Professional People

Marketing Professional Bodies, Institutes, Trade Bodies and Networks

Here are some of the main UK Marketing Professional Bodies, Institutes, Trade Bodies and Networks. The Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM) has estimated there are several hundred thousand people involved in marketing in the UK. If you include, digital, sales, affiliate and business development to the marketing networks the numbers may well be in the millions. Here are some of the notable marketing societies and institutes (mainly) in the UK who are also active globally.

NAME URL ABOUT THE NETWORK
The Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM) http://www.cim.co.uk/ The Chartered Institute of Marketing supports, develops and represents marketers, teams, leaders and the marketing profession as a whole. As the largest professional marketing body in the world, CIM offer membership and career development, professional marketing qualifications, training courses and helps businesses grow with tailored support to enhance marketing capability.
The Marketing Society https://www.marketingsociety.com/ As the world’s leading network of senior marketers, we inspire and challenge our members to think differently and become bolder leaders.
The Institute of Direct and Digital Marketing  https://www.theidm.com/  The IDM exists to support, encourage and improve marketing performance with development programmes to help you be the best you can be.
 The DMA  https://dma.org.uk  Our network of more than 1,000 UK companies is privy to research, free legal advice, political lobbying and industry guidance. Our members connect at regular events that inspire creativity, innovation, responsible marketing and more. Most of them are free. A DMA membership is a badge of accreditation. We give the industry best-practice guidelines, legal updates and a code that puts the customer at the heart. We represent a data-driven industry that’s leading the business sector in creativity and innovation.
Market Research Society  

https://www.mrs.org.uk/

 

 The Market Research Society (MRS) is the UK professional body for research, insight and analytics.
UK Marketing Network  https://www.linkedin.com/groups/1780141/profile  The UK Marketing Network is the country’s largest and most interactive LinkedIn group for UK only marketing professionals, powered by Cambridge Marketing College and Only Marketing Jobs.
UK Affiliate Marketing Networks  http://www.amwso.co.uk/affiliatenetworks.php A list of UK focused Affiliate Marketing Networks.
The Institute of Sales Management https://www.ismprofessional.com First established in 1911 as the Sales Managers Association, the institute has striven to be the authoritative voice of selling and the custodian of sales standards, ethics and best practice throughout its existence. Now rebranded as the Institute of Sales Management, it exists to promote the professionalism and integrity of sales by providing internationally recognised learning opportunities, thought leadership, peer to peer guidance and advice and industry related news and information.
The Chartered Institute of Public Relations – CIPR https://www.cipr.co.uk/ The chartered body for public relations and the largest
membership organisation for PR professionals in Europe.
Public Relations Consultants Association https://www.prca.org.uk/ The PRCA promotes all aspects of public relations and communications work,
helping teams and individuals maximise the value they deliver to clients and organisations.
The Association exists to raise standards in PR and communications,
providing members with industry data, facilitating the sharing of communications best practice and creating networking opportunities.
Marketing Agencies Association – MAAG https://www.marketingagencies.org.uk/ The MAAG is at the forefront of the sector, working with and on behalf of our member agencies
to adapt and respond to the ever-changing landscape.
Advertising Standards Association – ASA
Committee of Advertising Practice – CAP
https://www.asa.org.uk/ The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) is the UK’s independent regulator of advertising across all media.
We apply the Advertising Codes, which are written by the Committees of Advertising Practice (CAP).
The Digital Marketing Institute https://digitalmarketinginstitute.com The Digital Marketing Institute sets the global standard in digital marketing and selling certification. We have certified more professionals to a single digital education standard than any other certification body.
The Advertising Association https://www.adassoc.org.uk/ Are the only organisation that brings together agencies, brands and media to combine strengths
and seek consensus on the issues and opportunities that affect them.
The Institute of Promotional Marketing  

https://www.theipm.org.uk

 The IPM is the leading professional body for the promotional marketing industry, and we are here to serve you – our members.
The Institute of Business Development http://ibdi.org/# To provide ethical and professional leadership and guidance to business professionals globally by promoting high standards of ethics, education, and professional excellence that are recognized worldwide.

For more on problem solving using analytical and creative tools contact us:
Peter Eales BA Hons Chartered Marketer FCIM FIDM
Founder Director Dorset Business Angels
MD o i solutions limited

Up To Date Marketing

How to stay up to date with marketing

The best way to stay up to date with marketing is to work closely with innovators and leading marketers. I do this in two ways, first at Dorset Business Angels, part of UK Business Angels Association – UKBAA- , where we work with innovative start-ups and growth companies. Secondly as a Chartered Institute of Marketing, CIM Chartered Marketer and Fellow, part of the world’s largest professional marketing body. We are all busy. Certainly I am. So to save you and me time, let me use this article as a vehicle which I will continually update with the latest from DBA/UKBAA in terms of news and innovation. And the latest ideas from CIM on how too to stay sharp with your marketing and be alert to what is innovative. In other words how to stay up to date with marketing and be innovative.

Marketing

Chartered Institute of Marketing

CIM is the world’s leading professional marketing body with over 28,000 members worldwide, including more than 3,000 Chartered Marketers. Here’s a list of their courses. Here’s the CIM twitter feed with lots of free helpful content. There are CIM events all the time you can look out for here. And plenty of content online in terms of CIM Catalyst Online Magazine, podcasts, videos, and webinars. Daniel Rowles, CIM Course Lecturer, CEO of TargetInternet.com delivered a terrific webinar on the topic of staying up to date with marketing. My topic is slightly different as I focus on innovation too. He occupies the digital space. I am more of commercial, investor centric, but still similar and share many interests. Daniel shares some terrific resources including:

  • CIM Webinars – including his “the future marketer ” for CIM Members
  • Daniel’s a huge fan of podcasts and top of the list comes Masters of Scale by @reidhoffman
  • Digital Capability– award winning model from TargetInternet – how ready is your organisation for digital?
  • Feedly – a great way to an easy way to aggregate your information feeds in one place.
  • Internet live stats for key sites eg websites etc,  Live counter showing estimated currentinternet users
  • Assesses your digital skills in a variety of digital marketing disciplines against industry standards and best practice – here
  • Digital Skills Benchmark Report from TargetInternet here

The Institute of Direct and Digital Marketing

The IDM exists to support, encourage and improve marketing performance with development programmes to help you be the best you can be. As someone active in digital and direct marketing, I have been a member (and a Fellow) for years. It is an agile training focused organisation, with great speakers with many courses to help you, and well worth a look. See here for website. And for helpful twitter content and updates see TheIDM here.

Digital Marketing Top Websites

From o i solutions resources to help you with your digital marketing. Tools and ideas to help you post, find content, measure, and research digital, online, marketing and social media. My favourite site, I unashamadely post regularly is the fantastic DIGITAL STRATEGY CONSULTING, celebrating 15 years of digital marketing research and news.

Marketing Professional Bodies, Institutes, Trade Bodies and Networks

Here are some of the main UK Marketing Professional Bodies, Institutes, Trade Bodies and Networks. The Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM) has estimated there are several hundred thousand people involved in marketing in the UK. If you include, digital, sales, affiliate and business development to the marketing networks the numbers may well be in the millions. View here are some of the notable marketing societies and institutes (mainly) in the UK who are also active globally.

Innovation

Innovation from new ideas, products, services, and creative entrepreneurs at Dorset Business Angels, and the many angel networks, venture capital groups and networks part of UK Business Angels Association – UKBAA- , where we work with innovative start-ups and growth companies. So working with DBA, UKBAA and CIM is the best way I find to stay up to date with marketing staying close to innovators and leading marketers.

For more on problem solving using analytical and creative tools contact us:
Peter Eales BA Hons Chartered Marketer FCIM FIDM
Founder Director Dorset Business Angels
MD o i solutions limited

DBA Plans

Your Pitching Checklist for Presenting to Angel Investors

Here is your pitching checklist for presenting to Angel Investors. There are 8 key items that should be included in any pitch. At Dorset Business Angels we list these on our website Entrepreneur Resources page for all companies who approach us interested in presenting to us. Here is the list:

  1. Explain what your product or service is and what problem or opportunity it addresses
    and / or solves?
  2. Itemise any IP associated with the product/service and confirm that the Company is the owner?
  3. Who is your target customer?
  4. Who are your competitors and what is it that makes your product, or service, unique, or different to theirs?
  5. What stage is your business at, are you pre-revenue, already trading, or if not, when will you be so?
  6. How many of the current Shareholders / Directors have actually invested their own money into the business and how much is that and what shareholding do they own?
  7. What is your “Pre – money” valuation of the business and how did you arrive at this figure?
  8. Explain exactly what the offer is to the potential Angel Investor, what % of the business do they get for their cash and also, what is the proposed Exit value and therefore the multiple of their investment that they could achieve?

And how does this fit into your overall fundraising process with business angels? Well this is how….

The Fund Raising Process

Prepare and submit a business proposition – send us 3 items

You can send your propositions to us. You can speak to me Peter Eales on 01202 706 975 or email us . What should you send?

  1. Ideally a One Page Summary – see below our Entrepreneur Resources website page for a template.
  2. Your Business Plan – again see the Entrepreneur Resources website page – which normally includes financials ie cashflows, P&L and Balance Sheet.
  3. And include item 3 which is as per above the key points covered in the Pitching Checklist.

These are essential points that investors want to know about any investment they may consider. Your accountant, lawyer, Finance Director or other professional advisers may help you to produce this information. If you have a PowerPoint Presentation or a similar presentation, then so much the better.

All this will enable our screening team to understand immediately if there is or is not potential. Peter Eales one of our founder directors and General Manager forwards this information to Frank Guinn our Vice Chairman to review. Frank will contact you to say if we would like to short-list your pitch for one of our Investor Dinner Events, or if we have more questions.

Present at one of our pitch events

You can then present if selected at our Investors’ Dinner. Prepare a compelling summary to give us, in 10 to 15 minutes, a description of the investment opportunity. You may find this Pitching Checklist useful to help structure your presentation.

Follow-up and due diligence

If one or more investors are interested, you will be asked to provide detailed business plans, including financials and marketing plans.

Conclusion

Investors are very focused. They are often people who have a short attention span. So be clear when you present your case. The 8 key items that should be included in any Pitch by a Company to potential Angel Investors are an essential component of your business plan and your pitch.

Peter Eales BA Hons Chartered Marketer FCIM FIDM
Founder Director Dorset Business Angels
MD o i solutions limited

Shareholder or Partnership agreements

Your Strategy is the bedrock for Shareholder or Partnership agreements

In a new startup or small business, you want to ensure a fair relationship between the leadership team, govern how the company is run, set out rights and obligations and if there are shareholders, protect their investment. Do you need a Shareholder, Partnership or any other form of Agreements? And how does this vary from a Business Plan. What about all that other stuff you hear about Vision, Mission Statements and values….Words, words, buzz words and jargon perhaps. Or are they? Shakespeare as ever, summed it up: “Words without thoughts never to heaven go.” However more positively, George Byron wrote, beautifully: “A drop of ink may make a million think.” To cut to the chase. Nick Hixson, from Hixsons Business Enablers, where I head up the marketing, sums it up perfectly in his helpful blog, What Shareholder Agreements Are Really For. Nick, with nearly four decades of experience advising small businesses, stresses the need to agree your strategy, vision and mission. And with his clients, he seeks to regularly revisit these, as the business develops, and situations change. The issue with a Shareholder Agreement, or in fact any type of business agreement, is that they are written at a specific time, lawyers help you in good faith, but as Nick writes in his blog, their involvement stops when the agreement is signed. Or it usually does on a routine basis, certainly. Create your strategy first, it is the bedrock for shareholder, partnership in fact any appropriate agreement. The strategy, vision and mission, agreed by the leadership team generates growth and innovation. And this is something that needs to be revisited and sustained for success.

A Toolkit

At Dorset Business Angels, the dragons den (if you like) for Dorset, where I am a founder director, a question always asked of all presenter pitches, is about the people running the business. Who is in the CEO, the key players, shareholders, is there IP and what happens if someone leaves? I covered the pitch presentation itself in a previous article, What investors want to hear. This was in essence about knowing you are solving a real problem, your market, knowing your target customer, and having a clear ROI for investors. Now let’s focus on what a startup or small business needs on its growth journey. To keep it simple:

A Meeting of Minds

I’ve been involved with new businesses, where partners or directors say: “hadn’t we better have a contract, partnership or some kind of shareholders agreement?” I’m now very clear, having worked with a lot of accountants and especially with Hixsons, the need is to get your ideas organised first. It’s about your vision, mission and strategy: simply, what you want to do, with whom and for who. It’s the same as when you go to get a service from a supplier. Such as a website. The clearer your brief to the supplier, the better job they do for you. And if you and your fellow partner(s) and director(s) can agree your strategy first, it makes documentation much simpler. I like the phrase used in law often: meeting of the minds, (also referred to as mutual agreement, mutual assent or consensus ad idem). It’s is a phrase in contract law used to describe the intentions of the parties forming the contract. It refers to the situation where there is a common understanding in the formation of the contract. Create your strategy first, it is the bedrock for shareholder, partnership in fact any appropriate agreement. The strategy, vision and mission, agreed by the leadership team generates growth and innovation. And this is something that needs to be revisited and sustained for success.

Peter Eales BA Hons Chartered Marketer FCIM FIDM
Founder Director Dorset Business Angels
MD o i solutions limited

Love your Customers

Lead Generation, Business Development, Marketing? Love your customers.

Our local Tesco Manager is terrific because he seems to love his customers, the staff, he’s energetic and always walking around the store helping. I know Tesco isn’t American but this chap’s attitude is typical of service attitudes in many US firms. I love the attitude of American companies. I worked for one, the first 15 years of my career. And then after that with others distributing products across Europe. Yes, they can be aggressive, and I learned about lead generation, selling, direct marketing and hitting quotas to make profit. For the good of the company. But also, to love your customers. This can sound shallow, but in 2018 to really love your customer, just like a partner in life, you need to understand them 100%, their buying, and then deliver a service. I thought I would just remind myself a few key pointers in order to do this.

Love What You Are Doing

Like our Tesco Manager, it’s about energy. I could have chosen another example: this time I will name him, Don McQueen, Chairman at Dorset Business Angels. He is packed with energy. And few surprises, he is a serial entrepreneur, chairman of many companies and a successful in many businesses. Doesn’t he have problems? Yes. Does he somehow have an easier time than the rest of us? Of course not. But the trick is to make decisions to do what you want to do, be positive, and you can love what you are doing.

Know Your Customer

You need to know who to sell to. You need to know what their problem is that you can solve. It is hopeless, trying to sell something that people do not want. A heater in the desert or ice to eskimos. Be crystal clear who is your customer. The Buyer Persona is a great tool. The template, prompts you to supply the detail of exactly who is your customer, their background, profile, problems etc etc. You can then tailor your solution, product or services to help them.

The Customer Journey

The customer journey is the path and all the points of contact between a consumer and a brand, a product or a service and includes, all moments of interaction between customer and company. These can be direct such as face to face, phone, in-store and alike. Or they can be online: social, blog, email and reviews to mention just a few. Here is a useful video on how to create a Customer Journey Map.  Here is another example.

Love Your Team

People love people, and the younger workforce, millennials look at a brand purpose as much as just salary, when it comes to who to work for. Customers are not just the people who buy. They are the people who help create the products and services, in our company. So, following the same principle of getting to know the external customer, really work on trying to understand the team. Not just an annual or periodic appraisal but as with any relationship, real-time constant effort to empathise.

What Works Best?

I listened, or “attended” a great CIM Practical Insights Webinar on emailing the other day on Emailing. It made the point that effective emailing is loved by customers. It is wrong to imagine people hate email. Bad emails are unsubscribed. Good messages, which understand our customer problems, feelings and issues will work. And in fact, there is no problem emailing even weekly. I mention this, because the webinar presenter stressed the need to focus on your customer. Love them. To love them, you need to really know them, and fit them into marketing relationships including social media, blogs, events and your whole range of activities you engage with them. In 2018 to really love your customer, just like a partner in life, you need to understand them 100%, their buying, and then deliver a service. I thought I would just remind myself a few key pointers in order to do this.

Contact us if you have any questions

Peter Eales BA Hons Chartered Marketer FCIM FIDM
Founder Director Dorset Business Angels
MD o i solutions limited

Marketing

GDPR has reminded everyone about all the good ways to do marketing

A few weeks on and we are still all in one piece. A month on, and the key message I am getting from people working in marketing, who aim to engage with customers and markets, is: they are exploring all ways to communicate and listen. This means offline such as brochures, leaflets, magazines, events and so on as well as the more recent focus in recent years on digital which is now under pressure because of data privacy. GDPR has reminded everyone about all the good ways to do marketing. Know your customer journey. Create engaging marketing strategies and campaigns.

This is Good Marketing

But hang on a minute, you may be asking?! Isn’t this what every professional marketer learns in the Chartered Institute of Marketing Certificate or Diploma…Or indeed what a small business hears at events presented by enthusiastic local marketers preaching at events up and down the country week in, week out regarding “integrated marketing.” The need in other words, to use ever tool at our disposal.

A Simple Reminder

For every customer, there is a journey we or he/she travels to purchase a product or service. Here is very helpful template produced by UK Consultancy Customer Champions, speak to Colin Bates for more information.

Customer Journey Mapping

The beauty of this template is that it starts you thinking. For your business, it will be different. You will not have this identical journey, you will have more, lines across and down in likelihood and probably not the same. But it helps you create a model. And, in a GDPR world, we all think it terms of what data we need in any marketing approach. 

Budget Reallocation 

At a Dorset Business Angels meeting and a Chartered Institute of Marketing meeting recently I heard instances of budgets being reallocated post May 25th. What is happening is that with data privacy rules changing, the reach of marketers to be able to be effective with certain digital tools, means they are looking to reallocate spending. Leaflets and online spend is being re-evaluated, for example. In particular being more effective using existing digital tools.

An Effective Strategy 

Talking of being effective, the customer journey is about putting your strategy into action. Either your overall strategy or a campaign. I’ve used this before, but it works: 

Marketing and Sales Plan

The ICO

The Information Commissioner ICO, responsible for overseeing GDPR always made the point, that the 25th of May was just the beginning. There was no “big-bang”, but I am impressed how the general level of privacy awareness now, means nobody is prepared to put up with receiving or agreeing to send mass emails anymore. Or to allow the mismanagement of private data that ended up abusing all our privacy. But it’s not the rules that excite me. GDPR has reminded everyone about all the good ways to do marketing. Know your customer journey. Create engaging marketing strategies and campaigns.


Peter Eales BA Hons Chartered Marketer FCIM FIDM
Founder Director Dorset Business Angels
MD o i solutions limited

Idea - intellectual property IP

The Intellectual Property IP contribution to Company Value can be vital.

As the WORLD INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY ORGANISATION WIPO puts it: “A crucial point about legal protection of intellectual property is that it turns intangible assets into exclusive property rights, albeit for a limited period of time.” It makes intangible assets a bit more tangible, and assets tradable. You may have created new ideas. But you need to protect them. Protected by IP rights they acquire value. Your ideas then cannot be commercialised without your authorisation. You can include your IP rights on the balance sheet. When? This is something you need expert advice upon – more on this below. You may complete an IP and technology audit. Indeed, that could show your IP worth more than your “tangible” assets! At Dorset Business Angels, our Chairman Don McQueen, Vice Chairman Frank Guinn and expert colleagues in IP have been frustrated seeing young inventors failing to protect their ideas and inventions; they and other businesses frequently lack commercialisation capabilities. By this I mean, the process to introduce new product or service to the general market; understanding IP is part of this. We offer mentoring to try and redress this. And partner with experts to pass on expertise. The Intellectual Property IP contribution to company value can be vital. Of course, some directors maximise IP opportunities: they create, protect and utilise IP. Others are wasteful. You need first class legal and financial IP advice on IP. And a great management team to realise IP and valuation opportunities.

IP on the Balance Sheet

Here is a concise and excellent explanation from Metis Partners, who are a multi-disciplinary IP firm with a proven track record in the assessment, exploitation, monetisation, valuation and sale of intellectual property assets (“IP assets”). “It is often difficult for companies to get recognition for investment in IP assets on their balance sheets, despite the fact that these assets often make up in excess of 80% of the company valuation. Although certain types of IP assets can be capitalised at cost, the accounting rules don’t make this easy – typically, the most valuable IP assets such as the company brand cannot be capitalised on the balance sheet.” more on this here. Metis are also behind the excellent Intellectual Property League Table – you can read the IP 100 top hundred league table and case studies special report.

Company Valuation

If you have Intellectual Property IP it will add value to your business. So on this topic, how do you value a business? For existing businesses there are a number of ways, typically:

Earnings Multiples – a formula for how to value a business based on a multiple of net profits (the Price/Earnings (P/E) Ratio representing the value of the business divided by its post tax profits.). Accountants can usually provide the multiple for your sector.

Equity strategy that will increase the multiplier. Building business assets. But while multiples of earnings can be used as a business valuation method, there is no standard P/E ratio figure that can be used to value every business. Certain sectors, such as IT and technology have higher ratios than retail for example. If the business is reliant on a few products or has one or two key people for example, this creates a higher risk of buying the business which will also mean a lower P/E ratio.

The less reliant on an owner the business, the higher the business valuation.
Other drivers of business valuation include:

 

  • new product range capability
  • Price/margin increase opportunity (for more profits)
  • Expansion of distribution channels
  • Expansion into new markets
  • In fact a marketing mix review, assessing opportunities to leverage the capabilities of the company, this will affect the value

Silicon Valley valuation modelNick Hixson Director of Hixsons shared this with us, a more modern, and more helpful approach perhaps?

Its all about the team – so all employees have shares.

Valuation – 2 bases aggregated: Asset value – what they have created in real assts plus any IP, plus future value, calculated in simplest terms as probability of future earnings. So, if the future value is £100m, and there’s a 1% chance of it happening, value now is £1m.

Critically, release of money isn’t all in one go, nor is it predicated on future milestones. Usually, you get more once sales pass £x, profits achieve £y etc. SV valuations and release of funds are based on learnings. Learnings occur when they get better info on market, customers, whatever is critical and adapt pans fast such that probability improves. Thus is how valuations move. If probability of success becomes 2%, suddenly valuation goes from £1m to £2m.

Value

Our investors at DBA are looking for a good deal. Value. Chairman Don McQueen in a recent interview with Dorset Magazine gave his “Top Tips for a Successful Pitch”. Don is highly experienced with matters IP. Interestingly, whilst he values greatly IP and always asks about it of our presenters. He did not list it as one of the key tips. IP is valuable, don’t get me wrong, and will greatly affect company value – crucial to an investor. “Pre Money Valuation” is the value of the company before business angel investors put money into the company. It’s a matter of opinion. Typically investors wanting a lower price (understandably) and owner/entrepreneurs seeking the highest price. But there appears to be noticeably higher submitted Pre-Money-Values these days that we receive. And perhaps accounts for a good number of rejections! In the end, what is the key thing the investors are looking for? It goes back to what Don McQueen says in his Top Tips, it is ultimately the quality of the management team, that makes the difference. That is the reality. That is the view of investors. The Intellectual Property IP contribution to company value can be vital. Of course, some directors maximise IP opportunities: they create, protect and utilise IP. Others are wasteful. You need first class legal and financial IP advice on IP. And a great management team to realise IP and valuation opportunities.

Peter Eales BA Hons Chartered Marketer FCIM FIDM
Founder Director Dorset Business Angels
MD o i solutions limited

Brent Hoberman

People Love a Story, so what is yours?

How you can be ready to share your ideas at events, conference, networking, face-to-face then promote this online? I attended the UK Business Angels Association UKBAA Summit at Canada House in Trafalgar Square a year or so ago: there was a real buzz to the UKBAA Summit event. This was a terrific event because each speaker really knew their stuff, the content was relevant and speakers first rate. Many speakers had a great story to tell on investing success and even failures, but still fascinating and helpful to the audience. There were entrepreneurs, people interested in investing, finance and the whole angel, VC and crowdfunding area which is booming in the UK, and in fact globally. Speaker after speaker, individually and in panels gave very focused insights. And in networking sessions everyone wanted to know who was who, and might they help with a deal. Money talks. People love a story so what is yours?

It got me thinking, when I saw speakers such as Brent Hoberman, co-founder of lastminute.com, and Founders Factory; Gerard Grech CEO of Tech City, and Lara Morgan all crackling with energy: people were on the edge of their seats listening to these guys and totally engaged. What I was thinking was how a top performer in their field exudes a confidence and class that is just obvious to the audience? This is similar to higher levels people have associated with certain top sportsmen such as Lionel Messi or Roger Federer. The latter two and the top performers at the conference share a focus, total belief, incredible competence (sure!), but must have worked harder than most and combined skill with honed methods to be good at capturing our imagination.

The Story

Even so, it could be that great conference speakers and succesful business people have just been lucky. Would we have listened to their story or anything they had to say when they first started out? I actually think we would. Not necessarily on the topics they speak about now, but it is pretty well established now in business-thinking, that a strong vision is based on a firm set of values or a clear “why” (see Simon Sinek’s video Ted Talk), which drives a leader’s passion. So an Alan Sugar or Richard Branson would  have been able to deliver a rousing “stump speech” even early on in their careers. People love a story and if you are clear about what is important to you, your company and vision, then it is worth having your stump speech ready.

In the USA they call it a a stump speech is a standard campaign speech used by someone running for public office. The term derives from the early American custom in which candidates campaigned from town to town and stood upon a sawed off tree stump to deliver their speech.

And if you are able to prove to people and to yourself you make happen, it isn’t just words. That is powerful.

Clear Pitch, Story and Offer

Why are you doing this? Your reason. And why  should people choose you? What does the market say about your product? And here are a few key marketing questions I always ask myself about a pitch:
  • What is the problem to solve, what is the solution?
  • Who suffers from this/benefits from this? A profile of your target customer “a persona“.
  • Elevator Pitch – overarching message, “one line” + 4 subpoints. Here is a great video to support this.
  • How is it differentiated? cheaper, better, different – or possibly a combination.

If “pitch” is a word you are not used to then, change this for “offer”. What is it you are offering to people.

Support your Story Online

So when you or any of us go off to an event, conference or to meet people face-to-face, have we got something about our story online for people to look at? A website page, case study, or at least some contact details. You need a website, social media business pages ready – LinkedIn, Twitter and perhaps Facebook, these are probably the minimum online resources you need to share your story. Plus of course some protocols and basic company rules of what is and is not going to be posted – words and design guidelines. A blog is ideal to start sharing your story, articles and helpful content. The picture can be built up with a little thought ahead of any event you attend. Then taking a few photos and posting them online will get you noticed.
Contact us if you have any questions
Peter Eales BA Hons Chartered Marketer FCIM FIDM
Founder Director Dorset Business Angels
MD o i solutions limited
Peter Eales

Creating with purpose gives value

That’s me, making a sandcastle. Creating, bringing something into existence from nothing, or from very little, what a joy. It may not look like it! The first picture I have of me. Friends say, “you always looked worried.” Fact was, I was thinking about the next job in hand. Organising a game. Making something else. So not exactly worried, more concerned: how do you make a cracking sandcastle? Or put sticks into wet sand upright for goal-posts or a wicket? Problems. Solve them and you have fun. Or avoid being told off. Or discover interesting things, beautiful places and write stories. These days, creating, bringing something into existence from nothing, or from very little, for example a new idea, a story, a product or project. How do you do it? It may sound simple, but if you understand the creative business process clearly, you improve innovation and business planning. It’s surprising how people get it wrong, how others do it brilliantly but cannot organise it more formally. Create successful projects or create something from an idea – many people fail to do this, here is how to solve that. Creating with purpose gives value, brings something into existence from nothing, from very little, or from a new combination. You can create successful campaigns, projects, products or services from ideas or solving problems with an effective process.

What’s the creative block?

This problem, I see falls into a number of categories at work. The main ones, I find are:

  • People in an established, large business may not be used to innovation
  • Personnel/staff may not be used to innovation, and feel unable to create ideas
  • Poor organisation culture – ideas are squashed
  • The boss does all the thinking
  • Health – shorter term, lack of energy, fitness and sleep
  • Motivation
  • How to do it

I’m not going to deal with all of these now. Let’s look at the essential issue of “creating” in a business.

There’s Nothing New?

I’ve always thought Jeffrey Baumgartner, to be unparalleled in his writing on creativity. Here is an extended quote from him, with his definition of creativity:

“Creativity is combining two or more existing notions in your mind in order to create an all new notion. In other words, creativity is about playing with bits and pieces of information that are stored away in your mind and putting two or more of them together in an all new way to. This is fascinating when you think about it. Every idea we have ever had, from the dawn of the human race until today, has been built on existing ideas. At some point, a very long time ago, a homo sapien found that if she put a chunk of animal on the fire, it tasted better, stayed edible longer and she needed to eat less frequently when she ate cooked foods.”From: <https://www.creativejeffrey.com/creativity/intro.php>

Valuable Tools

It’s debatable how completely new or re-used your creation is. But Jeffrey writes extensively on setting challenges, problem solving and producing creative solutions. What comes out of this is, stepping outside of situations, looking for models, templates, processes and producing answers. Create exciting ways of making ideas, services and products to make things better. Make money, or situations better.

So What? Is there a Problem?

In a previous article I wrote about: The “So What Test” Why wait for someone else to suggest it is “this” or “that way”?  Just remember, ask “So what? Is there a problem? Does it offer the customer a great solution, if not, don’t bother.” It’s the question we ask at Dorset Business Angels, of presentation pitches, asking for funding. Just as the dragons do on BBC Dragons Den. Don’t get carried away creating a business, asking for money, if people will not buy your product because it is not needed. Get creative on your favourite hobby or another outlet for your creativity.

Enough?

Once we create: work, products and so on, the results need distributing and maintaining, plus skillsets of all kinds in addition to creative talents are essential. Analytical, interpersonal, leadership and many more talents are complimentary including less creative aspects of marketing of course, for example in the digital arena. Creativity in itself or non-creative tasks are not per se “good”, it depends on the context. As Peter Drucker, the most pre-eminent business thinker or the 20th century wrote: “Because the purpose of business is to create a customer, the business enterprise has two–and only two–basic functions: marketing and innovation. Marketing and innovation produce results; all the rest are costs.” Two things strike me here. First Drucker says create a customer. Secondly innovation is in essence a creative process. In a world fearful of automation the dreaded “ai” or #ai, creativity and innovation is essential for profit, for business, and needs the creative people. Creating with purpose gives value, brings something into existence from nothing, from very little, or from a new combination. Remember you can create successful campaigns, projects, products or services from ideas or solving problems with an effective process.

 

 

Peter Eales BA Hons Chartered Marketer FCIM FIDM

A Founder Director Dorset Business Angels

MD o i solutions limited

The Wild West

Angel Investment is not the Wild West

I heard Nick Hewer, ex The Apprentice voice-over an advert warning about rogue investment  scams. And wisely advising people of the risks of silly investments. Good advice. However, every business we work for started with investment. Our pensions rely on sound investments. So Nick or any adviser’s warning about risk is about understanding where you are putting your money. It’s why at Dorset Business Angels, we are part of UKBAA – UK Business Angels Association, who work with the Government, HMRC and the FCA to regulate the investment into the start-up and growth business markets – i.e. the angel investment which is certainly not the Wild West! The process experienced angels follow – people who invest into start-ups and early stage growth businesses – is in fact similar to that of a Fund Manager investing in large companies, bonds or other sectors of the market. Let me share some insights.

How a Fund Manager Invests Our Money

If you, like me you have pensions, savings and ISAs then you will have working behind these products a Fund Manager. Investopedia is the largest financial education website in the world.  So first on to the WHO are Fund Managers? Investopedia has a nice succinct definition of Fund Manager Responsibilities: “Primarily, fund managers research and determine the best stocksbonds or other securities to fit the strategy of the fund as outlined in the prospectus, then buy and sell them. At larger funds, the fund manager will have a support staff of analysts and traders who will perform some of these activities.” More. And KAPLAN SCHEWSER (the world leader in providing premier Chartered Financial Analyst exam prep materials), has a useful few words on “What Does a Fund Manager Do?” some key parts echo what I will write about what angel investors do in a while, “A large component of a fund management position is research… companies…meet with investment analysts and company managers to better understand pertinent financial information. They also likely have a team of financial analysts…to do more in-depth analysis on firms, markets, and economic variables. This helps them make recommendations and predictions about future prices and trends.” More.

It’s Not So Different

Fund managers have hundreds of hours experience. Angel investors, have decades of experience in business.
So WHO are business angels?
A typical profile would include:

  • All HNW and / or Sophisticated Investors more
  • Successful “exited” entrepreneurs.
  • Retired senior executives.
  • Family or inherited money.
  • Those who are involved with their own business with access to funds.
  • Those willing to invest time as well as cash.
  • Wanting to “give back” and have fun!

What do Business Angels Do?
Like fund managers, this broadly includes:

  • Research for plans, pitches and companies from networks – in our case this includes accountants, investors, financial services companies and directly from companies seeking investment.
  • Angel networks usually analyse the plans, financials and forecast and sift through before selecting the best for presenting to members.
  • At pitch events, rigorous questioning leaves the better businesses taken to the next stage for investors to do due diligence. Investor angels similar to fund managers and analysts will usually have sector specific areas of skill and experience that they stick to.
  • Angels do not rely on one investment, they usually make several, building relationships, and a portfolio over the years. For more on how this, read the Dorset Business Angels About Us page.

People and Business Investment

So angel investment is not the wild west.  There is a higher level of risk with start-up businesses and those in early growth stages. Equally the opportunities for growth are there too. The process experienced angels follow – people who invest into start-ups and early stage growth businesses – is in fact very similar to that of a Fund Manager investing in stocks, bonds, or securities.  It starts with broad based research, more detailed analysis, numbers, people, due diligence, managing risks and opportunities and creating a portfolio over a number of years. And of course it’s about investing in people and business.

Peter Eales BA Hons Chartered Marketer FCIM FIDM
Founder Director Dorset Business Angels
MD o i solutions limited