By Gerard Burke, Founder and MD, Your Business Your Future

Those of you who know me will know that I get a bit precious about some of the language used to describe what we do. In particular, I really don’t like the words “training” or “course” to be used to describe our development programmes because they’re much, much more than conventional training.

The difference between our development programmes and conventional training courses is subtle, profound and far-reaching.

It starts with the original objective. Every owner manager who participates in our programmes is ambitious to build a better future for their business and for themselves. The objective of our programmes is to help each and every participant to actually create that different and better future in the real world of their business – to actually bring it about and make it happen for real.

We’re not trying to teach you a particular piece of knowledge or train you in a particular skill. In fact, we don’t set out to teach you or train you to do anything in particular. We set out to help you build the better future you want for your business and for you.

Everything else which differentiates our development programmes from conventional training flows from this original objective. For instance, whereas on a conventional training course, trainees are typically taken out of their working environment and taught a skill, then return to work to apply it, everything we do on our programme is about participants making real improvements in the real world of their business. During the Better Business Programme each participant develops their own growth strategy for their own business and a plan to implement that strategy. It’s their strategy and their plan for their business. It will, therefore, be specific to them, their opportunities, their challenges, their ambitions. And, it’s the real strategy and plan of what they will really do. So, all the time participants spend on our programmes is spent doing real work that they need to do for their businesses to thrive.

Conventional training courses also tend to end at the point you leave the training room and most of what you learnt on the course is forgotten fairly soon after that. Because our programmes are built around participants going through the process of developing a real strategy, it doesn’t ever really end – there’s no distinction between what you do on the programme and what goes on within your business.

In the traditional training model, the trainer is the expert who imparts knowledge and skill to the trainee. With our programmes, tutors and coaches are not there to teach or lecture. They introduce ideas that might be useful to participants and guide them through the process of applying those ideas to the participants’ own situations, challenging their thinking and discussing options along the way. Of course, all our tutors and coaches are well qualified to do so – all of our team have run their own businesses in the past, or are still running them, and are experienced at supporting owner managers to grow and develop their businesses.

Unlike conventional training, in our programmes there is often no single “right” or “best” way to do things – each participant has to find their own way through the process and will draw from it in different ways. So, each participant on our programmes will experience the process in a different way and will realise benefits that are specific to them, their current challenges, their future opportunities and their ambitions.

One of the most important points that our participants tell us differentiates our programmes from conventional training courses is the depth of connection they experience with other participants who are all ambitious owner managers just like you. This deep connection with kindred spirits allows participants to share, in confidence, challenges, opportunities, and even doubts and fears, that they can’t always discuss easily with other people. For many participants, the ideas, advice, challenge and support that they get from other participants is one of the most valuable aspects of the programme.

For a participant’s perspective on this distinction, have a look at the video featuring Charles Wilson of Lovetts plc, a participant in the Better Business Programme that started in May 2011.

Watch the video below featuring Gerard Burke of Your Business Your Future, discussing the 7 pillars of a better business.


Create a better future for your business and yourself! Fresh Business Thinking LIVE! at Cass Business School is a one day event specifically designed for ambitious entrepreneurs and owner managers. Gerard Burke of Your Business Your Future, will introduce a range of successful entrepreneurs who will share their experiences of building the 7 Pillars of a Better Business – the seven characteristics which seem to distinguish those businesses which consistently perform better than the average.

To book for the event on 7th September, click here

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