Beyond: Sustainable growth on your terms
It's been 6 months since Beyond, Gather's bespoke programme for ambitious leaders launched. But what’s it all about? We caught up with Project Director Claire Lewis to get the lowdown and how to apply for those final spaces:
Who is Beyond for?
It’s for leaders in the Liverpool City Region who want to scale their business. The business must be in the creative, digital or tech space, have ten or more employees, and, although you don’t need to be in a period of growth right now, you need to have the ambition to step things up. We also have some wild card spaces so if you don’t quite meet this criteria get in touch for a chat with the team.
What will businesses get?
Beyond is 6 months of dedicated support, focused on your business' specific challenges and opportunities. Every business has different needs, so this isn’t about a programme that’s already been pre-designed, with Beyond you’ll get to work with a dedicated growth consultant to co-create the support, so it’s tailored and focused for you. Plus access to an experienced executive coach will help you to lead well and take care of yourself through the journey.
Who are the growth consultants?
We’ve got a great mix of consultants lined up on Beyond, experienced leaders who have been there and done it: branding experts, innovation specialists, consultants who have built creative agencies, have experience of preparing a business to be acquired or accessing growth funding. We’ll help leaders identify their most important focus and pair them with a consultant who can help them achieve their goals.
How will the coaching element of Beyond help leaders?
The best leaders are those who are self-aware, exercise emotional intelligence and are balanced and resilient. A coach provides a confidential sounding board and can support leaders to work on things like dealing with stress and becoming a better leader. Today more than ever we are dealing with so much of the unknown and a coach can really help you navigate challenges and get you on top of your game.
What kinds of challenges can Beyond help with?
Beyond is designed to support you with what you’re dealing with right now. After application leaders will go through a discovery phase where we’ll look at all aspects of the business – team, finance, strategy, marketing, culture, operations, product and services, and look at where there is a real call for focus. Then, whatever it is – getting equity funding, preparing to enter a new market, growing your team, launching a new product – we’ll develop bespoke support to steer you through the challenges and opportunities.
Are there any common challenges you’re seeing in the Gather community at the moment?
While each business has distinct needs, the challenge of the return to office is a common one. Post covid and post Brexit, the world is moving into a new phase with hybrid working the norm and it’s challenging the culture of many organisations. How to retain talent is a huge task and lots of businesses are looking at how they can create an environment that people want to stay in. There are so many questions and there is no one size fits all approach, it’s a real challenge – especially as many businesses are trying to get back on their feet still.
How is the general feeling in the Gather community as we enter this new phase?
While everyone’s facing different challenges and different opportunities, many businesses we are speaking to right now are very positive. I think that’s testament to the strong entrepreneurial spirit in the city – it’s a resilient, pragmatic, but optimistic community, and the majority of founders and leaders we’re talking to are in a positive place and looking to move their business on to the next stage.
The final word: what would you say to someone who is considering applying for Beyond?
Do it! It’s an opportunity to step out of your comfort zone, to look at what might be possible for your team, for your business, for you as a leader and to identify and go for opportunities that you might not have seen before – or to break through what seem like intractable challenges. It is a commitment, for you and your team, but the value you’ll get back from that time investment will be tenfold.
Apply for Beyond
Beyond is open for applications for our remaining spaces. The programme is part-funded by the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority with over £20,000 worth of consultancy for just £2,500. Find out more about the programme or contact the Gather team to explore how Beyond and the Gather community can support you.