Lindsay’s In Business: PART 40: What is this animal?


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… 

Last time I wrote to you, I was talking about resilience. It’s about bouncing back and being adaptive. And to be adaptive with a young business you really have to have your radar on full power: what exactly are we dealing with here? What kind of animal is this?

It’s like a join-the-dots puzzle. Once you can figure out the constellation, it all fits into place and everything is possible. This seems to apply to lots of situations. A couple of hypothetical examples:

  • A historian is looking to answer a key question about our ancient past. By researching and piecing together the right bits of new and existing knowledge from botany, microbiology, geology and anthropology, she joins the dots and gets to an answer.
  • Someone is unhappy. They feel mixed up and can’t work out what’s going on. With a good therapist, they manage to uncover a co-incidence of factors that when put together in the right way, make everything clear, perhaps a disturbing event in early life, a difficult relationship with a sibling, an aspect of their character that triggers an unhealthy response to certain circumstances – and then a pattern of reactions to this. Based on this understanding, they can address their issues.

That’s how it works in business around important details of demand and supply – you just have to figure out the constellation of exactly what demand fits exactly what supply and then you can go for it. Of course, it’s a moving picture – the factors keep changing. And you can’t get hold of research to give you all the answers – every situation is unique – so you just have to try things, see what works, and keep an eye on joining the dots until it works.

Right now, the main demand and supply issues / ways forward for Mirror Mirror look like this:

  • The fundamental offer – social alignment is often not recognised as a problem area / not recognised as a priority / not recognised as a something that can be addressed effectively / not recognised as something that can’t be addressed internally – I am only able to influence this a little this through tactful positioning / am more looking for the market innovators who do see the need / importance / validity of the approach
  • More of a Trusted Advisor approach needed People come out of meetings with me feeling energised and motivated, rather than reassured and safe. So, I’m basically not the trusted advisor sort – especially at the C-suite level.  I am still looking to finalise with a serious ‘intermediary’ who can plug this gap. I need a business partner(s) for this part ­- this is work in progress.
  • Targeting – if I can proactively focus more on attracting interest from a narrow and specific group and positioning Mirror Mirror exactly to fit, I will get better results– working on discovering / actualising this: the HR group seem more like influencers -operational leaders would be the buyers as I see it right now
  • Credibility – without a big brand name behind me I’m at a huge disadvantage – more case studies / speaking events / profile / validation from the TU Delft will help
  • My network – it’s a very competitive place to be and I was pretty much starting from scratch to develop and leverage a network when I started selling just over a year ago. My pitch is getting better every month – but I am still struggling to open doors – but I am getting there, slowly but surely through one to one networking and referrals to contacts.
  • Marketing – not a lot of people know about Mirror –  I could do more / cleverer awareness / marketing
  • Scale – Feedback I’ve had is that buyers don’t want to use random little single team intervention. They are looking for something they can use strategically – across the whole company if needs be. I think I mentioned this when we met– offering a couple more versions to make the proposition more appealing will help here. An e-survey-version of Mirror Mirror for any number of teams across a whole organization is in progress – Anja had a great idea to max on the marketing for this so that buyers can better fit the offer to their needs.
  • The legal side of Mirror Mirror is calling. Soon I’ll be working with client and delivery provider contracts and I need to get that right. Looking for an expert partner in that area now….

Sometimes I think all this too much of a challenge, and sometimes I think that the identification of these barriers and the ways to overcome them is exactly the right way to succeed.

This animal is like a rare young racehorse. It’s got huge potential, it’s rare and attractive, but still wild and difficult to tame. It’s taking all I can muster to keep it healthy, growing, and under control.

The Mirror Mirror process accelerates social alignment for teams, so they can get clarity, alignment, and momentum:

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