One Way to Raise your Profile…

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Elsie is Born…

I seem to have been a bit quiet on this blog, while I have been doing other things, including pushing Progress School along, working on Collaborate Leeds and incubating a new idea which has finally found the light of day today: The Leeds Community Enterprise Accelerator or Elsie for short.  This provides a community based network of support to local enterprise coaches, advisors, facilitators, in fact to anyone who is helping someone else in the community to make progress. I have high hopes for Elsie in post Business Link austerity economy.  I think it will provide a sustainable high value model to provide practical crowd sourced enterprise support to those that most want and need it. Have a look at Elsie and tell me what you think. … [Read more...]

Dock Street Market – and the role of the Leeds communities

I went to a very wonderful opening for Dock Street Market last Friday.  It used to be a decent enough shop that had many fans and reportedly turned over a million a year.  But still it could not survive. Now the shop has been taken over by a number of local artisan producers and entrepreneurs, all of whom offer a phenomenal product.  We have fish and chips reinvented by the wonderful Fish &, excellent north Italian coffee and more from Bottega Milanese, superb breads from the Riverside Sourdough Bakery and more.  The people behind these businesses are phenomenally hard working and focussed on quality, service and value.  They are doing their bit to make the collaborative project a success. But my interest is in the role of the rest of us.  The fine citizens of Leeds.  Of the 700 000 plus people that live in the city, my guess is that the vast majority will not even know that the Dock St Market exists.  They are 'strangers' to the market.  Perhaps 10 ooo or so are aware of the market and certainly a couple of hundred rocked up at the opening last week.  These constitute 'prospects'.  People who know the market exists and may become customers. But customers so far, by definition, are a smaller group.  Having only … [Read more...]

Sticks, carrots, coercion and coaching

“What we did establish is that the carrots offered were far less effective than the sticks employed." Rt Hon Margaret Hodge MP, Chair of the Committee of Public Accounts - talking about the 'limited effect' of Pathways to Work pilots Sticks and carrots have a long and noble tradition in the  management of donkeys.  However even with donkeys there are times when the 'bribe and  punish' approach to change management fails: When the donkey is not hungry enough When the effort of reaching the carrot is too great (the burden is too heavy) In these circumstances we may choose to resort to the stick.  But this too will not work if: the pain of the stick is thought to be less than the pain of moving forward the donkey learns to like the stick and the attention that it brings But I think the real issue here is not about the limitations of sticks and carrots in the management of donkeys and people. It is about the complete and utter failure to understand the nature of human motivation.  Motivation is that which energises, directs and sustains a person’s efforts.  Sustains efforts.  Sticks and carrots applied to move a donkey from one (expensive) field to another (less expensive field) do NOTHING to sustain efforts.  In … [Read more...]

Entrepreneur’s Workshop With LOCA

Creative Connections Date:          Wednesday 21 July Time:          6.30 - 8.30 pm Venue: 51b Holme Bank Mills, Station Road, Mirfield, WF14 8NA (From Mirfield go under the bridge for Mirfield railway station and turn left following the road with the large sign for James Walker Properties. From Hopton turn right just before the Mirfield railway station bridge and following the road with the large sign for James Walker Properties). Creative Connections are quarterly events for artists and creative businesses in and around North Kirklees, run by Loca as part of its Creative Business Support Programme. As well as encouraging the development of a supportive and well connected community of creative people within North Kirklees we are also encouraging people to look at their businesses more professionally and with more of a critical eye. With this in mind we have a very motivational and thought provoking presentation to offer to you. Mike Chitty is a writer, trainer, coach and adviser on enterprise and entrepreneurship.  Despite having a background in physics his work strikes a chord with creative people and artists of all kinds.  In this 30 minute session Mike will provide a fast paced, honest and highly … [Read more...]

Marketing Wisdom from David Mitchell

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Making Social Marketing Work – 29th July Leeds

This practical workshop will introduce you to the theory and practice of social marketing - how to use marketing techniques to achieve specific behavioural goals designed to lead to social good. Whether you are trying to promote healthy lifestyles, encourage people back into work or to start a business, get back into education, or engage in a campaign, an understanding of social marketing can help you to: find new people who want to work on your agenda support them on their journey to make real change happen get the right people at the right events at the right time What Will You Learn? You will learn how to: Develop marketing collateral (leaflets, posters and websites) that might just work Use the media effectively - PR and role models that work Build 'Word of Mouth' strategies and referral networks Work with 'gatekeepers' to 'gain entry‘ Manage introductions in the community The day will involve some theory and explore a number of examples of good and not so good social marketing campaigns.  Participants will have the opportunity to apply what they learn to a real campaign of their own. Agenda What is social marketing and how can I use it? What behaviours are we trying to promote? Using Segmentation to … [Read more...]

B2B Business Support – Harvey Nichols Style

I spent a great 90 minutes with Brian Handley, General Manager of Harvey Nichols in Leeds, and Lee Hicken from online marketing outfit Hebemedia to find out  a little more about their work in supporting enterprise across Yorkshire and to explore the possibility of helping to develop their role in supporting emerging artists and crafts people. Now I am no 'fashion and retail' guru and struggle to understand why anyone would want to pay £3000 or more for an Italian Leather handbag, but apparently they do, and Harvey Nichols helps to serve that want.  (Not everything in Harvey Nichols has such a price tag.  Apparently a coffee in their restaurant costs the same as in Starbucks, some items in the Food Hall match Morrison for price and some of their makeup too matches the High  St retailers on price.) But why are those expensive handbags Italian?  Why not British? Or Yorkshire? Are we lacking the skills and talent required to craft leather to this standard? Are we poor at the marketing and brand building work required to compliment fine craft skills to command this top end of the market?  We are simply unable to break the consumers taste for 'Italian Leather'. Perhaps the Italian High Streets are full of top quality … [Read more...]

21st Century Enterprise Rap

Don't let anyone tell you who you really are.... … [Read more...]

Enterprise for All – Some Reflections

Enterprise for All was a one day conference organised on behalf of emda by Unleashing Enterprise with a mixture of key note presentations and workshop sessions. A few things really struck me about it.  From the key note speakers and a tour of the exhibition hall it was clear just how much of a grip business and economic development interests have on the enterprise agenda.   Enterprise really IS all about business.  Business start ups, business growth and business education. Except of course enterprise has relevance in many, perhaps all, spheres of life.  It relates to parenting, cello playing, footballing and planning.  To mathematics, politics and dance.  An enterprising approach helps with business, yes, but it helps with so much more as well.  Because an enterprising person is someone who has a theory about the direction 'in which progress lies', and has the confidence, strategies and skills that they need to pursue it.  By conflating enterprise with business we do it a disservice.  We alienate many who should be our natural allies, and we repel some who we should attract. Business is a great vehicle for teaching enterprise - but so too is sport, art, history and drama.  In Bolivia, enterprise education has been … [Read more...]


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