Something that struck me about running a business, your purpose

by | Jul 4, 2018 | 0 comments

I was talking with a client yesterday about his proposed business idea when it suddenly struck me that his sole purpose to starting a business was to start a business.  Now this might sound a bit counterintuitive but it was true, his defect state was how can I run a business as I can supply these products at a better price to my suppliers than others can. When we started talking about the reason for him wanting to set up the business and what his business would look like to his customers he was totally lost, you could really see the look in his face as to what is this guy talking about? Purpose, why, reasons, brand characteristics, customer recognition?? WTF!!!!

And it got me thinking, is purpose, branding, why critical to business success? I mean here we have someone who solely wants to start a business because he is sick of working for someone else supplying the same products that they can supply to the same customers.  I have to say his business model is slightly different in that he wants to act as a supplier to the current business, seems like a win-win all around, only… is it? What about when he wants to scale and grow the business? Where will he get new customers? Will these customers be B2B or B2C or B2B2B as he is at the moment? Why should these customers change their current suppliers to his? How can he convince them that his supply chain is better than the one they have been using for years? Imagine walking into a prospective client and your only sales pitch is “I want your business.” “My only selling point is, as the products are of similar quality, is I am cheaper,” Do you want to change? In most cases probably not and probably not in the numbers that he needs to survive in the long-run.

No i’m convinced that he needs a story, his own personal story, how the business started, who are the type of clients that he is trying to attract and critically why it matters, not only to him but more importantly to them. If he can get people to understand his values and find that they are aligned to his then the more customers he will attract.  It also means that he does not need to go after clients who do not align to his values as they are very unlikely to change – now he’s saving valuable resources to in only chasing clients who he has a great chance of converting to his business.

The same is true in the creative sector, think about the creative work that you do, what makes you different from someone else or another practice working in the same medium? The answer in a lot of cases is you, you are the difference. They way that you see the world is totally unique to the way anyone else sees the world and it is this concept that you are trying to convey to potential customers and potential audiences.  Staying true to your values, true to who you are and being able to convey that story is critical to your success.  The genre might change but the values won’t.

So think about what is important to you, write them down on a sheet of paper, work out why you do what you do, who you do it for and why is it important to them and what you do changes them, how? Now you are talking purpose.

No i’m convinced that he needs a story, his own personal story, how the business started, who are the type of clients that he is trying to attract and critically why it matters, not only to him but more importantly to them. If he can get people to understand his values and find that they are aligned to his then the more customers he will attract.  It also means that he does not need to go after clients who do not align to his values as they are very unlikely to change – now he’s saving valuable resources to in only chasing clients who he has a great chance of converting to his business.

The same is true in the creative sector, think about the creative work that you do, what makes you different from someone else or another practice working in the same medium? The answer in a lot of cases is you, you are the difference. They way that you see the world is totally unique to the way anyone else sees the world and it is this concept that you are trying to convey to potential customers and potential audiences.  Staying true to your values, true to who you are and being able to convey that story is critical to your success.  The genre might change but the values won’t.

So think about what is important to you, write them down on a sheet of paper, work out why you do what you do, who you do it for and why is it important to them and what you do changes them, how? Now you are talking purpose.

Ian Oliver

Ian Oliver

Head of Artistic & Creative Entrepreneurship

Plan.Act.Review

Building change for Sustainable Creative Careers

Ian has over 15 years’ senior management and entrepreneurial experience in the Arts, creative and technology Sectors and 4 years’ experience working with Local Government, Local Enterprise Offices, Local Arts Offices, Arts Organisations and Venues, Universities, Businesses and Community Groups throughout Ireland, auditing and engaging the artistic and creative community within specific geographic regions.

Currently Ian is working on advising and designing sustainable projects that utilise art and creativity as the main driver to effect sustainable economic and social change.  He also teaches and mentors artistic and creative entrepreneurship training to adult learners and undergraduate students.

Ian’s experience includes developing and implementing business / career / marketing strategies, marketing, business development, digital media, digital content creation, communications, project management, developing business, marketing and digital media strategies and implementation, project development, management and budgeting, resource management, team development and cohesion, training and training distribution methods for clients, staff and stakeholders.

Ian regularly gives papers on Artistic & Creative Entrepreneurship including:

  • What is Creative Entrepreneurship, Trans National Creative Exchange, Solent University Southampton, October 2015;
  • The Role of Entrepreneurship in the Arts, Developing Talent and Opportunities, Slovak Government as part of their EU Presidency, Bratislava, September 2016;
  • Entrepreneurship Training in the Arts, 20th Anniversary Conference, University of Pécs, Hungary, November 2016;
  • Developing a Creative Model Canvas, 3E Conference, Cork, May 2017.

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Early Bird: €200 - till the 1 November 2018 Standard: €300

The Creative Entrepreneurs Summit 2018 takes place 30 Nov to 2 Dec. A mixture of workshops, talks, activities all around developing your creative career

This practical 2.5-day Entrepreneurship Programme for Creatives has been especially designed for all those who want to set up, run or further develop their own creative business, organisation or project in a professional and sustainable way.

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Creative Thinking and Co-Creation Techniques

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Ashford, Co. Wicklow
13 August 2018

Early Bird: €150
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By using a number of creative thinking techniques we will give practical examples of how you can take ideas from conception to reality. Based around the frameworks of  PO statements to "Yes, and..." we will look to develop out of the box creative solutions for real World problems.  We will look at a three stage work-flow taking us from idea generation, through validating the idea and testing.  We will look at a three stage work-flow taking us from idea generation, through validating the idea and testing.

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10 September 2018

Early Bird: €85
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1 day workshop
Dublin
15 October 2018

Early Bird: €85
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To run any successful business you need a clearly defined VALUE PROPOSITION that explains how your product/service solves your customers’ problem, need or improves their situation. A Value Proposition allows you to define who your customers are and to offer them what they really want. It also helps to secure grant aid or private investment.

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Online
June 2018
Course Cost: €150

Whether you are a graduate, or looking to develop your creative career this course will give you clarity, focus and a roadmap to work from. During the course we ​will look at your purpose,​ ​your niche,​ ​your dream job or career position​ ​and identify​ the steps you need to take to reach your goal.

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