Time to give something back and help a little.
Fantastic – easy to talk to. Fred was open, enthusiastic, eager and motivated. We chatted for about 2 hours and it seemed like 5 minutes!
Fred’s business was/is a start-up so my approach was to spend a lot of time talking to him about not only his business ideas, of which there were many, but to get to understand him better, what his drivers were, what motivated him and how much of himself he was prepared to put into the new venture. By doing this and by understanding his skill-sets I could better advise him on how to consolidate his thoughts, to focus on the here and now as well as the longer term and to underpin that advice with the knowledge that I was able to personalise and target his core beliefs and strengths.
As outlined the main ‘tool’ was simple question and answer, but we used cash flows, SWOT and simple market research to support that.
Length varied but I normally tried to close down after about 2 hours, but a couple went on much longer!
This varied depending upon where we were in the cycle – from simple re-read of previous conversations and reminding myself of what was said to writing plans, cash flows etc.
Quite a bit, especially around moving appointments around and the communications completing cash flows and more transactional items.
These were driven by Fred, but centred on the compromise between two competing businesses – the bank software and the print shop. How to get both running profitably and how they would interact in terms of Fred’s time and resources. Fred is an entrepreneur and really wanted to make money short term so that he could build more strategically and sustainably.
Daunting to start with, but I kept telling myself that that was not what was required from me! My role was advisory and I frequently consult in the UK in sectors I have little or no knowledge in so remembering that was key to having the confidence to advise someone in a different country.
Very little. Talking to Fred I was very conscious about making assumptions just because of what I had read about Africa/Rwanda over the years and this was almost certainly out of date, prejudicial and irrelevant! Keeping an open mind was key and Fred is a well-travelled man and so probably helped me in this regard without me even realising it!
Nothing was very difficult… Fred’s spirit was a little tricky to tame at times (knitting fog comes to mind) but this natural exuberance was invigorating to me. Communication was sometimes tricky if Fred was not in Kigali.
More self-respect than professional benefits. I have updated my LinkedIn profile to reflect a successful project. It has led to a couple of interesting comments from prospective clients particularly when they ask about my fee levels! I have been able to understand the different perspectives that are necessary to understand the implications for guiding a business owner in a country I have never visited and have very little knowledge of.
Significant, as I hope I have helped in a very small way and it has not cost me anything other than time, which I have enjoyed spending.
Best to ask Fred really. I would like to think that the sessions we had were informative, helped him work through his own thought channels and were fun. I think that some of the basics I put in place (cash flow, budgeting and proper market analysis before committing to a specific idea) will stand Fred in good stead going forward.
What would you say to another person who was thinking about becoming a consultant for Grow Movement? If you have the time, commitment and want to help someone whilst learning yourself then you should. The time commitment/duration is not so exhaustive to stop you trying it and, after you do it once you might get hooked!
Educational, Fun, Responsible, Testing and Rewarding.