Lindsay’s In Business, Part 10. A Commercial Proposal

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by Lindsay Uittenbogaard

What happens when you realise your path is entrepreneurship rather than employment? Lindsay takes up the challenge and shares an account of her journey as it unfolds…(you can find previous parts of Lindsay’s story here: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6, Part 7, Part 8, Part 9).

Taking stock: we now have a business idea with expert business partner support. Here’s the idea (after several iterations) …

Mirror Mirror’ is a structured way of capturing how people in teams perceive the internal and external context in which their team operates, including how each team member’s values and preferences tend to shape their perceptions and the way they respond. The combined data is reflected to the team in one whole picture, providing powerful insights that lead to improved engagement, teamwork and business unit performance.

The process incorporates individual interviews and the Hogan Judgement and Lead Forecast Package for the Team Leader – online personality assessments, the results of which describe how participants learn, make decisions and react to feedback. It also involves each of the Team Members completing the Hogan Values assessment. Individual feedback and a group report is integral to the intervention itself.

Ideal preparation for a team away day, the Mirror Mirror process takes approximately 3-4 hours per participant and can be delivered within 1 – 2 weeks, based on the size and availability of your team.

Rock on. Really. I’m very happy with this idea as something that can add a lot of value to a team – getting them up to speed together, on the right track, set up to succeed.

In my last call with the Leadership Development company who were interested in working with me on this, I’d written some notes and came back to look at them now. ‘Prepare a commercial proposal’ it said …. ‘Meeting in 3 weeks’.

A business model was developing in my mind. It would need to involve delivery agents – independent freelancers or small consultancy experts in the field who would like to add this to their suite of offerings. I saw my role more in steering the development of the business and being involved in delivery, rather than being the one and only practitioner.

So – the question now is – what to offer the Leadership Development Company that rewards their participation and recognises the risk they are taking, without offering them exclusivity as a delivery provider, which is something that would restrict us both? And was this a Joint Venture or how did they see it?

And another point – as I started to make up a facilitator’s guide and a fictional case study (data of which would be used to create the reporting system / platform I would need to get going on), I realised how much expertise would be needed for the facilitation role. All sorts of things could come up, from sore interpersonal conflicts, to deep differences of opinion on why, what, who or how. To hear this, consolidate it and present it back to the team would require a very good and experienced practitioner.

In fact, it was 2 roles – an interviewer and report creator, and a coach. I could do the first, but not the second. I could see myself becoming a coach… How was this going to work?

A solution? As preferred delivery partner, the Leadership Development Company could be the ‘default’ provider and I could work with them on that. Other Delivery Agents finding their own Mirror Mirror work could use the Leadership Development Company for the Hogan assessment piece, if they weren’t already Hogan certified them selves. There! Sounds good…

I spent literally DAYS putting together a commercial slide deck, pricing models, roles, benefits, considerations. Was I giving too much away? Does it sound fair? How do I make an offer when I don’t know how their commitment levels will pan out?

Each version of the deck was the FINAL version, until feedback from very commercially savvy ex-boss, a sharp ex-solicitor friend of mine, Miss X and other parties (inputs and efforts for which I am very grateful) kept it evolving. Version 10, 11 – and then flying over to London, changing the pack to version 12 the night before: reining it in because it seemed too early to be talking about a commercial proposal when the concept hadn’t even yet been developed.

And then the meeting: It was new office space for the Leadership Development Company, they had just moved in last Friday. The team can’t find me – the receptionist hadn’t called to say I’d arrived. The beamer is old, and turns all the blue colours on the slides to yellow. It only projected small images in focus. We had to turn the lights off and gather round to be able to read the slides. A new member of their team who knows nothing about Mirror Mirror is in the room. We had one hour. It was positive in terms of next steps but we didn’t really cover the points. The principal seems to be interpreting ‘commercial proposal’ as the offer and pricing model for the client (how ironic – misalignment in our team! We need Mirror Mirror!) … I’m doing my best to adapt on the spot.

In the end, I was to keep going and produce a brochure and a sample report (which would mean building the fictional case study and the reporting system). I guess that’s good…

Nothing is ever as you expect it to be.

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One thought on “Lindsay’s In Business, Part 10. A Commercial Proposal

  1. Pingback: Lindsay’s In Business: part 11: It’s alive! | Help you to succeed in life and work

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