Tenders UK

Leanne Martin, Director

Tenders UK provides bid writing, business consultancy and training to companies across all sectors.

The focus is on what’s practical, workable and useable for your business

Leanne Martin


What’s been the biggest impact on your business since joining the course?

Joined up thinking. I came into my new job as director with some uncertainty around what my actual role entailed. The course has been invaluable in taking all the different aspects of running a small business and giving me the time and space to join the dots.

I'm now thinking strategically about the business and where it's going next. Knowing the next step means I’m actually leading the company with a clear vision and plan instead of firefighting on a daily basis.

What impact has the Help to Grow: Management Course had on you personally?

It's given me confidence in the fact that I do actually know what I'm talking about! When it came to what we do day-to-day, I didn't have any issues. But strategically, it’s helped me steer the ship and say ‘This is my vision, and this is what we’re going to achieve.’ To be able to articulate that in a way that brings everyone along with you, incorporating their ideas with tried and tested methods from the course, is invaluable.

What were you hoping to get out of the course before you started?

Business knowledge, as I’ve come from a law and teaching background. I can manage a budget and a team, but the reporting and strategic vision of the role isn’t the level of responsibility I was used to. So, for me it was about understanding the importance of getting that right and learning about how those processes are a valuable part of understanding and planning for the business.

Can you give any examples of how you're going to incorporate what you've learned from the course into your business going forward?

My husband is my co-director. He’s a trained economist and understands all the things I didn't. But now we have much better joined up thinking between us. We’ve created marketing strategies, partnerships with other companies and we’re going to a business show in London where we’ll be the only bid writing company. We've also done a huge project over the last six months on values, vision and rebranding using a whole team approach.

Also, when we've had down time as a company, it's not been the end of the world because we’ve been able to pivot staff to the marketing strategy, revamping the website and other business-generating tasks that are valuable but not part of their core job roles.

What made you decide to join the course in the first place?

Although I was new to the role, I knew I didn’t need an MBA. I needed something practical and what really drew me to the programme was working with other small businesses. Whether they've been in business ten minutes or ten years, I knew the other course members were facing the same issues.

The fact that the people running Help to Grow have all been in business was important, as you’re getting the expertise of someone who’s been through what you have, rather than a lecturer who’s never stepped out of a lecture theatre. And to me the real selling point is that no one is there to judge you or grade you – the focus is on what’s practical, workable and useful for your business.

Can you describe the experience of working with your mentor?

My mentor was wonderful! She got me straight away. I’m not a linear person and she immediately introduced me to different ways of putting the same information into different formats to make it easier for me to interpret and make it meaningful to my business.

It was very much a personal mentorship, taking into account that we also have three children and a puppy! I'm terrible for wanting to do something and wanting it to happen now. But she was there saying, ‘that's an eight-month project, so it’s not going to happen next week, no matter how much you push.’ So, it was helpful for me to gain realistic expectations of what can be achieved while still running the core business.

People think that because you're the director, you know everything and that's not the case. So, another important factor was resilience and learning that what I might have thought of as failures are not but are actually valuable learning points.

Would you recommend the Help to Grow: Management Course to other small business owners?

Absolutely. It provides a dedicated time and space to think about high-level issues in your business that you might not get a chance to confront otherwise. I think one of the most powerful things I took from it is if I could give this two hours a week for six months, I could block out two hours weekly to focus on the bigger picture and effectively lead the business. That permission was incredibly powerful.

So, what the course has given me is the ability to take my business apart piece by piece and understand the critical strands of my company as we go into the next two or three years of growth. It’s helped me draw all those strings together into a beautiful braid!

All in all, Help to Grow makes you realise business is an evolution, not a linear path. It gives you a time and space to think about what you and your team need and how in turn, you can give your best to your customers.


For more information, please email us at h2gm@dmu.ac.uk or apply now.