What is the key to business growth and success?

With more than 125 new full-time jobs, 40 new products and services, nearly £2m increase in collective turnover and more than £15m in private investment and grant funding, it’s clear there’s been a strong story of growth for our member businesses in our first year of operation.

Here, Dr Harrison Evans, Collaboration Manager at Nexus, explores what it is that sets our community businesses apart and how Nexus has helped facilitate their growth and success.

Innovation is Key

We work closely with our member businesses as they scale-up and grow and what’s very clear is that innovation is the absolute differentiator.

Innovation truly is an accelerant to business growth. Successful businesses have innovation in their DNA – it’s part of every process, every day. It flows through everything from their business concept, to their recruitment process, their business planning and their branding. Instead of just making their existing products smarter for users, innovators are looking for the next products and services that will change society in the future.

The latest graduates and talent are seeking to work with companies who are innovative, agile and disruptive. They’re often looking for those who are doing something different and will give them a chance to be creative in their work too. Ultimately, it makes your business attractive to this new and exciting talent pool.

The Power of Communities

Those dynamic businesses also aren’t afraid to ask for help and make the very best use of the support available to them – Whether that’s accessing the Nexus community, collaborating with academic minds at University of Leeds or seeking support from the wider Leeds innovation ecosystem, such as the LEP growth team.

There’s also a distinct pride in our Leeds City Region from the high-growth businesses we’re working with – they recognise the power of community and value the regional backing they received during the early days. They build relationships with people who become champions for their business across the region and beyond, expanding their support networks, discovering new opportunities and generating new business leads. More than anything, they always have an open and curious mind!

Often with new technology and innovative solutions, the hardest part is getting those first people to use them and seeking out early-adopters.

We’ve been able to leverage our Nexus partnerships to build and strengthen relationships for  our members across the region with bodies such as NHSX, Leeds Enterprise Partnership and Innovate UK, meaning they’ve been able to use our ecosystem as a test-bed for new technology before rolling it out further, nationally and globally.

Adapting to Change

One of the most important traits of our successful early-stage businesses, is their ability to pivot to a new business concept or methodology. The ones who have thrived the most in the recent difficulties have also been able to diversify their offerings. If you’re making new opportunities, you’re also minimising the risk across your business – gone is that single-point of failure.

New products and services often take a lot of motivation and adaptability to get them off the ground. It’s important to be resilient to knockbacks, recover quickly and adapt your offering. We’ve seen proof of this from some of our members in their response to the COVID-19 pandemic. They’ve produced some truly innovative work, being agile and seeking new opportunities to reflect today’s challenges and society’s changing needs.

You’ll also find that funding is more readily available for opportunities that respond to societal needs, so it’s important to focus on anticipating these changes where possible, rather than just reacting.

As we build on our first year successes, we continue to support our community across every stage of their growth. At a time of unprecedented change and challenge for business owners, one thing is certain – their innovation will be critical to society’s growth, as well as the recovery of the economy.

What are your top tips for business growth?
Share your thoughts and tips with us by emailing hello@nexusleeds.co.uk or finding us on Twitter @nexusunileeds.