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…
There’s one café in the town I live in that is just packed. Several other café’s in the same street look embarrassed being so empty in comparison. It’s called Kek and I usually avoid it because I don’t like busy places. But last week, a friend texted me to suggest we meet up there and it was too late to try changing venues by the time I got the message.
She was already there when I arrived, and it looked like the chair opposite her was the last one available in the whole cafe. It was bustling and I tried not to bristle with hostility for the lack of space.
Over the following half-hour I didn’t realise how much the experience there had seduced me: it was such a subtle transition. The service was impeccable, the delivery was prompt, the coffee was presented with care and tasted great, the ambiance was warm and relaxing, the décor was fascinatingly homely – with that kind of bohemian, natural mix-and-match look, without looking overdone or pretentious. The music was funky and not too loud.
There’s actually a sign they have to use at the front door informing people how to queue without getting in the way of the cyclists outside – it’s that popular.
They’ve got it ALL RIGHT. All of it. Every aspect. It’s an inspiration. And that’s where I’m going with Mirror Mirror now.
I delivered a workshop for a small consultancy in London last week. I know one of the guys there – he’s fantastic – very professional (another inspiration) and he’s helped get me in to this consultancy to help their team as well as to show them how it works so they can offer it to their clients. We’ve already been working hard to submit 3 proposals to their clients, which is exciting.
My consultancy contact loved the Mirror Mirror report and workshop – he’s such a fan. Afterwards, he said
“Why don’t you print the report on thicker paper, add a field ‘Your Name’ and some spaces for notes, so that people in workshops can make it their own? You could put it in a proper binder so it looks like something they want to keep.”
We are starting to hone every aspect of the user experience. Our last customer told me they loved how we customised our process to suit them. Right now, I’m on a train to Cologne for a workshop to set up our first database. With this we’ll be more able to add / change questions and their phraseology. And we are starting to gather enough benchmark data that we’ll be able to include comparison stats in our reports.
The report we issued for the consulting organization earlier this week included ‘error bars’, which shows the average score per item as well as what the highest and lowest scores are. This is very important detail when you want to know where the team is already aligned. I can’t tell you how long it took to pull that together – and it seemed to be one of those problems that seems to be difficult even though there was always some kind of reason why it didn’t happen – but we kept going with it and will never go back.
My ‘chat’ / pitch is getting much better after so much practice. I’m constantly updating our customer facing materials as the explanation improves.
One of the clients we are pitching too loved the slides we sent him before a meeting so much that we didn’t need to go through them at all – they had already accelerated our conversation.
Amazingly, I’m getting compliments on how I’m doing as a facilitator and feel ready to facilitate any group, no matter how senior. It’s moving forward.
I did have a bit of a dip last week as 3 possibilities I had been chasing last year fell through (budget / priorities / other) but that was then.
Yesterday I submitted another proposal to a global foods organization I’ve been courting for a while – and got on well with my contact there when we finally got to meet on my last London trip.
I do get feedback that the global consultancies already have offerings like this. But that’s where I can compete. They wrap it up in months-long consultancy packages. Mirror Mirror is a lean intervention and clients seem to be very happy. That’s what I’m working on.
Someone indicated that they thought my progress hadn’t been that fast after 2 years of having the product on the market. A while back, that thought would have hurt. These days, I just disagree. Sod what they think.
This isn’t just a consultancy offering it’s a proprietary process in constant development. Areas on my list to progress are legal and financial. I’m outsourcing jobs on graphic design, data management, platform development and marketing. I’m doing business development, working up delivery partners, building up my knowledge in multiple disciplines, talking to universities about research proposals, and the list goes on. I’m fully busy and not for the sake of it, I don’t think!
Now I’m going to do things at a pace that makes sense. I have the luxury of the family loan I got at the end of last year to do that. I spend wisely, work hard, and I’m aiming to be the best.
Mirror Mirror – … because a collective focus, with each team at the centre, drives performance.
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