Evolving Business: In conversation with David Sheridan

2 October 2020

“I passionately believe in peer networking and to any business owner who is already time-pressured and questioning whether they should invest even more time in this I would simply say that in reality you will end up gaining more time and the quality of your decisions will be far better.”

When talking to David Sheridan, a successful businessman with decades of boardroom experience behind him, it’s worth listening.

David Sheridan

As chair of several companies, including one that acts as a long-term equity investor in scale up SMEs in the UK, he is well-placed to know what it takes to grow a business and understand the importance of collaboration and sharing best practice.

A passionate networker, David has completed the much-vaunted Goldman Sachs 10,000 Businesses programme and spent

five years as a member of the Academy of Chief Executives.

“When I walked into that room as part of a cohort of 40 fellow business leaders starting the Goldman Sachs programme I looked around me and saw that I was 20 years older than anyone else. The energy and excitement was overwhelming. It was fantastic.

“It was a mixture of live sessions and webinars over a 12-week period. At the end of it all we had to produce a business plan

to present in six minutes. As a group we’ve stayed together, every day there’s communication. We have follow-up sessions, webinars and regular annual speakers. It’s been so good to hear those different views from different businesses.”

Creating your Peer Network

Having completed the Goldman Sachs scheme, David is now banging the drum for Peer Networks – a new Government programme to be delivered locally by SEMLEP’s Growth Hub.

It is aimed at business leaders that want to grow and develop their organisation for future success, with diverse cohort groups of individuals from across Northamptonshire, Bedfordshire and Milton Keynes working collaboratively through common business issues.

Starting this month, Peer Networks will be led by expert facilitators who will give you the flexibility to create a trusted support network that works for you, helping you to build and strengthen your business and improve its overall performance.

David added: “Peer Networks is the biggest thing that small companies need to give them the infrastructure to grow sustainably.

“If I ever wrote a business book I’d call it ‘The Leaf Company’. If the wind is in the right direction it can look as though they’re doing rather well but – when the wind blows the other way – it can all fall down pretty quickly if you haven’t laid down strong roots in the first place to prepare you for that growth.

“Running a business is like climbing a set of stairs. You need to get up the first few steps and then you need a flat bit in order to give you a chance to prepare for the next step. That’s what Peer Networks will do – it will equip you for the next stage of your growth.”

The programme is aimed primarily at ambitious business leaders who have an aspiration to improve and the ability to scale-up.

By taking part in Peer Networks, you will make connections that go far beyond networking and will help you to overcome business challenges and recognise and act on new opportunities.

You will build a trusted network of connections to support you now and in the future and improve your long-term personal and business performance.

David added: “If you go into your company in five years time what’s it going to look like? To get from A to B you need to look at what you want B to look like but also understand that you can’t control everything. Your route map will never be a straight line, it will always be a zig-zag but navigating that zig-zag is crucial.

“If you want a culture where continual training and improvement is important to your business it’s important to see that from top to bottom and make sure that new ideas are embedded into the business.

“I am not interested in being the biggest but I am interested in being the best at what I do, and that means continually evolving and improving. What’s good enough today won’t be good enough tomorrow.”

Sign up today

Our Peer Networks programme will be delivered through a series of high-impact group sessions, with each cohort led by a trained facilitator.

The programme includes:

• Interactive action learning
• Trained facilitators
• Small groups
• Flexible topic selection
• One-to-one coaching

Register here and a representative of SEMLEP’s Growth Hub will then be in touch to discuss further details about your eligibility, the cohorts and start dates.

Places on the Peer Networks programme are limited so fill in the enquiry form today to guarantee your place in the first set of cohorts.