The True Stories of EMS Students

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EMS learners hail from a wonderful range of diverse professional backgrounds. We spoke to five of them about how they found our Going For Growth course and how it helped them to grow their business.

Kim Sandford

Illustrated Identity

Having earned her place on the graphic design and printing scene, Kim Sandford, founder of Illustrated Identity, took the bold decision to go it alone and set up her own company in 2016. Coming from a hugely successful role at another company in the industry, Kim spotted the opportunity to start a business and put her own stamp on her work. 

Illustrated Identity is a creative clothing store based in Middlesbrough, specialising in personalised clothing and design for print. Although the business calls Teesside it’s home, it has its eyes firmly fixed on expansion. With ambitious goals to grow the company and establish another base in America, Illustrated Identity is already showing it’s potential with an ever-expanding order book ready for shipment to the USA where the company is gaining a loyal following of customers.

We got chance to interview Kim about here experience on Going For Growth programme, this is what she had to say;

What do you think that you’ve taken away from the course has made the biggest difference?

“The time management section of the course was huge for me. It allowed me to implement structure to my business rather than sort of adapting to whatever came in and rushing around. The structure we have now, we’re able to turn business around quicker.”

In terms of coming on the course, did you have any concerns?

“I wasn’t going to go. I wasn’t going to go on the course. I’ve been on many courses before and haven’t learned a lot from them, but when Kathyrn sort of talked about the course and was at women in collaboration sort of saying she’ll come along. There was eight other people around the table saying how you’ve got to go on this course. It’s the best thing they did. So to have feedback like that, I couldn’t ignore eight people.”

Mike Lewis

Breakout Media

Mike Lewis is the director of Breakout Media and to quote Mike “I pride myself on no-nonsense digital marketing. Whether you are looking for SEO, Google AdWords Management, or overall Marketing Consultancy I will tell you what is possible.”

We caught up on Mike on his experience on Going For Growth programme.

What was the best thing that you took from the whole of the programme?

“A few things really. The best things personally; I made a lot of contacts. I have made some friends that I’m still friends with now. The business chassis showed me this formula for how to increase my profits, which I implemented the first day I got back, the first day I got back. And our revenue grew from there.”

With all of those like-minded people that were there, what was the most useful thing you took from that?

“I think just… Again, it’s like a validation. You just know that other people are in the same boat as you. So everyone’s got problems with staffing, everyone’s got problems with outsourcing, everyone’s got a problem with customers. Do you know what I mean? So there’s just, I guess, everyone tells stories to each other.

Then there are always those situations where “I had a customer who said that to me. This is how we handled it.” And I think I was able to help people that were there, and they definitely helped.”

Alexandra Summerson

Citizen Songwriters CIC

“I have found this course and its content to be completely invaluable to me. I was struggling to think about anything further in the future than the next months’ worth of workshops and I felt like an imposter in my position.

Now I feel incredibly confident moving forward with the business. I have a solid plan for a new route to market and the ability to create financial forecasts, BPM’s and manage our social media presence, to name a few highlights, to the best of my ability.

Now have the knowledge to back up my passion and a new perception on how to make our business sustainable and profitable in the long run. I am very grateful to have been given this opportunity. It has been great to network with other learners to put my new knowledge into action.

I will be using this workbook as my own business bible for years to come!

Thank you to everyone at EMS for creating a version of this course that could be completed at home during the COVID-19 pandemic.”