When I first met Lu Li - the founder of Blooming Founders - and discussed the needs of her members. It was evident they needed support on the hard as well as the soft side of the business. The hard side of the business is the action side. They set targets and deliver on them. The soft side of the business focus around the emotional needs of the entrepreneurs. Lu Li feels entrepreneurship can support women in realising their dreams. Her vision for Blooming Founders is to enable enterprising women to take ownership of their own lives. So when we discussed ways to support them we agreed small workshops would suit their needs the best. These workshops would have no more than 8 members. They would support the entrepreneurs on their businesses in a way that made them a success.
While we were discussing the structure and content of the workshops. We needed to identify what pain points and problems to focus on. She worked with them on a beta project over the summer of 2015 to verify their needs via Mastermind groups. So when we designed these workshops in September. We focused on specific concerns for first time female entrepreneurs. This didn’t mean it was the very first time they had tried this. Just that it is one of their first attempts. We in the entrepreneurship community have a less rigid view on these matters. ☺
The structure we settled on was a 3 hour format. The underlying process of the workshops are based on the SECI framework. It is commonly used for knowledge creation as highlighted by Nonaka. Here S = Socialisation. E = Externalisation. C = Combination and I = Internationalisation. This process is designed to be a spiral. Here business value is generated in a way that can applied for the business the next day.
This ensures they have covered all the major areas of their startup. Once they have introduced themselves using this tool. We then go into depth on clarifying each area of the person for them. This helps to ensure the perception/ reality gaps are narrowed as much as possible. Here it is common to come across entrepreneurs who feel they are in the business of selling a product. Only to discover they are actually trying to organise a service. Over the last 7 years of Business Mentoring I have come across this concern the most.
The next stage is then to help them map out the current state of the business using Business Action Theory. This helps them understand where they currently are in building their Business. Business Action Theory is a 6 stage process that all business both B2B and B2C follow. It helps them understand what actions to focus on. How to estimate the timelines from the first contact to the fulfilment of an order. What steps they will need to take along the way. And, what to focus on at each step. The 6 phases are -
- Establishing the prerequisites of your client business
- Confirming you are dealing with the right person in the client business
- What is your offer to them?
- Contract Phase. This includes the legal contract and Service Level Agreement
- Fulfilment/ Delivery Phase. This covers the actually delivery of the order
- Assessment Phase. This is the feedback stage.
Understanding where they are in the process helps with where to go next and what kind of action to take to get there. For example, if you are negotiating contractual terms then you are phase 4. This means the Legal Contract and the Service Level Agreement are the focus areas. When this phase is successfully completed an order will be expected for fulfilment. Just to highlight this can be a non linear process.
These workshops are being organised on a monthly basis. Try them and lets us know what you think? Click here for more details.