Tag Archives: Business Development

Lindsay’s In Business: PART 79.  Step Change Evolution

IMG_0055What 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…

I feel enlightened. I feel foolish. I feel grateful.  I feel stubborn.

It’s been three years since I started pioneering Mirror Mirror. If you’ve been following this blog and have felt the cloud of failure looming over my head, I don’t blame you. But I do not see it myself.

Earlier this year, one person – a senior consultant connected in with the pharmaceuticals industry – asked if we were ready to run Mirror Mirror with multiple teams, dozens of teams, simultaneously. I said yes, knowing we would really have to scramble if that was the case.

If such an opportunity came up, our delivery would need to be at the highest level of quality to gain client endorsement, so I made a big decision.  I decided to invest in a professional level software upgrade that I’d been holding off for some time because of the cost.

Chicken and egg.  You can’t deliver until you have the right capability, yet you don’t want to invest in developing capability unless you have the demand.

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Lindsay’s In Business: PART 72: General update

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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.

Best regards,

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:

Hi all,

 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 MirrorWe identify and close alignment gaps between people in organizations to improve engagement and performance.

Your story, our platform: If you’ve got a story and would like to share it with other Femflectors, please let us know. Femflection is all about transferring learnings to help others, be they big or subtle. We want to connect with your feelings, your learnings, your reflections or your hopes for the future – in blog or interview format. Express yourself here. Get in touch with us via anja.uitdehaag@femflection.com

For more content visit our website http://www.femflection.com

Lindsay’s In Business: PART 62: Momentum and Learning

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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…

The Netherlands

On Friday 14 December, we discovered that some reports we had produced for an EU organization in Berlin were incorrect.  The reports were out of our normal scope, and created at the client’s request, for 15 managers based on ratings given to these four statements by people in their teams:

  • My manager sets clear goals and objectives
  • My manager is available to help with problems
  • My manager initiates discussions on progress
  • My manager provides feedback and direction as needed

This is part of a section of our work that looks at factors of team effectiveness that are mainly outside of the control of the team members themselves.

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Lindsay’s In Business: PART 58: Knocking on 1,000 Doors

 

building ceiling classroom daylight

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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…

I’ve worked it out. It’s not difficult. And you don’t need to get panicked about it.

If you believe in your product and you are absolutely committed to getting it off the ground then prepare to knock on 1,000 doors don’t expect anything that makes sense.

Some doors will be gold-plated and encrusted with rubies and emeralds. A porter will open the door and ask you to wait on a chair with a velvet seat. And there you will wait, for months on end, in the politest possible way.

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Lindsay’s In Business: PART 49: Status today

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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…Down to brass tacks. What’s the status as at June 2018?

  • It’s been 21 months since I registered Mirror Mirror as a business and got started.
  • It’s been 18 months since Mirror Mirror went to market.
  • Countless contacts have been approached.
  • 3 excellent case studies have been completed.
  • I dedicated Masters’ thesis (University internship) is nearly complete.
  • I’ve written lots of articles and blogs, done 3 speaking events, and presented 1 webinar.
  • I have now 3 fantastic people are on the core driving team.

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Lindsay’s In Business: PART 48: More epiphanies and hot developments 

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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…

 I’m just going to list all of the amazing developments that have happened in the past week – it seems like so much!!

A guy I used to work with – very senior, very credible, very well-connected and an EXCELLENT leader – has taken an interest in a role with Mirror Mirror. He loves the idea and wants to get involved in a start-up – I’m so flattered! We had a one-day workshop and talked through a load of stuff: he’ll get involved in providing advice, sales prep & activity, commercial housekeeping, and business development.  That’s so massive. He will change the game here. Our workshop was so inspiring and much of the list items below came out of the discussion I had with him.  Let’s call him my Director.

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Lindsay’s In Business: PART 45: Why

IMG_0051What 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…

Before I get on to WHY, (which is a question we all need to ask ourselves about what we do in business if we’ve ever watched Simon Sinek’s video on the topic) – I need to give you an update.

But to start with I need to share this. Yes it’s the first Mirror Mirror Webinar, hosted by the International Association of Business Communicators: 

Align Your Teams and Improve Business Results

22 May 2018 at 1 p.m. CET

Our next webinar guest speaker will be Lindsay Uittenbogaard who will be discussing team alignment and strategy implementation in the webinar Align your teams and improve business results.

People don’t achieve great results, teams do. But what gets in the way of great strategy implementation how people naturally see things differently, especially in complex work environments. Misunderstandings, assumptions, interpretations, information gaps, biases: unmanaged, these can lead to misalignment and conflicting decisions and actions, poor performance, frustration, and wasted time and money. All too often, teams can wallow around in a state of unnecessary misalignment that easily goes unnoticed and fail to take a step back to get a better shared current reality.

Register now for this free live event and you will learn:

  • About the latest research on team alignment and how it improves team performance
  • How to improve Team Alignment within your organization
  • How to fast track the journey to team alignment with the Mirror Mirror process.

Register for this webinar now!

 

By the way, for anyone coming into this blog afresh, here’s the helicopter summary (you can read about Mirror Mirror here):

  • May 2016 – fired, again – by an asshole boss. I’m done with employment.
  • June 2016 – looking for an exciting business idea with a lot of potential
  • August 2016 – early Mirror Mirror concept developed
  • November 2016 – basic process, reporting tool and communication materials developed
  • January 2017 – launch of Mirror Mirror in London
  • May 2017 – first interest from a friend of mine at Samsung
  • August 2017 – first trial delivered –excellent results
  • October 2017 – second trial delivered with a student project team– very good results
  • November 2017 – secure a student internship at the Technical University of Delft
  • February 2018 – Quickscan version of Mirror Mirror developed and tested with Aon, Rotterdam – great results

Between all of those milestones there has been a lot of activity with marketing, meetings and discovery; and lots of ups and downs adjusting expectations, reframing and adjusting. Every time I think things have landed with the positioning, the process, the materials – we see an enhancement to make.

I’ve been working full time and another 8 people are loosely involved in various parts on the side-lines. Cost cuts and creative financing has enabled me to continue trading on virtually no income for WAY longer than I ever thought possible. It seems ridiculous to think now that I initially gave myself 6 months from August 2016 to go into profitability.

What keeps me going is that every time the concept evolves to a new depth, when we get the amazing results that we get, when I look at how Mirror Mirror fits into the Future of Work and trends that show businesses will need to find ways to include the employee voice and ways to become more agile and more responsive, I become more motivated and excited by the potential.

Now trading for exactly 16 months, all of this hasn’t come without it’s huge moments of insecurity and self-doubt, but I can say the business is off the ground, just.

And now today’s update: Just over the past month, here are the main developments:

  • The sales pipeline has now 12 real possibilities (companies with whom I have an open / progressing conversation about Mirror Mirror. The time to convert these into sales is very long: months, so this is the result of more than a year’s worth of networking and selling.
  • Curiosity Amsterdam, the marketing company inccentivised to promote Mirror Mirror has sprung into action with a build of social media activity every week in the run up to the webinar.
  • I’ve recruited Edna Ayme-Yahil to the core Mirror Mirror team. Edna a wealth of commercial and communication experience and has agreed to come on board as Strategic Advisor and introduce me to her network. The first step of that involved a Pitch Upgrade. She introduced me to 5 experts in HR / Operations / Team Effectiveness who gave me feedback on my pitch. It has come on leaps and bounds with that level of input.
  • As a result, the USP of Mirror Mirror has chrystalised. Before, I could never make it tight enough but the pitch feedback taught me that it doesn’t need to be ‘tight’ – it just needs to be right. I’d had problems with it because I felt I had to pick the strongest of the various benefits and make it different – but the fact that it provides so many benefits and so well, is different in itself. Here it is:

Mirror Mirror is the quickest and most cost-efficient way of getting teams ready to transition, implement strategy, innovate, and improve performance. It provides multiple immediate and lasting benefits:

  • improves team engagement, alignment and effectiveness
  • creates a more open, respectful, and inclusive team culture
  • promotes team engagement and agility
  • generates useful feedback for relevant stakeholders

Better, right?

And finally, the why. Here’s my current ‘why’:

I want everyone at work to experience a better shared current reality, so they can be free of unnecessary frustration and confusion, feel good and do amazing things.

Mirror Mirror – the process that accelerates team alignment for improved performance and innovation. By enabling a better shared current reality between people with a shared goal, they make better, faster progress: www.mirrormirrorhub.com

Your story, our platform: If you’ve got a story and would like to share it with other Femflectors, please let us know. Femflection is all about transferring learnings to help others, be they big or subtle. We want to connect with your feelings, your learnings, your reflections or your hopes for the future – in blog or interview format. Express yourself here. Get in touch with us via anja.uitdehaag@femflection.comanja.uitdehaag@femflection.com

For more content visit our website http://www.femflection.com