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Growing your business

Use the expertise of your local universities 

As well as training and education that ranges from short courses to professional qualifications, they offer consultancy, subsidised access to university experts via Knowledge Transfer Partnerships and student and graduate placements. They can help you develop yourself, your people, your products and your services.

Find out more about your local university services for business development

Take on an apprentice

There are incentives for taking on an apprentice aged 16 to 24 provided you haven't employed an apprentice in the last 12 months and you need financial help to take on one. You could be eligible for a £1,500 grant. For more information go to National Apprenticeships. Apprenticeships come in three levels, intermediate, advanced and higher. There are two ways to recruit. You can work with a learning provider (college or training organisation) or you can open a position within your organisation and advertise it. Employers are only responsible for paying the salary (which varies according to level) as the government funds the apprentice's studies. For a quick overview see the realbusiness guide.

Look for training courses

ManagersPitStop offers free online management training in the Gatwick Diamond - there are dozens of topics to choose from in relation to managing people, recruiting people and coaching people.

Use the national mentor scheme

The National Web Portal - www.mentorsme.co.uk - providings mentoring for people growing their business.

Meet others in the same situation 

Networking will help you to meet people and create new opportunities for your business. Most will have membership fees but you may also be able to attend individual events for a one off fee. Many offer breakfast meetings with invited speakers. Networking events for the Gatwick Diamond area include:

  • Getting Business Done for the Gatwick Diamond is the largest networking group in the area and is a leading voice for business and commerce in Sussex and Surrey.
  • Federation of Small Businesses for Surrey and West Sussex - the FSB organises local networking events aimed at small businesses. The links to local councils are useful.
  • Chambers of Commerce
  • LinkedIn is an onlinetool that enables you to access and build work-related networks. Basic membership if free but you can pay for enhanced membership.  

Sales, marketing and advertising to get the word out 

  • Bytestart sales and marketing guides for small businessesare free and cover aspects of selling and marketing your new business, from winning new customers to getting mentioned in the press and on the web.
  • Use Twitter as a marketing tool - it's free. The Twitter help centre has advice about the basics and how to maximise the benefits.

 

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