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SME Business Support

Welcome to Brunel Business School, where we believe in working closely with businesses to explore new markets, technologies and opportunities. 

We see ourselves as a business ecosystem builder, through our business engagement platform; Brunel Hive. We facilitate two-way engagement between our academic researchers and business leaders to exchange knowledge and gain insights into ensuring long-term growth and sustainable value. We also connect like-minded leaders, creating a community that explores and learns together as they develop solutions that help their businesses survive, innovate and thrive beyond these difficult economic times.  

Our business engagement team is passionate about supporting local businesses, helping SMEs cope with the challenges of the current pandemic by delivering initiatives such as the Small Business Leadership Programme (SBLP), which offers entrepreneurs the opportunity to learn and reflect on their business practices among their peers. We also believe in ‘engaged scholarship’ and work closely with industry partners to design research collaborations and active corporate learning programmes; to date, over 1,000 local and international businesses and learners have participated in our Brunel for Business Masterclasses, delivered in partnership with 40 businesses. 

There are many opportunities for business leaders to get involved, including:

  • Tapping into our research resources to help grow your business
  • Co-creating with our students by collaborating with them for innovative and creative ideas or mentoring business-ready employees of tomorrow
  • Networking across a wide range of business disciplines and subjects  

Whether you’re a local SME or a corporation with a global presence, we look forward to working with you. If you have any questions please contact us here.

Ainurul Rosli, Director of Business Engagement, Brunel Business School

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Case studies

Joe McGrath of Rhotic Media

Rhotic Media is a 12-person financial services content agency that’s emerging from start-up mode to enter its growth phase. With an editorial team that has written for large media groups including Dow Jones and the Financial Times, Rothic Media offers corporate content, emergency editorial and research reporting services. 

How the programme impacted the business

  • Rothic Media faced a steep learning curve in managing unanticipated business growth following contract cancellations and pulled projects at the start of the pandemic. 
  • Attending the programme while running a business at the same time allowed Joe to apply what he was learning and to put in place meaningful changes to make Rhotic Media more resilient for the future.
  • Learning about how important it is to measure everything you do in the business provided Joe with a degree of comfort to make strong decisions, including to focus on clients that could offer more predictable contracts and most likely to stay with the company as it grows. This has led to improved productivity per employee as well as better profits for the agency.                                                                                   

Listen to Joe's podcast episode here.

Anuuj Kohli, Director of SWJ Ltd  

 SWJ UK Ltd, better known by its trading name Oak Furniture House, is a family-run business offering oak furniture for home interiors and accessories for gardens and outdoor spaces.

How the programme impacted the business  

  • In 2020 Oak Furniture House increased its turnover by 98% over the previous year as demand for the company’s garden furniture doubled in the summer months. But success brought its own challenges; the heightened demand along with a delay in the supply chain left the company struggling to meet customer expectations as service levels deteriorated. As staff grappled with this as well as working from home, taking care of their mental health and wellbeing became crucial.
  • Attending the programme helped Anuj learn how to delegate responsibilities to his core team, making them accountable for different areas of the business and allowing him to focus on its strategic aspects.

Listen to Anjuu's podcast episode here.

Sriram V Aylur of Taj International Hotels  

Internationally acclaimed chef, Sriram Aylur has been associated with Quilon, the only Southern Indian restaurant in the world with a Michelin star rating. He also directs operations at Bombay Brasserie, another acclaimed restaurant offering North Indian and Bombay cuisine. Both London-based restaurants are part of the Taj International Hotels group. 

How the programme impacted the business        

  • A tremendous drop in business in February and March 2020 forced the restaurants to reinvent themselves by starting a takeaway and delivery service·         
  • Innovation was key for the restaurants to remain relevant and maintain their brand presence, enabling them to expand into new markets such as offering virtual business lunches and dinners and catering for private jets·       
  •  Having a positive and enthusiastic attitude helped Sriram and his team seize opportunities and navigate the pandemic as a winner·       
  •  The programme provided an environment for business leaders to interact with and learn from each other; it also gave Sriram guidance and helped him think differently. 

Listen to Sriram's podcast episode here.

Sanjay Rode of Pioneer Global Services

Pioneer Global Services is a telecommunications firm offering hosted VoIP phone systems to UK businesses as well as business broadband and bulk SMS services. 

How the programme impacted the business      

  • Pioneer Global faced challenges in generating new business when staff couldn’t conduct their audit visits with potential clients due to the pandemic. 
  • This prompted it to work on a sustainable business model that resulted in a huge shift online, from sales channels to marketing and offering its services through a self-service portal. 
  • Believing that client retention is key to survival during this pandemic, Pioneer Global also focused on offering its clients with as much flexibility and support as possible.  
  •  The biggest lesson Sanjay gained from the programme is the need for management to change its approach and be flexible to adapt to new circumstances.  

 Listen to Sanjay's podcast episode here.

Christina Gray of Gray & Associates Recruitment Services

Gray & Associates is a London-based independent recruitment agency providing temporary and permanent recruitment solutions for roles in administration, management, secretarial, finance and IT. It also has a specialist Teaching Division providing staff to schools in Greater London. 

How the programme impacted the business        

  • The pandemic has prompted a need to look at different ways of marketing your business including social media. For Gray & Associates, the traditional ways of sending people information via email or a phone call is no longer relevant in this current economic climate.·        
  • Most people seem to have adjusted to working from home but there’s a need to keep staff engaged, whether they are temporary or permanent, to make up for those missing water cooler moments.·      
  •  Job interviews are now being conducted remotely online and this looks likely to continue as a practice, especially for first interviews. People need to overcome their discomfort with the technology and practice how they look in front of the camera.

 Listen to Christina's podcast episode here.

Imogen Morgan and Isabel Martin of Voyage Control 

Voyage Control is a logistics management solution business that started out in the events industry but over the past 10 years has expanded into the construction and ports industries as well as facilities management. 

How the programme impacted the business   

  • The programme was an opportunity for Voyage Control to gain an overview of its different business areas and how it fared as a company against others of a similar size, as well as to connect with other businesses experiencing similar challenges. 
  • Participating in the programme also prompted a revisit of Voyage Control’s strategy and internal message to ensure that everyone was aligned with the vision of the business and where it would be heading in 2021. 

 Listen to their podcast episode here.

Being part of the Brunel Business School’s Small Business Leadership Programme has allowed me and my business to develop new ways of thinking and time to reflect. Through the training courses I learnt awareness of my own leadership style and how I can adapt it.

Brendon O'Connor from Simon Harrison Ltd

The Small Business Leadership Programme by Brunel Business School has given me a better insight into the importance of customer segmentation. I understand the difference between vision, mission and purpose and have learnt how to lead effectively during challenging times. The courses enabled me to develop a strategic perspective towards problem solving and decision making.

Howard Wong from Little Moons

The Small Business Leadership Programme by Brunel Business School helped me learn how my business can innovate and react to the changing nature of the market. It also gave me insights into how leaders need to work and motivate their team and how a good leader engages with their team. I have also been able to step away from the business and understand my company's vision and how this has changed with time and during the pandemic. This programme has also helped me become a much effective leader and a more strategic thinker. I also really enjoy the peer group sessions and being able to learn from other business owners.

Anuuj Kohli from SWJ UK LTD

During the Small Business Leadership Programme I learned how to apply the 'Customer based brand equity pyramid' to my business and identify how we want to be perceived with the reality via feedback from a direct discussion with a key customer. I also found studying the 'GROW' model and how it can apply to my team very valuable. Working on the business canvas, evoking consideration of re-packaging services as subscriptions and generating recurring revenues has also been very useful.

Mark Perry from Oregan Networks

Being on the Small Business Leadership Programme with Brunel Business School, I have learnt how to adapt our offering to suit the needs of the customer. I found the discussion about KPIs and value for marketing very useful. Being on programme also gave me an opportunity to see how my previous leadership experience translates into business. I also gained better insights into brand analysis.

Rich Jones from Testrade Ltd