Growing Your Small Business: Inside Ramsden International

29 October 2015 -


A commitment to management training has helped Ramsden International build a £50m business selling 23,000 products overseas

CMI Team

Ramsden International is one of the world’s largest exporters of British groceries, distributing more than 23,000 British grocery products around the world. It started as a two-person business; today it has more than 80 employees, with a turnover of £50m. From the outset, it has been heavily committed to training.

“We were training even when there were just a handful of us,” says Ramsden International’s CEO Sean Ramsden. “We were sending people to do MBAs at the University of Huddersfield Business School when there were only 15 people on the payroll.”

The company, which has a multilingual sales team speaking more than 14 languages including Mandarin and Arabic, has put in place a training and career plan to meet the personal development needs of all its colleagues and deliver on its long-term business goals.

The core values that had been introduced to the business in 2014 – which include accountability, respect, professionalism, entrepreneurialism, collaboration and integrity – were key to the programme.

All staff were trained on these core values and the behaviours expected of Ramsden employees. New staff go through this session as part of their induction. The core values have even been introduced into the annual performance review process where employees are assessed against their behaviours.

Ramsden has put training programmes in place with organisations such as the Institute of Export (IOE) and the Institute of Customer Service (ICS) to enhance skills and add value to the business. The company also supports people embarking on professional qualifications, believing that investment in its people’s personal development will bring new skills and insight into Ramsden.

The company has also introduced a management development programme, working in conjunction with Ken Minor of Leadership Resources. From the first group of ten managers who went on the programme, one has since been appointed director and another Head of Department. A second phase of the programme has just been completed.

With the growth and change in the business, Ramsden identified the need to look at the development of its leadership team and create plans to support them through their own individual journeys. Ramsden engaged with YSC, a business and organisational psychology company, for support.

The leadership team went through an intense process of interviews, psychometric testing and feedback sessions. Ramsden is now finalising these individual development plans.

Staff training and development is now at the core of Ramsden International’s business strategy. With continuing innovation and investment in human resources, the company believes it can develop a team who can take the business to its next stage of development.

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