A VIDEO producer who racked up his 'best-ever' year of trading after signing up for a business growth programme has urged others to follow his lead.

Helmshore's Rob Hallam has seen Bigtank Video Productions go from strength to strength since his involvement with a Help To Grow run by Manchester Metropolitan University.

One major commission for Lancashire County Council saw Bigtank pull together the work of film-makers to showcase what the Red Rose county has to offer.

His turnover has rocketed by 40 per cent, year-on-year, after taking advice from the university's 12-week management programme last December.

And now those behind Help To Grow, which is 90 per cent government funded, are set to take on a new crop of business hopefuls for a fresh run.

Rob, 49, whose business is based in Bury, said: "Our ethics are cast in stone and 82 per cent of bookings are repeat business.

"But we are always looking for ways to be better at what we do. Heading into our 17th year of trading, the time felt right to forensically look at how we spend our time and money.

"If we want to offer more projects, we need to figure out how to work smarter when production increases."

He says one of the benefits of the course was he was able to have 'genuine, honest and open' converstations with other business owners about the challenges managing directors face.

"It’s helped me to chill out, enjoy the journey and know the rewards will come," added Rob.

"It’s exciting to realise you have more control over your business than you might think.

Small business and enterprise experts deliver the MMU initiative, which includes developing tailored growth plans post-pandemic.

The programme consists of eight online sessions and four in-person workshops, which take place at the Samlesbury Hotel.

Ten one-to-one mentoring sessions are also available, as well as access to the university’s alumni network.

Rob added: "Time is precious and it’s so easy in business to think: ‘I’m too busy’ for courses like this,

“Six months from now, you’ll still be busy doing great work, but if you don’t prioritise professional development, you’ll be static."

To qualify, Help To Grow candidates must be based in the Lancashire area and have been operational for 12 months, with a workforce of up to 249, with senior decision makers only eligible.

The deadline for applications is Thursday, May 26 and to register interest go online to www.mmu.ac.uk/business-school/business/sme-support/help-to-grow/