Coming soon – High Growth Foundation, Silicon Valley

25/10/2011

If the UK is going to become the best place to set up and grow a business then we need to look at great practice. The entrepreneurial capital of the world is the West Coast of the US, Silicon Valley. The UK has the expertise, knowledge, skills and talent to match any part of the world, so what’s holding us back? We need to change our mindset, think big and learn from those parts of the globe that just get on and do it. The High Growth Foundation, founded in the North will lead the charge on encouraging ambitious individuals to release their full potential.

Building on success to date, we will be setting up the HGF in Silicon Valley and encouraging best practice exchange, collaboration and business development. The future of the UK economy depends so heavily on high growth businesses, to get more of them we need a catalyst – hopefully the HGF will demonstrate just what is possible ! Watch this space.

http://www.highgrowthfoundation.co.uk – this Friday

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10,000 Small Businesses – Last Night

21/09/2011

I was delighted to part of last nights Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses celebration and first cohort graduation event. The results and growth achieved from the participating companies was very impressive to say the least. As usual I was observing what happens when a room full of ambitious entrepreneurs get together to network and share ideas and experiences – this is were real business advice takes place, in communities of like-minded individuals. The stimulus and input from other successful, been there done it, businessmen and women should not be underestimated either.

When ambitious people get together to share the pain and stories, remarkable things happen:

– The feeling of loneliness is less profound

– You get new ideas and different perspectives to take your business forward

– You get to hear about trusted advisers and networks relevant to your business

– You become introduced to new potential customers and collaborators

– Answers to challenges present themselves

– Your mind gets refreshed

– When you see others doing well you end up running faster!

These environments help to raise the bar of personal performance, training with the best is a very effective way to improve.

Congratulations to MMU on their facilitation of the activity and I am really chuffed to being part of this activity going forward. A great example of how public and private sector collaboration is the answer to growing new business talent.


Cities Provide Energy for Global Starts – 165 University Avenue

22/08/2011

165 University Avenue is a small rented office building on the main commercial street in the centre of Palo Alto, California – Silicon Valley. Also known as the “Lucky Building”, over the years it has incubated a number of “gorilla” businesses, names that include, LogitechGooglePayPalDanger, IncMilo.comeye IO and Yummly. Silicon Valley cannot be replicated, its unique, however, I strongly feel that we can learn a lot from this vibrant world-class entrepreneurial region.

Through the High Growth Foundation I am particularly keen to work out what we need to do to create our own blockbuster businesses up North and throughout the rest of the UK.  The Billion Dollar Club in the US acts as a forum for companies with a market capitalization of $1billion, no surprises that Silicon Valley companies are well represented in this list.  In recent years most notable UK companies that would fall into this elite group would be the spin outs from Cambridge University, Autonomy and Biovex from UCL. How many of these have we created in the North West? I just can’t believe we have not got the talent, I think  the environment is wrong.

We have some great incubator units in the Region, but would one in the heart of Manchester help to create a blockbuster as the West Coast of the States has repeatedly done. The external environment is crucial when you are trying to build a business, it supports creative thought and innovation – a place where there is a buzz, somewhere to go for a coffee, a pizza or a beer after work is so important. After all we are human beings and being stuck out on a limb in some Enterprise Zone I don’t think is the answer. Ambitious entrepreneurs want to be surrounded by like-minded high energy people with links to finance and capital. That happens in city centres.

We need a radical rethink about how we help the stars of tomorrow. The UK cities offer a great environment for breeding tomorrows superstars – but still we are keen to push new entrepreneurs out into the sticks where there is little energy and no spark. Maybe time for a rethink on where we encourage our beacons of tomorrow to set up. Do we have the equivalent of 165 University Avenue in Manchester?  It’s not in the City Centre as it is in Palo Alto.


Goldman Sachs Growth Event – 10,000

06/07/2011

I spoke at the MMU/Goldman Sachs event last night and covered what I believe to be the 10 Rules for Growth, here they are:

1.Future Focused – know what you want, business and personally

2.Leadership – continuously learn or the business will leave you behind

3.Build a Great Team – you need thinkers, doers, controllers and sellers

4.A Differentiated Proposition – be clear on what makes you stand out from the crowd

5.Innovation & Creativity – curiosity for exploring new ways of doing things

6.Live in the Customers World – know what they need before they do 

7.Disciplined Systems & Processes – don’t let the wheels come off stay close to KPI’S

8.Life is a Pitch – focus on selling, the lifeblood of entrepreneurship 

9.Having the Right Mindset – its down to you BYC (Believe You Can)

10.Find a Mentor – we all need help, find a companion to support through challenging times

A brilliant initiative, I hope our High Growth Foundation clients take advantage of it.


High Growth Foundation – ambition into revenue

23/06/2011

I am delighted by the feedback from our High Growth Foundation forays. There is so much energy, ambition and desire from many entrepreneurs to build bigger and better businesses, even in the face of the current economic challenges. With such deeply rooted personal intentions I hope the HGF will trigger the necessary game plans to move dreams into revenue reality. My vision for the High Growth Foundation is to provide a vehicle to support ambitious individuals on their growth journey. Many of us are motivated by the stories and experiences of others, they help to rewire old thinking and give way to new possibilities, ones we may have thought were out of our grasp. Facilitating conversations between likeminded individuals will deliver a breeding ground for the next generation of global and companies of scale. The HGF will be the catalyst for experience sharing and learning new ways of solving the challenges that come with growth. Any movement or community of significance started with individuals who had a common goal – Manchester music scene, Impressionists in Paris, Motown in Detroit..

I am keen for members to get involved by sharing their stories and experiences, I am also encouraging participants to gain insight and seek advice from other members who may have experienced similar problems.  With over 60 members so far I am really chuffed that this new forum will start to address the gritty, granular and complex matters of growth – the text books often don’t get anywhere near the real issues, this is because people and their associated emotions often hinder growth and at a worst case hold it back.

The High Growth Foundation marks the dawn of a new beginning for busy (and lonely) people wanting business advice – guidance that is founded on experience and empathy with the journey. Equally it is my wish for members to be a voice for the growth community.  This will help to inform many of the policymakers on how difficult growing a business can be and indeed what support is needed at the coalface.

SME’s are the unsung hero’s of the economy and will drive new jobs over the coming years – they need all the support they can get – however, this must be quality. By collaborating with our friends, trusted partners, and individuals with the credibility to help gazelles, my crusade is to build energy and momentum in this valuable space of the UK economy.

Individuals who take risk deserve to enjoy the success that comes with the hard graft and dedication of setting up and running their own business. Please contact me if you want to join the crusade……..


The Power of Learning Networks

12/06/2011

Its been a great weekend. Yesterday I spoke at a Goldman Sachs event managed by MMU – the topic was “Delivering a Great Sales Strategy”. My input was part of Goldman’s initiative to support 10,000 growth wish entrepreneurs across the UK. The set up was fantastic and the twenty odd companies and their mentors who participated were there for a number of valuable reasons:

1. To grow

2. Create wealth

3. Generate jobs

4. Fulfil personal intentions

5. Make a difference

6. Learn about business best practice

7. Network with likeminded people

When you are part of such an energetic group of people it makes getting out of bed so much easier. Owner managers/entrepreneurs/ ambitious people should realise the value of being part of a network of like-minded people. Yesterday reaffirmed to me that when ambitious individuals get together to learn, exchange ideas and  share experiences the results can be transformational. It doesn’t feel so lonely after all!