Growth Club

All you need to make your business grow

Base52 Growth Club is all about helping your business grow. It’s about learning and sharing the very best entrepreneurial skills and knowledge. On this page, you’ll find further information and some of the references from previous Growth Club events.

'Thanks for an excellent meeting. Yes, networking - but a little bit different. Thoroughly enjoyed it, in particular Dawn's talk and of course Hilary's book review, and meeting a lot of you, though sadly not all! - and even meeting some Tweeting contacts in person :-) The next date is in my diary...'

Christina Raven

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26 April 2018: Dharmesh Patadia

Dharmesh shared his business story and some of the lessons he’s learned along the way. Having clear business processes – systemisation – is one of his key lessons, along with customer focus, looking at profits as well as sales and being presentable. He also spoke about his early experience at HSBC – initially making the tea and coffee, before moving on to start and develop a successful call centre operation. Dharmesh charted the progress from initially being a part of Norgans Estate Agents to establishing D&J Lettings, including the benefits of outsourcing.

The book reviewed was ‘Moonwalking with Einstein’ by Joshua Foer, with a strapline of ‘The art and science of remembering everything’. It’s all about ancient memory techniques and how you can train yourself to remember things better.

As usual, the networking provided an opportunity for everyone to share their business ideas and especially what they learned from their first job!

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25 January 2018: Jess Butcher

Our first Growth Club meeting of 2018 was a huge success, with entrepreneur Jess Butcher sharing her fascinating story as an entrepreneur. She talked about how she was very work-focussed during the early years of augmented reality firm Blippar, working up to 100 hour weeks. Over time, she was able to adapt towards a more balanced lifestyle between work and family. She mentioned the concept of ‘disruptive industries’, where companies deliberately set out to change the way customers think and to push their behaviour in a different direction. Awarded an MBE in the New Year’s Honours list, Jess is a strong advocate for female entrepreneurship, offering strategic support to many fledgling businesses.

In a twist on the usual book review, Emma Tarbox from Tate shared cheese samples and her views on the motivational business fable Who Moved My Cheese? It was an interesting review enjoyed by visitors alongside the regular networking opportunities.

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12 October 2017: Rob Bryan

HR specialist Rob Bryan spoke at our final 2017 Growth Club event. Rob talked about the seven stages in his business development, from being a one man band at start up. He spoke about the various stages of growth, including expanding the team and sharing his aim to stay involved with the business for many years but adjust his role over time. He said it sometimes difficult to add capacity and reduce earnings but that that is necessary for longer term growth. His key tip was that he makes time each week to work 'on the business' rather than 'in the business'.

Fred reviewed 'How to Get Rich' by billionaire publisher Felix Denis. The three areas Fred highlighted were Denis's definition of being rich (from comfortable poor to super rich), the advantages of youth and how 'Ownership is everything'.


14 July 2017: Sarah Decent

There was plenty of networking and two great speakers at our last Growth Club before the summer. Sarah Decent, owner of Modish Shoes, told her story about moving out of the corporate world and into retail. She now has shops in Cambridge and Saffron Waldon, with a growing online presence on Amazon and at She shared several nuggets, including "Be charming", "Plan, plan, plan" and "Be 100% sure that it's your dream you're pursuing".

A twist on the usual book review came from Kate Russell, author of Build Your Dream Team, in which she explained how advice in her book could help you plug your organisation's talent gap.


27 April 2017: Matthew Reeve

Matthew Reeve from Modern Networks explained his background and mistakes to April’s Growth Club. “Fix your mistakes and know your numbers,” were two of the nuggets of wisdom he shared. His experience of developing a multi-million pound business was inspiring, including time spent working with Cranfield University on their Business Growth Programme.

More inspiration came as Steve Saunders introduced the hedgehog concept in his interesting review of 'Good to Great' by Jim Collins.


26 January 2017: Dawn Fry

'Business personality is key' for Dawn Fry, who told the 20 Growth Club guests about how 'The Melting Pot' has grown. Dawn offers friendly and fun chocolate workshops and her talk explained how she's used PR, incentives, testimonials and a range of other tools to expand.

Book review – 'Originals' by Adam Grant. Click here to read part of Hilary’s review


13 October 2016: Adam Day

Local business people and entrepreneurs heard how online estate agent Hatched has grown from three to 52 people. Adam Day, co-founder of Hatched, gave an insight into the business and how he's understood the process of learning. And continues to learn.

Book review – The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell

14 July 2016: Kevin Morgan

Kevin ‘I have never sunk a submarine’ Morgan gave an interesting and highly entertaining talk and to Dawn Fry inspired everyone to achieve our ‘Zone of Genius’!

Book review – The Big Leap: conquer your hidden fear and take life to the next level by Gay Hendricks

28 April 2016: Paul Cooke

Hitchin entrepreneurs and local business owners enjoyed the latest Growth Club at The Radcliffe.

Base52's Fred McBreen said: "We were delighted to welcome Paul Cooke from Shaken Cocktails to join the networking and speak to the group. He has a lot of entrepreneurial experience to share and he joins the list of great speakers from the past meetings - and there are more to come."

Book review – Getting to Yes: negotiating an agreement without giving in by Roger Fisher and William Ury

21 January 2016: Carole-Anne McConnellogue

Our Growth Club meeting in January featured Carol-Anne McConnellogue (pictured with Fred) of Ten2Two recruitment consultancy. Alongside useful networking and a business book review, everyone attending enjoyed Carol-Anne’s interesting presentation on her own growth journey since her interesting times managing planes and people for KLM and easyjet.

Book review – Blue Ocean Strategy: how to create uncontested market space and make the competition irrelevant by W Chan Kim and Renee A Mauborgne

15 October 2015: Stewart Peart

The speaker at the first Growth Club was Stewart Peart, who has plenty of stories to tell. He inspired the collected group of 20 with hints from his own experience and also from books he has read.

A facilitated networking session meant people met each other, whether from local businesses or national organisations and between meetings people will stay in touch by social media.

Fred said: “I also gave a brief book review and our intention is that someone at each session reviews their favourite business book.”

Book review – The E Myth: why most small businesses don’t work and what to do about it by Michael E Gerber

For more information about Base52 Growth Club, call us on 01462 423152 or email us at

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