Northern Territory Business Owners who take time out from the day-to-day running of their companies to learn how to grow are actually experiencing growth.
Dr Jana Matthews, the internationally renowned expert on business growth, says: “We teach people in an interesting, practical, relevant way how to grow their business.”
Over the past three years, more than 90 Territory companies signed up for the Business Acceleration Program, an initiative funded by the NT Government, sponsored by the Chamber of Commerce and Darwin Innovation Hub, and delivered by the Australian Centre for Business Growth.
One-day Assessment Clinics and six-month Growth Ramps are fully subsidised by the NT Government, while the three, three-day Growth Modules and the Execute and Grow programs are partially subsidised.
Dr Matthews says: “Nobody is born knowing how to drive a car, but billions of people have learned how. Nobody is born knowing how to drive company growth, but our programs teach company owners what to do, when, why and in what order.”
Company owners have said that the programs are transformational – for their companies and for themselves.
Kamal Ali, successful NT business owner and program alumni, says: “Nobody writes a rule book when you start a business saying, ‘This is how you should do it, this is how you should manage staff, this is how all of it works.’
“And often you need to get to a certain size, pay a lot of money and make a lot of mistakes before you figure it out, whereas the course gave us the really clear outline and framework we needed.”
Dr Matthews, who is ANZ Chair in Business Growth, says there has never been a better time to sign up to the Business Acceleration Program.
“The Northern Territory has experienced minimal disruption from Covid and has become an attractive tourist destination for Australians who cannot travel abroad.
“This, plus mining, oil and gas exploration, agriculture, construction, and a build-up in defence spending are creating growth opportunities for the Territory. It is critically important that business owners of small and medium enterprises understand how to grow their companies and capitalise on these opportunities.”
Chamber of Commerce chief executive Greg Ireland went through an Assessment Clinic before he sold his company and says the programs are helpful for those who want to grow their business.
“If we want to continue to grow the economy of the Northern Territory, we need to provide the owners and managing directors of NT companies with the knowledge and skills they need to grow their companies,’’ he says.
“We encourage small and medium companies who want to grow to sign up for an Assessment Clinic as soon as possible, because places are limited.”
Darwin Innovation Hub chief operating officer Emma Nesbitt says: “Over the past three years we have seen the impact these programs, taught by growth experts, have had on the business owners.
“We’re pleased the NT Government is continuing the programs.”
The centre is working with the NT Indigenous Business Network to identify Aboriginal-owned companies for entry into the growth programs.
Network chief executive Jerome Cubillo says: “We’ve heard great things about the Business Acceleration Program and look forward to recommending Indigenous companies.”
Finally, a tip from Dr Matthews: when recruiting staff, make sure they are a good fit with your company’s values, then make sure they have the skills to do the job. It’s a lot easier to augment a person’s skills through training and education than it is to change their attitude and values.