Enterprise Evangelist or Enterprise Coach?

Enterprise Evangelist Enterprise Coach
Entrepreneurship is a good thing – you should try it. Entrepreneurship is neither good not bad.  For some people it is a wonderful life affirming experience.  For others an unmitigated disaster.
We can turn your ideas and dreams into reality. You can make progress in getting the kind of life that you want.  My sole purpose is to offer you the help and support that you need on your journey.
We need to increase the start up rate if we are to change the enterprise culture in this community. We need to help more people believe that they can take action to make things better -in whatever ways matter to them.
We encourage people to start business quickly.  That helps us to keep up with our contract outputs – and anyway you don’t really learn about business until you are in it – do you? We help clients start business slowly, if at all.  We make sure that they have done as much planning, research and training as possible before they start and got a strong management team in place to reduce the risks of failure.  If they have an alternative to starting a small business we encourage them to consider it – SERIOUSLY!  We understand just how hard small business can be.
We spend a lot of money on publicity and events to attract large numbers (we wish!) to use the service. We spend almost nothing on publicity.  Instead we focus on building a great reputation (we know how to do this) and then encourage word of mouth strategies, referrals and clients telling their stories to gradually build interest.
We usually start with a bang – but numbers quickly tail off – unless we keep the marketing spend up.  We refer clients into mainstream business support or other sources of support as soon as we can.  Our job is just to get them engaged. We start slowly and build exponentially as our reputation spreads.  Within 12 months we would expect top be seeing 200 people a year with about 10% of them going on to start a new business.  Because of our reputation we also get some existing business wanting to talk with us – but that is ok because we know how to help them too!
We do all we can to keep people engaged with our service.  We pay bus fares, pick them up in our cars, provide child care and food to make it easy. We do little to keep people using the service – other than help them build their confidence and self belief in what they can achieve when they work with us.
We don’t mention business failure rates.  If we start enough – surely some of them will survive? We monitor survival rates more closely than start up rates.  We understand that it is business failures that establish a fear of enterprise and do most to damage an enterprise culture.
We design and deliver our services and interventions to deliver policy goals for number of interventions and start-ups We design and deliver our services with the client needs at the centre of things.  Our service is free of charge, competent, compassionate and easy to access.
We believe that primarily our clients need help to develop their ideas from a technical point of view.  It is all about the business plan.  The sooner we can refer them onto a technical expert – such as a business adviser the better. We believe that the idea and the business plan is one small aspect of our work.  More important is helping the client to develop their skills and their passion and commitment towards making real progress in their lives.  Understanding psychology is just as important as understanding business.  We develop the people – so that if they want they can develop their business ideas.
I don’t need to build a strong relationship – I just need to find people and refer them to mainstream business advisers. It is the quality of my relationship with you that dictates how useful it is.

Comments

  1. I wonder if your evangelist was a friend of Pastor Rick Warren/Jerry Falwell et al?
    I guess though that there is still a place for those who occupy spaces before or in front of coaches. Coaches depend on people being prepared to poke their heads over the parapet, willing to test the boundaries of their and /or the prevailing culture. People’s travel patterns aren’t straight lines – they tend to accrue experiences over time that they actualise into business.

  2. Hi Andy! Thanks for the comment. I meet ‘evangelists’ in almost every project I visit. They outnumber true ‘coaches’ by at least 10 to 1. Policy assumptions are that enterprise is ‘good’ and we need to promote it. This translates into practice in many projects. A different policy assumption that says ‘there is a population for whom enteprise could be a good thing – but who don’t yet recognise it as an option – and are therefore excluded’might lead to more responsible approaches to the development of enteprise. Current assumptions often sell people false hope and result in large numbers being ‘engaged’ – but relatively few making real progress.

    I am not sure that coaches do need much in the way of outreach support. Wherever I see ‘outreach’ work it tends to lapse into leaflet dropping and evanglelising rather than real engagement driven by listening and responding or ‘shut up and listen’ as our mutual friend might say!

    What coaches do need is to get a reputation in the community they serve as compassionate, competent, accessible and person – not policy – centred. They also need to establish a track record in helping people make progress. It is word of mouth, credibility and reputation that encourages more people to take the risk – not outreach workers.

    I absolutley agree with your point about travel patterns and straightlines. Again I wish more projects were funded on the basis that clients don’t move smoothly into successful entrepreneurship in timescales that fit in with project outcome profiles. Starting slowly and buildling steadily is the way to go, working in communities for many years, to build a firm reputation. So many projects just begin to gain momentum when key people feel the need to start looking for the next project as the funding comes to a close.

    Congatulations to all involved on the recent recognition for the Tynedale Enterprise project by the way. I hope that it continues to do well. Would love to come up and visit one day!

    Mike

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