When small business owners Lynne Falconer and Sally Kiddie decided to expand, they recognised that getting the right support was a vital part of the process.

The pair have been the owners of Heal Physiotherapy in Dundee for 14 years, and recently moved into new premises on the city’s Dudhope Street with the aim of growing the business.

They made use of the Skills for Growth initiative – offered by Skills Development Scotland (SDS) in partnership with Remarkable – to identify their next steps.

Skills for Growth is a fully funded service for businesses with between five and 250 employees. It offers up to two days of business consultancy, helping employers understand their skills needs and to create a detailed people plan with guidance towards the right support.

Lynne said: “When you’re busy running a business you don’t have a lot of time to stand back and look at it.

“As physios, we’re very hands-on, so having the chance to take that step back and get assistance to look at things overall really appealed to us.

“Getting that external view of what we could do better and how we could take advantage of the potential for growth was really important.”

Areas for growth

Lynne and Sally were supported by SDS Skills for Growth Adviser Sam Greer and by Ruth Hewitt of Remarkable.

Lynne said: “We met both Sam and Ruth for a real in-depth conversation about our business and they got a feel for how our business ran and how we felt about it.

“Ruth went on and interviewed all our staff members individually which was a good opportunity for them to offer their opinions on how we run the business.

“One of the things that came out of the interviews was that we scored really highly for staff satisfaction, so we can use that to attract people to our business.”

Using Skills for Growth also helped Lynne and Sally identify areas where they could grow their business.

Lynne said: “There are always things you can do better. When you’re running a small business, you don’t have things like an HR department or a finance team, so it’s about identifying what your needs are so you can grow and make sensible decisions.

“We learned that we didn’t really have a clear vision or set of core values for the business, and that we could be making use of tools such as annual reviews to make sure staff know they are valued and are being rewarded for the work that they do.

“So, we had a workshop with Sam to identify the core values that would be part of everything the clinic does, and we’ve also made use of the HR Advisory Service offered by Business Gateway.

“We’re also looking at different accounting packages that we can use alongside our clinical software so that we’re making decisions based on sound financial knowledge.”

Paying dividends

According to Sam Greer of SDS, Heal Physiotherapy is the perfect example of a small business with the right attitude towards growth and development.

She said: “As well-established small business owners, one of Lynne and Sally’s strengths is their willingness to find new sources of support, to take advice and to change how they do things in order to develop new skills and grow their business.

“Making use of Skills for Growth will help them as they look to expand, it has already helped their staff to play a greater role in the future of the business, and it will go on paying dividends in the future.

“This support is available to any small or medium business with between five and 250 employees, and I’d encourage any employer to look at how Skills for Growth could them progress.”

Lynne added: “Skills for Growth has been really worthwhile. You can always do things better and you can always improve on what you’re doing, so I’d certainly recommend it to other businesses.”

To find out more, visit www.ourskillsforce.co.uk/growth