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…
YESTERDAY: You know what? Sometimes I think the western working world has turned into much more of a cut-throat, unethical, selfish place to operate than it was before. People promising contracts to keep their options open. People – with whom you have invested in establishing good and respectful working relationships – just blanking you: not bothering to return calls or emails if they don’t need you.
Maybe it’s always been like that and I know it’s much worse in other places. I say this because the oil and gas company that we spent 4 months and 3 proposals courting; the one that sent an email accepting the proposal and saying they’d just get the written formalities sorted out; the one that I’ve been telling everyone about and banking on the revenue of – is now not in communication. We can’t reach them. They haven’t cancelled – but will this evaporate? What’s going on?!
Here’s the email we got from the BIG potential client 6 weeks ago:
Many thanks for our discussion today.
To confirm, it is our intention to proceed on the basis of the proposal (attached) and as such we will look to raise the Service Order next week for the initial amount in order to secure your services ahead of the kick-off meeting.
We will look to have the kick-off meeting soon (April/May) with the bulk of the work occurring in a few months time as more technical aspects of the project take shape.
I look forward to working together on this aspect of the project.
Nothing since and it’s now mid-May. We think they could just be busy and will get back to us next week to set up the delivery time frame. I’m going to actually cry if it falls through.
Meantime, thankfully, this ‘gap’ has been overshadowed by enthusiasm from an even bigger opportunity. It’s with a training company via Mr.P (I mentioned him a couple of blogs ago). This is where Mirror Mirror turns into a team effectiveness TRAINING for teams. The company has gazillions of contacts from past clients, which gives us a very high chance of an in. We met yesterday and here’s the first sentence from a note we just received:
“Great seeing you and Lindsay today and we are looking forward to working with you both in the future. We are happy with the revised offer so I think we can start to get the ball rolling.”
AND THAT’S WHAT WE’RE LOOKING FOR. Just those one or two companies who will try it, run it, spread it, repeat it…. This is fantastic! I’m on the train back from London right now – along with my mini bottle of prosecco and salt and vinegar crisps – lovely – musing that even though this blog is humbly entitled ‘General Update’ – maybe we have cracked it! Maybe that email is the break that will finally get the ball rolling. We have agreement on commercial terms and everything is good to go. Maybe we’ve silently sailed into a new sea.
I also met with a guy yesterday who works a lot with start-ups and Private Equity companies. It was all a bit speculative – the appointment time changed 3 times during the course of the day, so I’ve been scrambling a lot. But he likes the product.
He gets that teams in post-M&A environments could use it and explained to me that Private Equity companies buy businesses, turn them around in 3 years and sell them. They need great team integration. This could be a way in to that market because I hear that once M&A contracts are signed, there’s very often no budget to run team optimisation exercises. Seems crazy – seeing as presumably, those involved would want to ensure the M&A works, but apparently not. Back to that cut-throat, selfish culture I described: people want to make their cash and don’t give a shit about the bigger picture. No wonder the banking crash in 2008 happened.
Anyway – this guy is super-well connected and so I won’t get too hopeful but it does look good. There are individual angels out there who fly down occasionally and help when it’s needed 😊
I have several other companies interested / proposals in hand so it feels good. Meantime I plan to train 5 – 10 of my potential delivery partners in June and July up so they can feel comfortable delivering or talking about Mirror Mirror.
The reporting tool is coming on well. I’m going to be so pleased when we’re happy and fluent with that – should be finished around June or July.
Looks like we’ll be raring to go in August / September. Lots of reasons to keep the faith!
And I’m still focused on getting the nuances right:
Before: ‘get Mirror Mirror established as an agile intervention’
After: Get Mirror Mirror established alongside agile interventions – subtle but crucial difference
Before: lots of potential markets – scattergun approach
After: M&A as THE area to focus on proactively and find a way in, via
- internal buyers
- acquisition support consultancies
- private equity companies
And another realisation. I have some money in the bank. Now is the time to use that to grow the business! I decided to spend it on a few hours of professional market research (via Upwork) so that I can fast track to talk to the right people in my target M&A market. Right?! No point in wasting time and having 250 Euro sitting in the bank when it could be working for me.
TODAY – email from the BIG potential client:
Apologies for not being in contact recently.
This is due to workload – we have had a number of organizations through our pre-qualification tendering process and we are now in the process of having our strategy, tendering process and other internal alignment signed off.
We go out for full tender on 12th. Ot is hard to get a minute sometimes.
The good news is that the need for the work with you has be reaffirmed each time we meet internally and with the supply chain.
Hopefully I will be able to get back to you properly in a few weeks.
My apologies again.
Wow. What a rollercoaster. I’m so grateful! It’s been nearly 3 years and I feel like we’re out of getting this off the ground and now in a new phase – stablise and scale up.
Mirror Mirror– We identify and close alignment gaps between people in organizations to improve engagement and performance.
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