Neil Lewis - Innovative Entrepreneur

Solving problems by growing profitable businesses @neil_lewis

Wanted: freelance chairmen, leadership coaches, founders and marketing directors

Something is brewing.

Established business have lifted the draw bridge since the beginning of the year and are sticky with cost cutting along with tried and tested methods.

Hiring freelancers or outsourcing to experts doesn’t normally fit into the ‘tried and tested’ method, but, nevertheless, something is brewing…

One of the big developments on the business scene this year is the explosion of Accelerator Programmes. These are people led business incubators where the founders of a startup follow a 13 week course to take their ‘great idea’ or fledgling business and expose it to the knowledge and expertise of mentors, chairmen, successful entrepreneurs and other experts, with the aim of raising finance to allow them to continue.

Another change is a recognition that many of the ‘successfully launched startups’ are beginning to flag and show flat line growth.

The shift

Slowly but surely, the accelerator programmes are encouraging a shift of emphasis, from, “my biggest challenge is a lack of money” – to – “my biggest challenge is a lack of talent“.

Now, please read carefully, I do not say for one moment that the founders of these businesses lack talent – they clearly do – not only that, they are also courageous and hardworking.

Rather, the message here is that the business lacks the right talent.

That is, to grow successfully, a business not only needs the energy and talent of its founders and its brilliant technical or scientific experts, but it also needs the commercial skills to succeed in today’s (tough) environment – and that the mix of those skills will necessarily change as the business grows (or doesn’t grow).

Add to this, the fact that those teams need not only to engage the brightest and smartest, but they also need to steer, guide and encourage those talented – but vastly different – people to work to a common goal.

Hence, the need in the immediate future is for talented and experienced chairmen (or chairwomen) , leadership coaches to support the founder / entrepreneur in his rapidly shiftly journey and finally, all great businesses need the very best marketing and sales directors.

This was exactly the conculsion of the final beta trials that I ran for the eTeamTool as part of the Springboard accelerator programme in the University of Cambridge’s business incubator.

The eTeamTool did a superb job of clearly laying open the need for chairmen, leadership coaches and CEO/ sales and marketing directors, in the startup business on which we focused and therefore, set out a clear game plan on how to move forward.

Of course, some businesses will need additional talent – but even this list of talent forms a formidable challenge for most businesses and is, in my experience, the key factor that holds good business back from becoming great businesses.

So what is the solution?

Clearly, we can not solve this talent problem by simply introducing high value executive skills or coaching ability to businesses which are struggling to break even – it would break the bank, and that would be to no one’s gain.

Of course, if a business can afford to hire the talent, then this can be done with cash – but it is usually the lack of cash (or lack of sales, more to the point) that makes the business fearful and hence averse to making any kind of commitment. This then leads to a downward spiral of flat line or falling sales, greater nervousness and reluctance to hire the best talent.

So, we have to find another way, and that way can only be through greater equity share.

In the autumn, my company, Media Modo LLP (owner of Enterprise Freelance Fair) will launch a new equity driven way of bringing the right talent to bear on a growth business.

In addition, we can use our unique eTeamTool which lays out a structure approach to talent management in startup and fast growth businesses to help the management team focus on acquiring the right team structure, skills and capabilities.

Lastly, through our Enterprise Freelance Fair contacts, we can match founders and commercial teams with talented chairmen and mentors, which ultimately, will enable the business to raise finance and fund their future growth.

So, if you would like to be a part of this exciting next stage, please keep watching this newsletter or contact me via LinkedIn. Here’s a reminder of what we will be looking for;

  • Chairmen
  • Mentors and experts
  • Founders
  • Developers
  • Marketing / Sales and Commercial Directors
  • Leadership Coaches

More details will follow in the next two months – but look out of our September launch.

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Written by Editor on July 5, 2011 and filed in Entrepreneurs, Featured, Freelance Jobs, Innovative Entrepreneur, News , , , ,

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