November 02, 2008

Going Back to the Plans

Life seems to be a whirlwind of networking events at the minute, which is how I managed to have signed up for last Thursday's Life Is Too Short To Go Unnoticed without really knowing what it entailed. It's strange how the world sometimes throws you exactly what you need, and an opportunity to work on the business rather than in it was something I was looking forward to.

Quarter of an hour in and I was beginning to have reservations. It seemed to be shaping up to a formulaic "here's lots of snippets about successful companies, you should try to be more like them" - the kind of event where you sit there nodding and thinking "oh, how clever", but once you get back to your business you realise that you haven't discovered a new way of doing anything. I was even wondering how I could find a game card so I could play Buzzword Bingo.

However, that was just the presenters, John Leach and Simon Bailey from Winning Pitch, warming up. They started to win me over during the second presentation, when John pulled up a slide entitled "The UK Sales Mentality". Pictured below were Del Boy, Arthur Daley and Frank Butcher, and John set about explaining how he hates shows like The Apprentice and Natural Born Sellers with their ultra-competitive, win-at-all-costs sales mentality.

From there I enjoyed the rest of the day. They encouraged interaction with the attendees and had a few practical exercises which helped us to start applying their ideas to our own situation. At the start of the day they outlined their objective, which was for everyone to find the top three tasks to have completed (the first step of) before the end of Friday, and at the end we each took our turn to share some of them with the rest of the group.

Mine were:

  1. Write a basic business plan for MCQN Ltd.
  2. Finish the Mazzini prototype. This is well under-way, and I'd have worked on it anyway, but it's important to give me something to demonstrate.
  3. Apply for some funding. This isn't vital, but will mean I can spend more time working on Mazzini. There are a few possibilities I've come across lately and, even if I don't get the money, just going through the process will sharpen up my thinking and talking about what I'm doing.

The business plan is the big task from that. It's also the one I've been putting off for the longest. I'm quite annoyed with myself, and a little amazed, that I've avoided it for so long. I'm a strong advocate for having a plan, regardless of whether or not you manage to follow it to completion. I'd almost suggest creating a plan and then immediately throwing it away, as the process of working out your route forces you to think about what you want and how you might get there. Your subconscious is then primed so that it can spot opportunities when they present themselves. I doubt that you'll end up where you thought you'd be when you wrote the plan, but I bet that it's a better place than you'd have ended up if you hadn't made one.

I didn't manage to get my three tasks started by the end of Friday, but that's because I already had the day earmarked to finish my VAT return. So I've given myself an extension till the end of the weekend, and am well on my way to achieving that. I haven't been able to work on the Mazzini prototype because I'm not at home, but the first draft of the plan was done yesterday, and I'm pulling together a list of the funding opportunities today.


Posted by Adrian at November 2, 2008 11:31 AM | TrackBack

This blog post is on the personal blog of Adrian McEwen. If you want to explore the site a bit further, it might be worth having a look at the most recent entries or look through the archives or categories over on the left.

You can receive updates whenever a new post is written by subscribing to the recent posts RSS feed or

Post a comment

Remember personal info?

Note: I'm running the MT-Keystrokes plugin to filter out spam comments, which unfortunately means you have to have Javascript turned on to be able to comment.