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GAP: a catalyst for change

By Ryan Longmuir - Posted on 17 February 2017

Ryan Longmuir was a participant on the first cohort of the Growth Advantage Programme which launched in 2015 with the support of Santander Corporate & Commercial. Now, 19 months on, Ryan reflects on what GAP has sparked for him and his business.

The reason I chose to take part in the Growth Advantage Programme (GAP) was that I had got so far as a small start-up self-taught entrepreneur but I knew if I wanted to grow personally and allow the business to flourish, I’d need to learn new skills.

GAP allowed me to do this while still operating my business Regis Banqueting which is what made it so attractive. I was also keen to learn some of the keys for profitable growth from larger scale business.

I think the main focus for me was it allowed me to capitalise on who we are and what we are good at but also allowed me to see that I am capable of scaling up and building a business of scale. It also really allowed me to look at our offering and maximise business opportunities.

The peer to peer learning and support was a stand out feature of the programme while one of the real learning lessons for me was on leadership and building the right team. This has allowed me to attract a great management team, develop my staff and generally free up my time to focus on the next challenge. I think key messages on what to look at when hiring staff and to work to everyone’s strengths has caused the whole team to have autonomy and to flourish and take ownership of the business.

We took what I learned from the leadership surveys, Business Canvas Model and also the marketing teaching and used it to build a new website, social platform and market the business to corporate clients, which has allowed the business to grow. The areas of marginal gains has played highly in what we do to build KPIs into the business.

Following on from GAP we have recently launched Dulce and Sabroso, which will offer sweet and savoury crepes and waffles in a dining setting, and we are in talks at the moment about securing our first site in Glasgow city centre. If all goes well, we’ll look at rolling this out across the UK. As a result of GAP, I am working with a co-investor who will be involved in running the new venture on a 50-50 basis.

This new venture has been very much influenced by GAP – I’d always had a dream to do this but it was only when we did the Billion Dollar Baby section of GAP – where we were challenged to describe what our business would look like to be our ‘Billion Dollar Baby’ – that I knew I would need a different business model for this. That was part of the catalyst for going out and seeking investment.

Another thing that galvanised me was a comment made by Sir Tom Hunter who said that if everyone had a well-paid job we would remove poverty and hopelessness in our country and this has challenged me to create amazing employment opportunities for the youth of our nation.

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