Winner

The best learning opportunity, losing, it can be a winner

I had to stop playing tennis for a while because I was just too competitive. I was off the Richter scale. They say Aussies and South Africans are competitive. I am worse, or better however you describe it: I am very competitive. But I don’t mean to boast. I just am. Can’t help it. Well, actually now, I can. I learned to.  I read a great article in the Sunday Times recently on John McEnroe on losing. His recurring nightmare, of losing against Ivan Lendl in 1984 after being two sets up. To deal with this obsession, you have to admit it and embrace it. A bit like an alcoholic admits they are an alcoholic. I saw this as a bad thing. I did too. I ended up unable to win as much as I should, due to rage, and emotion. Now I play tennis, I do business, with control. I was reminded of this reading a fantastic article the other day by Matthey Syed, “Nadal A Master of Tennis And Himself” here. I will write more about control another time, but here I want to focus on one key aspect of sporting and business motivation which is the best learning opportunity, losing. Approached intelligently, it is a winning opportunity.

What is Winning and Losing

It may seem obvious to state that winning is when you gain a result or victory in a competition. And losing is the opposite. But I think competitive minded, winning minded people are hard on themselves. They do not hide from failure. But there is an alternative. That is what helped me out of the slough of despond! And the misery I used to inflict upon myself and others. I am still desperate in defeat, and awful with a partner when we lose. But I now have some answers beyond, just ranting and raving or worse, looking for excuses.

What to do when you Lose

First, own it. It sounds to a Brit, a little American, but it is important. It is your fault. Or perhaps, to be a little less dramatic, you will claim credit when you win, so just be part of whatever result happens now. Stick with it. What does this mean? Well what struck me with one of my heroes in tennis Roger Federer, even in defeat was how he was always analysing! Once in a Davis Cup match defeat he gave a detailed description of his performance for the Friday, then went on to rectify this with a stunning win on the Saturday! In other words:

  • You can only begin to improve with a cool head
  • Look at what is or what happened
  • Dissect the issues
  • Replay and forward play situations again
  • Look for help if needs be:
    • videos
    • mentors
    • experts
    • online
    • write down
    • friends and family
  • Write a strategy for situations i.e. what to do in given situations
  • Practice effective decision making – see this video by Nick Hixson on decisions
  • Have a note-book such as OneNote or a notepad to plan what to do

Motivation

There is nothing like losing to motivate you to win! If I ever need extra motivation, I just picture a competitor, team, or people in a situation where we have lost and it inspires me. Often, losing occurs through failure to plan or concentrate. It isn’t just about effort though, it is also about learning from experience and other peoples’ failures. Here is the fascinating Museum of Failure. I am determined to win, don’t get me wrong! But I regard losing as my fault. Something I can do something about. It’s the motivation to then succeed in future. Forget the past. As my dad said, “there is no such place as “if only” or “if” “. Except, in terms of how to improve, I use this acronym:
F – Failure
A – Analyse
D – Decisions
E – Embrace
S – Strategy
It reminds me to assess what happened not as “bad luck” outside of my control. But to understand,

  • forensically, but simply what happened
  • did I follow my planned strategy? If not sort it for next time.
  • make some decisions on what to do to rectify and improve, if at all
  • feel comfortable with it, this can take time, we all get upset!
  • get a strategy in place for the decisions and all the ideas as appropriate

Just to be clear, this is for anything in life, work and home or sport. Winning and losing happens all the time.

Don’t be scared of Failure…or Success!

You will have heard this before, don’t fear failure. Strangely enough, I think this comes partly from the fact that when human beings are aroused, or put in dangerous situations, our adrenaline flows. This quite naturally makes us feel nervous, sometime shaky. When I am playing sport, I welcome it, in matchplay, and bounce up and down on my feet to spread it into my body. It helps us to be alert. But we do not want to be paralysed by nerves or to relaxed! Ideally, then we have a strategy and are focused. We can just as easily become scared of winning too frequently. This needs good concentration, systems, professionalism and intelligence. But frankly it is inevitable loss will come from time to time and one key aspect of sporting and business motivation which is the best learning opportunity, losing. Approached intelligently, it is a winning opportunity.

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

Rick Wakeman

Develop your skills in an age of multiple careers keep learning

Rick Wakeman was fantastic on Desert Island Discs, the other day. One of the many memorable things he said was how the ability to sight read music after leaving The Royal College of Music, was essential for a session musician. This enabled him to perform with stars such as David Bowie, Brotherhood of Man, T, Rex, Elton John, and Al Stewart. All before a hugely successful career with The Strawbs, Yes and then his solo work. Jimmy Page of Led Zeppelin and Carol King songsmith who created Tapestry, both laboured as session musicians. I have always admired craftsmen and women. To develop your skills, however talented you are, it takes time, blood, sweat and tears. In an age of AI and multiple careers work on your craft, keep learning. What are some of the lessons of life-long learning?

My most painful lesson

Not long after becoming a salesman and seeing the marketing director on stage, I wanted to be him, do his job. When I achieved that, it was great, but the painful lesson was afterwards. Running our own consultancy: when out of corporate life, business owners would ask me as a marketing expert to do “stuff”. I felt I was found wanting. I had climbed the corporate ladder and forgotten or in fact never learnt the detail to a level I was happy with. So, I had to learn quickly. Fortunately, with Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM) resources, and hard work, I did so. Things like digital skills. When you run your own business, you must make things work. As a marketer, you get a depth and breadth of learning you miss in larger organisations. However, with the larger organisations I still work with, this maintains that strategic insight. So now I have the best of both worlds: a depth and breadth.

Some things don’t change

Despite all the talk about automation, multiple careers, increased competition, and challenges caused by online making businesses making commerce faster and easier to set-up, many things do not change. With experience, patterns emerge repeatedly. The key issue with project failure for example being that it is usually down to people. Poor communications: bad briefs, teamwork, or vested interest.

It’s You First

You. I have come to admire Andy Murray. I love tennis. Roger Federer is my favourite, but I do admire Andy Murray. One thing I notice with him is his note-keeping, his private notes to himself. I am a great note writer and list writer. If I had to write one word above all others, most days, it would be, “you”. It covers a multitude of sins (so to speak)! First, remember to ask the other person i.e. “you” about them. Don’t talk about “myself”. When you walk along and overhear a conversation how often are people talking about themselves! Ask questions and you learn and benefit. It’s great for business and you feel great having done it. The other aspect of you, is that in business, your business or team cannot function well if you are not effective. Don’t blame the business, look at yourself. A little like the recent election disaster for Theresa May. It was you Theresa…not them.

Keep fit in mind

As I said, it takes time to develop your skills, however talented you are, it takes time, blood, sweat and tears. In an age of AI and multiple careers work on your craft, keep learning. I recommend using tools such as notebooks, I use OneNote, Evernote, actual notebooks, talk and listen to trusted friends and keep changing. It hurts but like keeping fit, it’s good for you and business!

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

Peter Eales Chartered Marketer CIM

Why be a CIM Chartered Marketer what are the benefits?

In an online age when you can grab content such as videos and answers from Google immediately from the internet, is there still value in professional bodies? Specifically, in marketing, and for marketers, why be a CIM Chartered Marketer what are the benefits? It is that CIM membership enables members to better seize market opportunities and manage risks. I joined when I left corporate life to set up our own business, to ensure I stayed up-to-date with the very latest in marketing. And to network with other marketers. Subsequently I became active in the branches, was a Branch and Regional Chair, and now am a Chartered Marketer and Fellow. The answer then to the question I posed is: why be a CIM Chartered Marketer what are the benefits? It is that CIM membership enables members to better seize market opportunities and manage risks. We can grow business and protect our own and clients’ organisations as we remain professional, effective, up-to-date and compliant.

The Benefits of CIM

I think they include the following which is not an exhaustive list!

Chartered Marketer status – recognises those marketers achieving the highest level in our profession – more
Events and Networking opportunitiesview
CIM Sector Interest Groups SIGs
CIM Regions to service you locally
CIM International networks
CIM mentoring – Boost your professional development. Empower and guide fellow marketers.
CIM exchange content hub – latest ideas, thinking and insights created and curated by CIM, the world’s largest community of marketers
CIM webinars – practical marketing knowledge for your day-to-day marketing
CIM marketing expert – a guide to effective marketing
CIM resources – including bookshop and Chartered Marketers directory
Professional recognition – professional recognition as a CIM member through designatory letters on your business cards and email sign-off membership types
CPD – to remain professional, effective, up-to-date and compliant.
Discounts – As a member of CIM, you can get up to 20% off from our marketing bookshop; up to 10% on training courses; and discounted rates on the Committee of Advertising Practice’s online training programmes, as well as meetings, conferences and events at Moor Hall Conference Centre.
Legal Helpline – Expert legal advice on business, employment and personal issues provided by the UK’s leading legal advice specialists
Professional Liability Insurance  – Exclusive rates are available to help protect your company in the event of claims relating to alleged negligence, errors or omissions
Market Research Resources – extensive resources from the library and online databases – view

This is just a flavour….

You get out what you put in to any organisation. Why be a CIM Chartered Marketer what are the benefits? It is that CIM membership enables members to better seize market opportunities and manage risks. The CIM has top experts, academic, professional, corporate, SME, disruptors, not-for-profit, UK and international. It has critics and it has plaudits. But my view is, that if you have an issue, or criticism, do something about it and get involved. Chris Daly CEO of the CIM has always been very willing to listen and respond to opinions. I am a Fellow at the Institute of Direct and Digital Marketing too. This is also a very useful organisation with excellent resources. More on various marketing societies and institutes here.

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

Content

Great content undertand your audience give them what they want

“It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen.” George Orwell: Nineteen Eighty Four (1949) opening lines. From 30 great opening lines in literature, The Telegraph.
Wonderful writing, but to call it “good content” would be as silly as calling The Lark Ascending “good content”. I do get irritated by what seems the overuse of this term “content”. Do we think, “I must have some good content when I go on a date with this prospective girlfriend/boyfriend?” In fairness in an age of automation and mass communication, we need an all-embracing term for this “stuff.” So, what’s great content: it is something helpful, interesting and perhaps even entertaining. Understand your audience, and give them what they want. Christmas Day, a Wedding, any special event, a good piece of copy, a website page, a targeted email all need good content. Some things haven’t changed since the dawn of time, some change with technology and innovation. There is more focus on content, the word, in recent years, so I thought I would look at the importance of good content. But separate what has always been important from more recent online aspects. Because simply, great content: is something helpful, interesting and perhaps even entertaining. Understand your audience, and give them what they want.

Is there anybody out there?

The definition of content is information of material, something contained in what you deliver which might be written or an event for example. In business, the key thing is who is this stuff for. Charity, retail, consumers, engineering, UK, overseas…you understand…in other words, what sectors, what country and so on. And to use a current popular term, create a Buyer Persona profile – a representation of your ideal customer – so you know what content to produce for them. The phrase “it’s all about you” is a good one to keep in mind. And it’s easy to forget in a busy work environment, when we all have targets to hit, products, services and content to share with our audience. But do they really want to hear more and more and more about the latest z factor 3 fastest and bestest on the market we’ve got to offer? Well, actually they might, but at the right time. First we all as the audience, as people choose what we want to go to, enjoy, read, buy, dip into. And intelligent suppliers get to understand that.

The Essence of good Content Creation

  • A great image or video, which is relevant, funny, engaging and interesting.
  • A strong headline with impact.
  • Sub-headlines which are clear to guide your reader for easy scanning.
  • Connect with your targets. You empathise, you understand their problem and perhaps give solutions. Give some answers to the problem. With actions people can take-away.
  • A good title tag, meta description which summarises the article or page.
  • Helpful links to other content

Some Other Practices to Avoid

  • Pages with no original content, or limited original content.
  • Scraped content – taking content from other places on the web and publishing it on your own site.
  • Participating in affiliate programs without adding sufficient value.
  • Loading pages with irrelevant keywords.

It’s not what you do

Coming back to my original point, about the overuse of the term content but accepting the need for description for material and things we deliver to customers. Automation increasing will be used by all of us to deliver content. It relies on mapping the way people do things, how we buy, along the customer journey. How To Create A Customer Journey Map. And sharing helpful content at each point on that journey, what is described as the funnel. Some of the skills that work well in this new world include:

  • Customer journey mapping.
  • Inbound marketing – not pushing out to people but having useful content people can find on their journey.
  • Social Media – content creation, targeting and a growing list of skills.
  • Storytelling – a nice video here with Julian Friedmann on the art of storytelling.
  • And if course digital marketing – Google The Digital Garage, great self-help videos.

All this is great content: is something helpful, interesting and perhaps even entertaining. Understand your audience, and give them what they want.

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

chesspiece - strategy

Effective Personal and Business Strategy

How to do strategy. Avoid tactics, have clear goals, direction, and review the situation for your relative capabilities and resources then go and win. It’s how I look at my tennis matches each week. Work or play, strategy gets me from here to where I want to go. The problem with articles on strategy, and indeed writing about it, is that it can easily stray off onto other topics – especially if you are in marketing. So, let’s avoid detailed marketing plans and keep to the essence of strategy. It derives from the Greek word strategia “generalship”, strategos – stratos “army” and agein “to lead” (Oxford dictionary).

Good Strategies means Choice

Generals, CEOs or you and me when we have done “good strategy” is one thing i.e. after the event, you can look back at success. But what intrigues me is the real skill in strategy is being put into a business or any situation and deep in the thick of it, producing a strategy that works. How do you do this? So, what do you start with? What do you do and not do? In a competitive world, where you and I are busy, and impatient, what do we remind ourselves to do, under pressure to be “strategic” but not to procrastinate, or equally to be impetuous? And why bother?

The Essence of Strategy

My answer to this is, first, be clear what your objective is. This is not a strategy, but you need a SMART goal: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Timely. Strategy is about getting from where you are now to that goal. You may set goals of course. I do with my work and play. I write stuff down. And then like a tube map a strategy gets me there. As this excellent video says strategy is about asking yourself 4 questions:

  1. Where do we compete?
  2. What unique value do we bring?
  3. What resources and capabilities do we utilise to deliver that value?
  4. How do we sustain this?

My shorthand for this is, REVIEW, USPs, RESOURCES, IMPLEMENTATION
A point here on the importance of focus. The entrepreneurs and business people I admire are good at decision-making – they thrive on it. Nick Hixson has a great video on it
here. Follow the 80/20 rule i.e. the Pareto Principle that 20% of the invested input is responsible for 80% of the results obtained.

Great Strategists

The great generals who mastered strategy all had vision, were decisive and were great leaders. Notable military strategist include Sun Tzu who wrote The Art of War, Napoleon probably the greatest modern general, and later President/General Eisenhower, to name just three. There are great political strategists such as Gandhi a visionary, Martin Luther King and right back to Aristotle. In two sports I love cricket, Mike Brearley was a brilliant captain, he is interviewed here. Roger Federer is a brilliant tennis player, who makes thousands of decisions and is above all a great sports strategist, as described in this video. I feature him on my strategy Pinterest board here.

Find some Tools that work for you

The biggest challenge I find is staying in control. Don’t let tools, templates or even agencies and advisors take over. When you read about Napoleon or even Branson and alike, they wrote their own script. From years of working with agencies and suppliers in marketing and indeed across all areas of business, I am wary of experts. But I also welcome genuine innovative help. As Steve Barker, my colleague in our enterprise TakeControl says, you stay in control. The best advice is to always keep your objective clearly in mind. Henry Mintzberg is a marketing hero of mine, for his Emergent Strategy philosophy of adapting your strategy – being agile – to customer and market conditions. Here are some practical strategy tools for you:

  • For new businesses and startups see Dorset Business Angels Resources page here
  • My mind-map is simple way to plan your strategy here
  • A more detailed strategy from Professor Malcolm McDonald – How To Create a Strategic Marketing Plan here
  • For CIM Members – How to Create a Strategic Marketing Plan here And How to Deliver a Smart Strategy here
  • 12 MANAGE has some great tools – create a free account here

More Resources for You

Strategy Videos
Hixsons Business Advisors – Strategy Nick Hixson, Peter Drucker Society Europe Associate.

The Five Competitive Forces That Shape Strategy – Michael E. Porter Professor Harvard University.

How Strategy can really work – by Roger Martin.

What is Strategy? By David Kryscynski.

Good Strategy Bad Strategy – Richard P. Rumelt.

Strategy SlideShare

What if Peter Drucker Taught Enterprise 2.0 Strategy?

Of strategies, deliberate and emergent – Henry Mintzberg.

What is Strategy? Michael E Porter, Harvard Professor.

Strategy Blogs, Twitter Sites and Good Places to Visit for Thought Leader Content

The Thinkers 50 – launched in 2001 the recognised global ranking of management thinkers. It has been published every two years since.

Twitter Top 100 – most followers

Prospect Magazine World Thinkers 2015 – most influential list – includes Russell Brand at #4 and Thomas Picketty at #1.

Strategy Marketing Content

Content Marketing Institute – developing a strategy

Strategy History including military strategy

Sun Tzu – The Art of War documentary video

War and Business Strategy – the parallels.

33 War Strategies that help you win in life.

Help

Good luck and as I said…How to do strategy. Avoid tactics, have clear goals, direction, and review the situation for your relative capabilities and resources then go and win. As Sun Tzu says, “In the midst of chaos there is always opportunity”, I would say, that is especially where there is opportunity!

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

Angel Investors

Can I be a Dorset Business Angel Investor?

Yes, you can be a Dorset Business Angel Investor if you are either a High Net Worth or Sophisticated Investor. See more on our Dorset Business Angels (DBA) website about this. Membership payment rate is £30 per calendar year, invoiced/due annually on 1 January each year (irrespective of when in the year you join) with no upfront joining fee. The Dorset Business Angels network operates in and around Dorset, bringing entrepreneurs, investors and business catalysts together to accelerate the growth of start-up businesses.

Membership Benefits from UKBAA

Dorset Business Angels are registered members of the UK Business Angels Association, the national trade association representing angel and early stage investment in the UK. This membership benefits includes:

  • access deal flow, regular exchange between investors and those engaged in the angel finance market
  • access to Government(s), key opinion and decision makers
  • raising awareness and promoting angel investment
  • promoting good practice and establishing industry standards
  • as a resource of information, expertise, market intelligence, key trends for both investors, entrepreneurs and their advisers.

Other DBA member benefits

  • access to four Investor Dinners
  • access to the JustInvesting online platform where our pitch deals are loaded and shared with members, plus opportunities to share in funding rounds from previous pitches. Please see our DBA Investor Guide if you need any help on how to access the platform or email moc.tenretnitbnull@nniugknarf who manages this for our members
  • notification of deal opportunities outside of events that arise via on-line communications
  • news and opportunities from UK Business Angels 30+ networks, VCs and crowdfunding partners plus links to our network of financial partners
  • access to our partner offers for example Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra events we can special access to – we highlight to members as these arise

UK Business Angels Association

Dorset Business Angels are members of UK Business Angels Association UKBAA covering Dorset and the south of England. Jenny Tooth CEO of UKBAA speaks here about the organisation. UKBAA is the national trade association for angel and early-stage investment, representing over 160 member organisations and around 18,000 investors. Business angels in the UK collectively invest an estimated £1.5 billion per anum and are therefore the UK’s largest source of investment for startups and early-stage businesses seeking to grow.

UKBAA’s members include angel networks, syndicates, individual investors, early-stage VCs, equity crowdfunding platforms, accelerators, professional advisers and intermediaries. UKBAA acts as the voice of the angel investment community and strives to build and connect the angel investment ecosystem so as to ensure a coherent landscape for financing high-potential entrepreneurs.

Our Events and Pitches for 2017

We run dinners every 3 months for our Dorset Business Angel Investor members and pitchers. There are four companies who present their business plans for investment at the beginning of the evening from 6.30 p.m. until 8.30 p.m. for investors to consider if they wish to invest. This is followed by a dinner and coffee, where investors discuss the presentation, socialise and share ideas. Our events for 2017 can be seen here. And this year once again we have another Conference following our other two highly successful conferences, more here.

How the investment process works

When you come to one of our Dinner pitch events, you will see that businesses pitch by presenting for about 10 minutes. Pitchers then answer questions, which you as a new member may contribute too if you wish. The presenters leave the room, which gives a chance for investors to discuss their pitch. My colleague Frank Guinn, chairs this discussion. He will ask investors, if there is any interest? This does not mean, we are asking for definite investment from anyone at this time, merely expressions of interest to take it further. People will usually put up their hands to let him know. You may for example be interested and show an interest. We collect the names of interested potential investors and a person to lead this next stage. In some ways this is too early to call the first steps of due diligence, which technically it is. It can include:

  • Reviewing financial, business plans and documents in more detail, if necessary with NDAs
  • Agreeing in the investor team allocation of roles, dependent upon experience, time, level of potential investment and other factors – there may be a lead investor chairing the group
  • Meeting the directors and perhaps a site visit
  • If all is going well, contributing ideas to the team
  • Again if all is going well, the investors will then begin to take a view on the level of investment each person wishes to make versus what is on offer by way of equity and any other involvement with the company
  • The offer of investment can then be made to the directors of the company and hopefully a deal is struck with agreed targets, milestones and a business plan

If you have an questions about becoming a Dorset Business Angel Investor contact us  or Frank Guinn at ku.oc.slengassenisubtesrodnull@nniug.knarf and equally or if you have a business plan you can email us.

Contact me if you would like to know more.

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

Expect Chaos don’t be Chaotic in your Startup

chaotic Bert Rainbow Bert

Should you expect chaos or calm for your startup? Reid Hoffman the billionaire co-founder of LinkedIn wrote recently that to successfully grow your business, you must “expect chaos”. However, whilst you may expect chaos don’t be chaotic in your startup. How does this chaos manifest itself? Staff turning up at 3pm? Plumbing failing every day? This may be a tad extreme. Although, you may, like me have experiences of similar or exact situations like this. What he is getting at, I believe quite correctly, is that “Plan A” never works. And when the rubber hits the road, you should constantly adapt and make fast decisions, or fail. It may be rather colourful language to call it chaotic. Although at times it is. If you can be agile, and ready  to expect chaos don’t be chaotic in your startup but be ready with your strategy and team.  Adapt to the chaos to be successful and grow. Here are some ideas on what to do to avoid chaos and get organised.

Get Organised

I work with many entrepreneurs, who buzz with ideas, but some are disorganised. Thinking up a great idea is fine, but to make money, it’s about generating customers, cash and of course netting out profit. Experienced entrepreneurs recognise the milestones for getting organised. And also the key players who are needed. This is not a universal blueprint for all startups but, I’d say it reflects many company’s allocation of tasks for getting your startup organised:

  • The entrepreneur – ideas generation, decision maker, inspiration, leadership
  • Chairman – board strategy, fundraiser, shareholder, stakeholder and external relations – an interview with the McDonald’s Chairman. Difference between CEO and Chairman video.
  • CEO/MD via the business Plan – setting strategy, culture, leadership, financial oversight. Video on the role of the startup CEO. Another startup CEO video.
  • Division/Department Heads – formulate operational tactics. Building your startup team video.

This is quite and instructive video on what a board should do, if a little robotic! The role of startup boards – video.

Chaos

So, we may get organised, but what is this chaotic world Reid Hoffman is alluding to? Why did the LinkedIn billionaire describe the startup business environment as chaos? Chaos comes from the Greeks, and refers to the formless or void state preceding the creation of the universe or cosmos. I suggest these are some of the challenges a startup and indeed any business faces:

  • Unpredictability
  • Competition
  • Resource are limited

A marketer would use Porter’s Five Forces model here which highlights:

  • Potential entrants
  • Buyers
  • Substitute products
  • Supplier power

And on wider scale a PESTEL analysis of these factors:

  • Political
  • Economic
  • Social
  • Technology
  • Economic
  • Legal

The difference these days is not in the issues but how you deal with them. What you do as a team. There was probably never any point in producing a plan, who reads them? Unless you first work out what you will do with it when you have identified the issues. So, in the above cases, you first identify what’s happening on regular basis. Perhaps with a short team session. Then agree, what are the THREATS and OPPORTUNITIES and then your STRENGTHS and WEAKNESSES to deal with these. Why do this? Because when problems occur you will have a better chance to have rehearsed what to do. Many decisions will of course need to be made based finding out more information still, “as stuff happens.”

Decision Making in a Chaotic World

Working with wealthy, successful business people, from SMEs, PLCs, Government and Professional Services – in other words from all backgrounds, I see various characters but some common traits in decision-making. And decision-making strikes me as a critical factor in business. Is it just good judgement? In other words, intuitive skill gained with age? Possibly in part, but I think there is also in part a science to it. In other words, you can break-down, forensically, aspects to problem solving in doing business, the key to growing a business. And this is where decisions need to be made. Here are a few ideas for you. First, our Pinterest Page here has infographics, SlideShare and videos for you. Some other top thinkers and contributors on decisions we recommend are:
Nick Hixson – fantastic videos on decisions and heuristics i.e. rules of thumb for good decisions
Ted Talks about decision-making here including AI
More advanced –  Experts and Decision Making: First Steps Towards a Unifying Theory of Decision Making in Novices, Intermediates and Experts here

Expect the Unexpected

Henry Mintzberg strategy guru says plan for the unexpected, see his model here. Essentially have your objective in mind and just keep adjusting very regularly. If you can be agile, and ready  to expect chaos don’t be chaotic in your startup but be ready with your strategy and team.  Adapt to the chaos to be successful and grow.

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

Peter Vision

Vision, mission and objectives – do they matter?

Vision, mission and objectives – do they matter? They do in passionate, close-knit teams with a mission to hit growth and financial objectives. Directors and shareholders need them for more expansion and perhaps debt funding opportunities. When an organisation gets bigger or you are part of it and hear words like vision, mission and objectives in planning meetings, it can seem boring. It can also be bad leadership and management if the terms are used inappropriately. We work with people who have new ideas and ask, how do we get funding or interest for our idea? The answer is, write down a plan so it can be shared. And within it there is no golden rule saying you must have particular headings or paragraphs. However there are many templates, formats, websites and guides on the internet – and here are some. And by looking at lots of these guides to business plans some key areas of information are clearly needed. Plus, by talking to people who have been successful, entrepreneurs and also the finance community, a picture emerges. I am just looking at the vision, mission and objectives: why they are important, and how they differ, and can help focus your planning.

Vision

A vision statement gives your organization’s objectives, ideally based on external foresight, intended to guide internal decision-making. A vision statement is not limited to business organizations and may also be used by non-profit organisations. A vision statement is a company’s road map, indicating both what the company wants to become and guiding initiatives by setting a defined direction for the company’s growth. Vision statements ideally have less revisions than operational goals which may be updated constantly. Vision statements can range in length from short sentences to paragraphs – which is not ideal!  One definition of a vision statement according to BusinessDictionary is “An aspirational description of what an organisation would like to achieve or accomplish in the mid-term or long-term future. It is intended to serve as a clear guide for choosing current and future courses of action.” The difference between a vision and mission statement is nicely explained in this video by Bruce D Johnson.

Mission 2

Mission

In answering Vision, mission and objectives – do they matter? Next do you have a purpose? A mission statement is a short statement of your organization’s purpose, with the scope of operations: what kind of product or service you provide, primary customers or market, and geographical region of operation. It may include a short statement of such fundamental matters as the organization’s values or philosophies, the business’s main competitive advantages. It is important that a mission statement is not confused with a vision statement. The reason why it is important that a mission statement and vision statement are not confused is because they both serve different purposes. Vision statements tend to be more related to discussing where a company aims to be in the future.

Objectives

Objectives should be SMART. This means the measure has a Specific purpose, Achievable, Relevant and Time phased. And objectives are best considered in terms of KPIs. A performance indicator or key performance indicator (KPI) is a type of performance measurement. KPIs evaluate the success of an organization or of a particular activity. It’s a level down from the mission and sometimes success is defined in terms of making progress toward strategic goals. So, there is a link for flow between the Vision, Mission and Objectives demonstrating a good understanding of what is important to the organization.

WHY?

Simon Sinek has a famous viral video where he says you need to by asking “why?”, when creating a vision. See it on our storify page with other content on this topic. This is what makes companies such as Apple rise above competitors. So why do you do what you do? Then how do you do it and finally what do you do. Your Why, fits neatly into answering the original question, vision, mission and objectives – do they matter? Yes they do as we map our way through our lives, this map of adult life is a good guide to this.

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

Invention

Your Intellectual Property – understanding and using IP

What is Intellectual Property (IP) and why is it so valuable? What are the different forms forms of IP ? Investors always ask about IP. Every business will own some form of intellectual property, but do you know the difference between types of IP and how to protect these assets? Your business and everything around you: your intellectual property – understanding and using IP. Here is a guide with the types of IP, some tools and websites.

What is Intellectual Property?

A quick guide from the IPO video

Should I get a trade mark? IPO video

Should I get a patent? IPO video

Why is IP so valuable – The Global Intellectual Property Center explains

More IPO videos

Key Elements of UK Intellectual Property Law

See the excellent video by Sarmad Saleh here

Summary of key points:

Unfair Competition and Passing-off

Trade-marks – indicator of origin e.g. Google

  • Brands
  • Image
  • Reputation
  • Packaging

Designs

  • Appearance
  • Ornamentation

Copyright

  • Creative
  • Music
  • Books and literature
  • Drama
  • Sound recording
  • Coding

Patents

  • Inventions when it is new and not obvious (and industrial application)
  • Pharmaceutical sector typically and also:
  • Tech sector

Law of Confidence – deals with confidential information

  • Trade secrets
  • Know-how
  • Private info
  • Can you license it?

Other Rights

  • Plant Breeders
  • Semi – conductor chips

Every business will own some form of intellectual property, but do you know how to protect these assets? The IP Health Check online tool is free to use and will help you answer these questions.

  • trademarks
  • trademarks overseas
  • patents
  • copyright
  • designs
  • confidential information
  • licensing your intellectual property
  • franchising
  • enforcement

The UK Opportunity

Presentation at the UKIS User Group event held at BEIS on the 20th March 2017 intellectual property and the industrial strategy. Presentation given by Will Steele from the IPO view here.

Research at the IPO for you

The IPO carry out and commission research relating to intellectual property, patent applications, trade marks and copyright – view here.

For a complete set of Guides from the GOV.UK website on IP

An excellent complete set of guides on IP can be found here

Make sure you have a Cunning Plan!

Always make sure you have you ducks lined up. Do any IP within the context of a common-sense commercial, business and marketing plan – here are some ideas.

Some Useful IP Resources for You

o i solutions Intellectual Property Pinterest page here has various infographics and sites which we link to. We cannot guarantee the quality of content and those outside the UK will obviously not relate to UK law, but you may find them helpful. And we also have summary information, videos and slideshare sites on our storify site here.

Contact us here for if you want to speak:

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

Peter Eales CIM

Your name, I was thinking about it

Do you like your name? Do you like your own name, your personal, your Christian Name? I do, I mean, Iike mine but I know people who have changed their first names. I wonder what their parents felt? Pretty traumatised, I would have thought?! Because that says something more than just the name, it says something about the relationship between the child and the parent. Some would say, “no, you are making too much out of a name: what’s in a name”. I would suggest an awful lot! Your name, I was thinking about it. Your own name, company or organisation name is a brand, heritage, something with a unique value. Invest wisely in it and the more valuable it becomes.

The Chartered Institute of Marketing – the CIM

Let me take an example of the CIM which was founded as the Sales Managers’ Association in 1911, 116 year ago. In 1921 it was incorporated as ISMA – the Institute of Sales and Management Association. We have a loyal team of volunteers who organise events and activities in Dorset, I am a past Regional and Branch Chair. Recently someone said, “it’s not important what we call ourselves, we could be Dorset marketers, CIM is not so important…”. Nobody else agreed. Why? Well, because of the brand. Does that mean just because the name’s has stuck around a long time?  As a CIM Chartered Marketer they would expect me to point out more than this as key components to a brand, I would say what is important when it comes to a brand is:

  • logo: CIM has invested heavily in new branding
  • other visual identity including:
    • colours
    • use of space as per corporate guidelines
    • typography
    • layout
    • imagery
  • brand personality
  • type/quality of products and services
  • customer service philosophy
  • associated brands
  • comms channels
  • marketing approach
  • business and social networking
  • tone of voice

These are just some of the components (here are more on our Pinterest site), and I will not comment on how well or poorly the CIM does in any given year. However it is global and is over 100 years old with royal patronage, and with huge brands as customers. When I joined it was to maintain my contact with the latest in marketing practices and link to a network of professional marketers, which works for me!

Dorset Business Angels and UK Business Angels Association (UKBAA)

Another example of branding in action is with Dorset Business Angels (DBA) where I am a founder director. We have managed to create a successful brand and were very clear that we needed the support of UKBAA, which is recognised globally as our industry body. We wanted to be accredited by them which we are. We pay to be a member and abide by their code. We engage with key local financial services and local government stakeholders, putting back any profits into DBA, not paying any directors. One of our key members David Ford, Chairman of UK top digital and branding agency Bright Blue Day, our supporting sponsors, is our brand adviser so again here we invest time and effort to share our clear vision, and develop an attractive and modern brand to the market place. Our brand and name is clear and says it all.

Yes, your own name is something with a unique value. There are various regular reports on brand value such as the Interbrand Survey included on our storify branding page here.  As this and all analysis shows on branding, the more you invest wisely in it the more valuable it becomes to you.

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