21st Century thinking, there is no box!

In today’s increasingly difficult economy with uncertainty around political and currency futures, is it any wonder that depression is expected to impose the second biggest health burden globally by 2020?

I have always believed that in order to predict the future it is up to us to create the future we choose and how we want to be in our outlook.  By empowering ourselves and being proactive in our approach to our work life-balance it is really down to us to affect the life we want for ourselves and our environment.  In doing so, we have a better chance of happiness and fulfilment and in avoiding melancholy, frustration and ultimately depression.  In order to avoid these pitfalls we must each begin to think and act outside of the box.  We need to let go of personal insecurities and embrace different and new approaches of achieving our objectives.  We must begin to become mindful of our approaches and actions and indeed mindful of our very selves.  This is harder to do than to talk about, however it is possible.  It is in this way that we introduce a frank and straightforward approach to how we engage with our clients on all levels.  It is only by boldly embracing new and fulfilling mind-sets that we can avoid the ruts and traps of tradition and in potentially becoming a statistic.  It is the fear of change that holds back the change that we so desperately need today and to move forward and create the 21st century we want.

I am constantly amazed that organisations, as well as individuals, continue to do things the same way over and over again and expect different results.  More and more people have said to me recently how difficult and worrying doing business is becoming and how frustrated and unhappy they are beginning to feel.

At Conduit, when we engage with new clients they initially state that ‘we do that ourselves why would we need you? We have been doing it this way for years with reasonable results’.  The fact is they may well do some aspects of what we offer as a business; however they do not specialise the way we do.  They do not have over 12 years’ specific hands on experience of direct commercial engagement over periods of time that have been proven in unlocking value.  They often fail to appreciate that our services may seem familiar on the surface, however they are completely different, we use new and exciting approaches in engagement at all levels in building value.

The Conduit building blocks and our commercial approach is unique, effective and proven. We diagnose businesses that are failing to meet expectations and enhance further those that are demonstrating potential.  Our approach identifies patterns and we unbundle and free up business models that are stuck or failing.  We engage as if part of the management group and work with the team day to day.  We ensure that the focus and alignment of the business is optimised, and that all aspects of the resource are operating in unison to deliver to plan.  We test current beliefs and encourage opportunistic thinking.  We develop together believable and achievable objectives and goals.  Quite simply we enthuse potential.  We mentor the team to choose the future they desire, we then empower them to create it themselves.  We not only think and act outside of the box; we don’t believe there is one. 

For more information on Conduit’s proven approaches please call 01235 831777 or email hollymunns@conduitpartners.co.uk

The alchemy of a deal: when there’s a doubt, there is no doubt

Ask entrepreneurs what helps them decide whether to invest in a new project, sign up to a joint venture, or launch a new business, and pretty much all of them will say that their intuition plays a huge part in their decisions.

I’m reminded of one of my favourite quotes, from the late-1990s action-thriller movie Ronin, starring Robert De Niro and Jean Reno, where De Niro’s character says: “Whenever there is any doubt, there is no doubt.” In other words, your intuition and instincts will guide you to exactly what is right for you.

We see this played out in Dragons Den. When Hilary Devey says “you make my foot itch”, there has to be something playing out in her subsconscious, telling her that the person, the deal, or the business just isn’t right.

Yet when we see Peter Jones investing in the fast-cars with the superbike engines, Theo Paphitis buying into the Bog in a Bag, and Hilary Devey and Duncan Bannatyne jointly agreeing to support the Kiddimoto balance bike company, there is a certain alchemy in those partnerships. The product is right, the opportunity is right, and the rapport between investor and investee is right.

The same can’t be said of the snot pickers, swings, or glass pouring slings – a smorgasbord of uninvestable things. The would-be entrepreneurs let emotion get the better of them. While I believe that passion drives a business, emotion blurs it and can bring the P&L to a halt. We see many business plans based on practical ideas, fuelled by emotion, that will never make money or be a business.

Of course, there are many practical things that businesses can do to focus on reality and improve their chances of a deal. We work with start-ups and SMEs to stress test every potential investment opportunity. Why? Because we know from 10 years of looking at ideas you need the business facts to prove it has a real market. Entrepreneurs can then enter an investment pitch armed with business plan, market tests, a list of unique selling points – and their personality.

However, at the end of the day, whether businesses win investment or not will depend on the alchemy of the relationship. If there is any doubt in the mind of investors you’re pitching to, then you’ll be out.