We just took advantage of the demand for sofas!

When Keiran Hewkin launched Swyft, he was aiming to manufacture 15 sofas per week. Fast forward a year and weekly demand was more than ten times that.

We were suffering from growing pains

Growing a business requires adjustments to people and processes. Milexa managing director Richard Wilde brought in a mentor to manage the transition.

We're building foundations for the long term

Despite the pandemic severely hitting the UK's retail sector, Diamonds Factory positively thrived thanks to an existing and robust ecommerce platform.

We’re getting thousands of pounds-worth of expert advice for nothing

Working with a specialists through Be the Business Boards has delivered quick wins for CB Solutions in areas including recruitment and business continuity.

Westcombe Dairy – where traditional cheesemaking meets modern technology

Family business Westcombe Dairy is more than 100 years-old but its success today lies in its willingness to push past “the way things have always been done”.

What happens when your business plan runs off course?

A business plan is crucial to long-term success. Yet unexpected events can throw things off track. Here's what to do when things start going wrong.

It's The Small Things podcast: Will Butler-Adams, MD, Brompton Bicycle

The first episode of season two of It’s The Small Things welcomes Brompton Bicycle MD Will Butler-Adams. He built the business from 7,500 to 55,000 bikes a year with a relentless focus on cutting waste.

Work on your business – not in your business

Working on the business, not just in it, has been an essential learning for the leaders of All About The Cooks and Woky Ko.

Your story, not your timing, is key to securing funding

Young companies will often need to have a compelling story if investment to scale and grow is to be secured, as Huboo has demonstrated.

You’re never too senior or experienced to give something back

After 40 years in automotive manufacturing and in government, Lawrence Davies is sharing his experience through the Be the Business Boards programme.