Saturday, October 10, 2015

crystal ball or disco ball?

One of the tough things about being an entrepreneur is however hard you try, you can never fully predict the future.

One of the other things about being an entrepreneur is that when you look back, you realise you've usually a lot of achievement to celebrate.

So which is more important to focus on having? - a crystal ball to try and second guess what everyone else is going to do next so we can sidestep the coming poop and make sure we're in the right place at the right time, or having a disco ball to remind us to celebrate our successes and renew our excitement for taking on whatever comes next?

Of course - it's not really an either/or question: we need to have both in whatever enterprises we create or are part of. The tricky part is not only reminding ourselves that we have them, but also to get them out from time to time.

(for the record - I take a disco ball to every startup I support as a gift to their first office warming party)

Thursday, October 1, 2015

turns out being one of the UK's top10 business advisors isn't as impressive as you might think...

One of the things that makes me a little unusual as a consultant is that wherever possible, I don't give my clients a bill - instead I prefer to work as an associate of other agencies who hold contracts with various funding bodies and can cover my fee on their behalf (a very equitable arrangement: groups can access the support they need, funders get their boxes ticked, and I get to keep the cats fed!).

And one of the bodies who I've been working with through this arrangement with for about 10 years now is the Plunkett Foundation - a body built on knowledge (rather than money), and who believe that democratic ownership and accountability of rural enterprises to/within their local communities makes them not only more sustainable, but more successful in addressing the social issues those communities face.

And although I've always had a good working relationship with them, I've never actually had any formal induction to 'the Plunkett way' - at least, not until now!
As part of their refreshing of their associate list and expanding this family of advisors who can be deployed throughout the country to support rural co-operative enterprises, they're having a roadshow to allow us to all start to meet each other (and get to grips with their new reporting systems!).

I was able to get to one of these events earlier this week, and (despite the lack of cake at lunchtime), found it a really enjoyable experience to be able to spend time with some of my peers and also reflect on the proud history and role Plunkett is committed to making today in improving rural lives together. It was also great to finally find out exactly what 'the Plunkett way' of doing this is, and to also realise that this family of Plunkett advisors I find myself being part of are a very exciting bunch. After all, where else would you find people who are:
- descendants of kings,
- tv celebrities,
- best selling authors,
- castle owners,
- vampire bat handlers,
- professional revolutionaries,
- football club club owners,
- supporters of Rochdale FC (the team my dad used to play for!),
- accidental train drivers,
- dog sitters for political party leaders, and
- speciality pig breeders?

I used to think that my opening professional introduction of being named as one of the UK's top10 business advisors was pretty impressive, but in light of the above, realise that there are far more exciting vocations and credits that get us excited. Thank goodness people are still calling me a 'social enterprise sex god' on twitter...