Digital Transformation Agency

I stepped away from my business for 3 months for Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses

By Tomasz Dyl | Managing Director

GottaBe!

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The Drum Network article

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August 11, 2022 | 6 min read

Marketers are always working under constant time constraints. GottaBe!’s managing director, Tomasz Dyl, shares why taking three months off to participate in the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses program was a vital use of his time.

GottaBe! reflect on participating in the Goldman Sachs’ 10K small business programme.

GottaBe! reflect on participating in the Goldman Sachs’ 10K small business programme.

In February, I stepped away from GottaBe! for 12 weeks to work on the business away from the business. Supported by the Goldman Sachs’ 10,000 Small Businesses program, I would spend the time identifying new growth opportunities and work out how we could scale up.

The pandemic affected all aspects of our industry and it’s not been an easy time for business leaders to review and analyze performance, or consider new ways to future-proof their business should another storm arise. But through this program, 2,000 others and I were able to do just that.

With so many agencies across the marketing communications and ad industry, we need to differentiate what we do and have a clear understanding of our purpose. The program highlights the necessary tools needed to deliver expected growth, while outlining a strategy to pursue.

The 10,000 Small Businesses program

The program really attracts the best of the best. Sessions are delivered by academics and industry professionals who genuinely want your business to succeed and are passionate about unlocking your growth potential. Most of the experts have previously been there and done that; started businesses and scaled them up, before exiting or handing them over to focus on something else.

The program’s thorough application process involves a written application and interview to whittle down applicants and ensure that all selected candidates can commit to the duration of the course. Of all the program’s participants, only 10,000 graduate - which is quite an honor, particularly as it’s held in the grounds of affiliate partner, the University of Oxford.

For managing directors, business owners and agency partners, the 12-week course helps identify your business’ USP and understand where there are areas for improvement.

Learning from your peers

Each cohort is made up of people from various industries. Some may be your competitors but within the structure of the program, you can learn from each other and understand your differences. My course contained fellow agency owners, like Quickfire Digital’s Nathan Lomax, Circus’ Jay Scott-Nicholls and CCgroup’s Richard Fogg.

We were reminded about the importance of supporting each other in this industry, through making invaluable connections both on the course and through the program’s alumni network, which provides ongoing support and various networking events with other like-minded people at different growth stages.

Structured to maximize results, the program holds a number of weekly Zoom sessions, followed by 90-minute growth chats with your dedicated growth expert. Throughout the course, these professionals really get to know and care about your business offering coaching and solutions catered to your struggles. As well as the digital aspect of the course, we also attended three intensive two-day residencies held at partnered campuses; at the University of Oxford and Aston University in Birmingham.

What are the benefits of taking part?

The 12-week program provides you with a solid five-year business plan, highlighting areas to focus on, key improvements to make and opportunities to follow up. It’s hard leading a business and this course provides clear actionable next steps.

Miraculously, the course is free. Funded entirely by Goldman Sachs, whose team attend every residency and event, the recruitment process is exclusive for a reason and keeps the quality of applications high. Out of thousands that apply, only 70 people are invited to join each course, but they do run regularly. So, if you have more than five employees, over £250k annual profit and are keen to grow further, get started on your application.

Targeted at small businesses across sectors, the program offers varied perspectives hailing from different industries. Hearing how we’re all dealing with similar challenges across recruitment, retention, legal and marketing helps contextualize issues. And by working in smaller groups throughout the course, it’s easy to grow close to others and share in their growth journeys.

Let me leave you with one thing…

Participating in the program is a full-time commitment, despite it being technically part-time. You need to take the full three months away from the business to look at it objectively. This means pausing or delegating managing daily tasks, speaking with clients and pitching on jobs so that strategizing your business’ future can take priority.

No one can do the work for you, but I can confirm that the more effort you put in, the more you will get out. During my time on the program, I gained new skills which have contributed to how we now run things at GottaBe! and led to a clear business expansion plan for the coming years. For anyone looking for tips on applying to the program, feel free to reach out. I promise you won’t regret investing your time into your business.

Digital Transformation Agency

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GottaBe!

GottaBe! have seen continued growth over our 13 years. A continued growth that has seen us develop two core brands under the GottaBe! brand.

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