As we’re starting out in 2019, I just wanted to say hello, wish you all the best for the new year, and tell you a bit more about areas of start ups, projects, and creative endeavours that I am able to help with.
Whether you’re fleshing out a new business idea, or working on which priorities to do when, I can help act as a sounding board for thinking about practicalities for setting up. Given the context of you life and current commitments, I’ll help you work out what you can realistically balance along with the rest of your life. Hardly anyone sets up a startup or project without other prior commitments - whether family, work, hobbies, or all three - and to give your idea the best possibly start, you need to be realistic about the energy you are willing and able to give to it.
2. Branding, Communications & Styling
This is the cute, warm, fluffy, stuff - “soft skills” - that is actually pretty essential. Whether you are starting from scratch or just need tweaking & refining can really help you manifest your idea in the way that you most want it to come across. This also helps to be as appealing to your customer, client or user as possible. We all like pretty things. And having a website, Insta feed and Facebook page that you’re proud of visually and with the right tone and language can give you a lot more confidence when it comes to promoting and selling your product, service or art.
A brand or product is an extension of one or more parts of your personality. The more clarity (see 1!) you have around your product or brand, the more longevity it has as you don’t feel like you’re faking something. It’s so easy to make a beautiful brand nowadays, but to make a brand that’s really true to your identity (or at least part of it) is something much more valuable. When you love your product and stand behind your branding and communications, there’s a continuity and authenticity that you’ll easily and unconsciously carry with you, and you customers, community and other businesses will ‘get’ you quickly too.
4. Creating a product & ‘Minimum Viable Product’ (MVP)
Think of a product as more than just a physical object or service, but the whole experience a customer has from start to finish with your business. Creating a product brings together both the practicalities of creating a ‘Minimum Viable Product’, and a dose of branding, communications & styling (see 2!). Creating a functioning product means creating and walking through all the steps needed to deliver your product experience. It usually involves a few iterations, testing with your user group, and making adjustments. It’s easy to talk theory, but implementing is one the hardest parts of generating a product (see 6. Execute).
5. Find more customers or users: Personas
If you already have a product or service, but need to reach more customers, I can help you create ‘Personas’ for your service, and then tailor your approach on how to communicate with them so your product resonates more strongly with them. When a customer feels that you really understand them, they are more likely to feel that authentic connection (see 3!) and buy from you. Oftentimes, I find that the authenticity of the entrepreneur, and product is already there in reality, but there is a communications gap around connecting the consumer, product, and entrepreneur. A fresh pair of eyes can really help bring you, your product, and your customers closer together.
If you can’t execute, and boldly step over that invisible line into ‘real world’ interactions, your business, artistic project or social enterprise cannot succeed. It won’t even have the opportunity to fail. It will just not be much more than an idea or a hobby (which is fine - unless you want it to be more). Crossing over that invisible line to execute in the real world is one of the hardest things to do. But once you do it and become familiar with it, it gets a bit easier. You can execute a bad idea really well, and people will still buy it. You can have an amazing idea but execute it poorly, and you’ll barely register a flicker in the world. Ideally, of course, you want to have a great idea, and execute it really, really well. Execution take practice. It is doing not thinking. It is the real risk taking. And it’s also where the real beauty lies. Most humans are truly kind. Most humans want others to succeed. That means, most people want you to succeed. They want you to show them the way. To show that risks are worth taking. Even if you fail, you are loved anyway.
One of my skills is identifying areas where entrepreneurs and creatives are struggling, and helping them detangle and unblock a situation, so they can go away with pragmatic ways to move forward. I think part of my mentality for unblocking is down to my sports massage training - which involved taking a detailed consultation of a person as a whole and then working on the problem area, whilst checking in. Applying this to startup mentoring, I listen and look at the different elements of the business, and see where might benefit from some attention and development. A business is not a living entity though, and often unblocking is about acknowledging or overcoming one's own personal fears or barriers, which are preventing a business to move forward. I also know my limitations, and if I am not relevant then I will suggest looking for expertise in other areas which are more appropriate.
8. Lean Startup Mentoring
The Lean Startup process is a specific approach to test product ideas in the real-world, and save time and money. The minimum commitment is a 12-hour block (over a month) due to the time it takes to learn. This can be an incredibly useful process to help you decide whether or not to pursue a product idea further, whether to forget it an move on with other ideas, or a third option - whether a similar product in a slightly different direction may be better (called a pivot). Personally I think learning Lean is a life-changing process and takes a lot of mystery, misery and chance out of entrepreneurship. Since failure is also seen as a learning process, it also helps soften and depersonalise entrepreneurship - so that you can quickly move on to more successful pastures, or if it goes well, move forward with confidence, evidence and a future customer base!
How I work:
My approach is informal because ultimately a business is a very personal thing and I believe a relaxed approach and friendly atmosphere is the best way to put people at ease and get those transformational breakthroughs.
A good level of trust and honesty is required on both sides to get the most useful and helpful results. All information share with me is confidential, unless there is any legal concern (highly unlikely). I'm not going to 'steal' your idea. :)
I respect anyone who has the courage to come to me with a creative project, business idea or even more - a problem. Having the courage to have admit a problem means you are further along than you think, believe me. ;)
In order to bring clarity and appropriate help to a situation, I need to be direct and honest about things. I don’t sugar-coat or over-praise. I save that for the really good stuff!
My number one goal is to help you. I’m on your side, and I will listen carefully and give you as much tailored and pragmatic guidance and advice - either verbally or written in a document - as I can.
I am currently offering a free 20-minute telephone consultation. After then, it is £90 per hour, either via phone or in person where convenient.
If you’d like to book, please send me a message via the Contact page and I will be happy to arrange an appointment.
Wishing you a rewarding, successful and happy 2019! :)