Is a great idea really that great if nobody knows about it?
business development, PR, marketing, contacts, media, sales, pitching, growth
It took me around three minutes to completely change the lives of a couple of lads from Wigan who cornered me at a do. They'd developed a truly fab deli-food range, but were just not getting, er, bites - or even acknowledgments - from retailers or other potential outlets.
So next day I variously phoned, texted, WhatsApped and emailed a few of the contacts I'd accrued while working half the week most weeks for the past 20 years as a PR and lobbyist in Mayfair, the City and Westminster.
All were CEOs, and three suggested to their buying directors that a tasting might be in order. And all three did then indeed bite. And the tastings happened, and deals were done. If you're lucky enough to fly up front on one particular airline, or shop in arguably two of London's top stores, then you'll have tasted this particular fare from Wigan.
Decision makers in business tend to pay far more attention to "suggestions" being passed down from the top floor rather than usually poorly-repackaged pitches being shoved unenthusiastically up from junior buyers or phone answerers who are often the first point of contact for cold sell-ins.
The thing is, you need to know the occupiers of the top floors, or know how to get to know them, and bear in mind everybody in big business is looking for something new or differentiating - whether it's a new take on a food item, a scalable overheads cost-saving, or better chemistry with a different supplier.
So what am I doing back north when I have all these high-end contacts in media, business and politics down south? Well, I'm done with London, and all the to-ing and fro-ing. I want to spend more time in the North West, where I actually live, and not travelling. That doesn't mean those contacts vapourise. I want to have some mischievous business development and profile-raising fun based on generating unfair advantage for small and start-up businesses by, in part, using those contacts.
Fundamentally, this is how it works: we meet. You explain where you're trying to get to with your business. If I think it has potential, then I help you communicate it - whether in terms of media coverage, or introductions to people who could directly and positively influence your future. And then I remain available as a sounding board, mentor, idea generator, coach to you or existing staff.
Maybe by now you've located my Linked In profile, read it and thought, "WTF...? This. Is. Going. To. Be. Expensive." My main business, Desired Outcome Consulting, was and is.
But I've established a new one: DO Basics. My bills will be in the £hundreds, and I'll be taking on only a handful of smaller clients.