I applied for the program as a business owner who recognises that to grow your business you have to be open to learning. Whilst I like to think I have learnt a lot about business since I started after leaving the military and I have many scars, I also believe that no one knows it all ! Therefore, having a mindset that is all about growth it seemed a great way to expand my knowledge and it is free.
Yes, its free ! There is an application process and you have to be selected and that famous saying “you get out what you put in” is very apt.
I personally think the program is a very good example of big business truly supporting and recognising the value of small business. Goldman Sachs have put their money where their mouth is here, and I think they should be applauded for this support. I’m sure it would have been easier to plant some trees or other such activity but in supporting small business they are actively looking to support the economy.
In essence you have circa 70 business owners who are all there to grow their business. The course is a mix of virtual and residential at the Said Business school in Oxford University. Unfortunately for our cohort (12), we got impacted by the COVID19 crisis and only manged one residential and had to complete the course fully online. This was a major disappointment for me as I felt I got the most value from the residential group activities and online is just not the same for me.
The business owners are from every sector and all over the UK and it never ceases to amaze me how much we all have in common. What is enlightening is the depth of skills, experience and ambition that are part of the cohort. Whilst the group members are all from very different business it is clear we all want to learn from the course and each other.
Some parts are more inclined to what you might already know as a business owner, but I can say with certainty you will learn something new from the course. I certainly learnt and I can not stress how useful it is to have other business owners in your growth groups (smaller groups of 6) that support each other during the course.
Whilst the course does have a great value, I think the key is that you have the right mindset from the outset, no one is going to tell you how to grow your business. It is up to you and it is how you choose (or not as the case maybe) on what to implement/change in your business. The guidance, education and tools that you use on the course are for you to use in the future.
In many ways I wish I had been on this course many years ago and not had to learn some very painful lessons along the business journey. It was refreshing to find a number of previous actions/decisions we had done as a business to survive in the past being part of the course program.
If I had any criticism, and you couldn’t possibly please everyone, it is that some elements of the course are too focused on elements that as business owners you should already understand. Growth is a very different stage in a business lifecycle, and we all approach it differently, but the basics shouldn’t be part of the course in my view.
It was a real shame we could not complete the course in person and virtual learning is not for everyone, but the question I would ask myself is “would I recommend the course to other business owners?” The simple answer is yes, I would.
CEO and founder, Stuart Mckean.