Business Joensuu's GROW coaching for growth was launched in 2019 and has already supported 104 companies in meeting their growth targets. The turnover of the limited companies taking part in the coaching programme grew by an impressive average of 46% from 2019 to 2020.

The growth numbers are not an everyday pleasure in the age of COVID-19. Mervi Leminen, a business coach at Business Joensuu, praises the participants in the programme for their active and goal-oriented work on behalf of growth.

“I believe that at GROW coaching events we have succeed in supporting many companies on the right road, but the companies themselves have made the actual effort. I am very happy about how GROW has found its audience: we have brought in goal-oriented, profit-seeking enterprises and entrepreneurs with the courage to challenge themselves.

GROW growth coaching also got very good feedback from businesses taking part in the programme. The Net Promoter Score (NPS) given to the programme by businesses that took part in the coaching was 83.

Enterprise groups bring wisdom to coaching

GROW growth coaching is a ten-week long intensive coaching event. Entrepreneurs also meet one-on-one with the business coach, but the focus is on weekly group meetings. The groups comprise enterprises of approximately the same size, but businesses in the same line of work are split into different groups: it would be difficult to have open discussion on the challenges of business activities with a potential competitor sitting at the same table.

“There is often brisk discussion in the groups, but that is not where the insights emerge. An entrepreneur will often arrive at the following week’s meeting and say that a thought fell into place later in the midst of everyday activities. This is exactly the kind of process that we want to encourage in the thinking of the entrepreneurs”, Leminen explains.

Greenfox Oy, which produces moulds for injection moulding, experienced intense structural change in the 2000s when the company’s big customer Perlos closed its operations in Finland. Now the company is building new, controlled growth with its plan extending to 2025. Last year its turnover grew by 25 percent.

“We are increasingly focusing on the manufacture and marketing of ready plastic products”, says Managing Director Tiina Savolainen. “The mould business continues to do well, but we want to expand our product selection and to offer the services of the entire life cycle of a plastic product.”

Savolainen took part in GROW coaching as Greenfox drafted its new strategy. The timing was excellent, because the coaching offered time to genuinely focus and ponder the direction that a company is taking”, Savolainen recalls.

Entrepreneur and nurse Katri Koskisuu-Reijonen from Outokumpu got help from GROW coaching for managing the powerful growth of her home care company Itä-Suomen Kotihoito Hymynkare Oy. Hymynkaare’s turnover tripled in 2020 when cooperation with major buyers in North Karelia and Savo took off.

“My own role was suddenly a challenge. I really like to work with clients and I continued to do it as our operations grew, but at the same time, the needs for management expanded. In the worst cases, I was left with no free time at all”, Koskisuu-Reijonen says.

With the help of the coaching she learned to share more responsibility with supervisors close to her and to outsource administrative work. A better balance has been re-established between work and free time.

Both managers found the GROW peer groups to be especially useful. “I felt that we had been thinking about the right things in our strategy work when I heard that other managers had been thinking about the same questions”, Savolainen says.

“Group discussions were very rewarding. I got fresh insight into my own management activities from skilled people from different fields”, Koskisuu-Reijonen says. “I was actually sad when the coaching ended and there were no group meetings any more.”

Growth that looks like one’s self

Although many businesses focus on growing their operations with a focus on turnover, it does not need to be the only gauge”, says Business Coach Leminen.

“Some want to optimise their activities and to improve the company’s result. For others growth means success in developing new products, growing the team, or improving the well-being of personnel. We emphasise to entrepreneurs that they themselves have permission to define how they grow and develop.”

GROW coaching is part of the Grow with Joe project, funded by the European regional Development Fund, the Regional Council of North Karelia, and Business Joensuu.

Further information:

Mervi Leminen, Business Coach, Business Joensuu
mervi.leminen@businessjoensuu.fi
+358 400 196 688

Business Joensuu Oy offers services for launching companies, growth and internationalisation, investing and setting up operations in an area, and space and event services of the Joensuu Science Park. Business Joensuu also produces growth and competitiveness programmes which create the best conditions for companies to operate in the Joensuu area.