26 October 2011 by Dan
Despite various offers in my time I have eschewed connubial
bliss, cohabiting strife and concomitant pairings in favour of
dandyish independence living my life as a gentleman about town.
Whilst I have dashed form party-to-party and sped my way across
town from one dinner date to another I have never considered the
act of 'speed-dating'. How can one expect a prospective partner to
plunge the depths of my shallowness in just a few minutes? It would
take them that long to get over my dashing red trousers.
Yet here I was at the School for Creative Start-ups, a roomful of
lovelorn hopefuls trying not to look desperate but all knowing that
we were looking for the same thing.
Like burning cheeked debutantes, we sat looking timidly into a
middle distance as Master of Ceremonies, Doug Richard described how
he could help us sell ourselves and make ourselves desirable to
other, bigger, more dominant companies looking for fresh ideas and
I suddenly had a premonition of 'Master' Doug, top to toe in
leather pimping my wares in the window of his business premises, my
Dickie Wilkinson cufflinks turning into shackles reflecting the
light of the bare red bulb. A strange hand wafted something in a
bottle under my nose and I…
…I came to, concerned faces all around me, a kind colleague waving
smelling salts in my face. I reached for my handkerchief and patted
my brow recalling my father's advice never to go into trade.
How dare Doug, the one man I thought understood us, knew our
deepest darkest secrets now exploit us like this? Turning us
creative virgins into business whores!
Oh how wrong I was, like the irrational histrionics of a jealous
paramour I had misjudged the scene. Fortunately the ever-wonderful
Doug acted like a charming suitor, brushing aside any images of
subjugation by sharing with us his knowledge gained from both his
success and his failures.
Doug explained to us the value of partnerships and how start-up
businesses often underestimate what embracing a more experienced
partner can offer. Doug encouraged us to seek partnerships that may
help with channels of distribution, spelling out that distribution
can entail awareness, support, research and purchase.
Some of the business start-ups in the room had already taken the
first tentative steps in relationship building, and their stories
were both reassuring and enlightening. Business start-up ecomodo.com was
one such company.
Ecomodo is a sort of lending library for stuff: lawn mowers,
stepladders and somewhat bizarrely twelve replica daleks. Ecomodo
founder Tracy Currer has already taken her idea further getting
into bed with the famously efficient Wandsworth Council.
Tracy convinced them to set up a lending scheme within council
departments, powered by her site, to discourage profligate spending
on occasional use items that could be easily shared.
I fingered my bowtie thoughtfully wondering if borrowing a dalek
would enhance my image in any way.
Hannah Needham, who has founded thisisyourkingdom.co.uk, provided our
relationship-starved group with another example. TIYK is a listing
site with a twist where local people are asked to recommend local
businesses/events/places ('lovely local things to see and
It encourages communities and businesses to support each other's
activities while posting them on a site that has a nationwide
Hannah is cleverly embracing her customer and channel as one. The
power of individual recommendations garners support, which in turn
makes readers potential reviewers of places and recommenders of
A savvy insight and one I am happy to be betrothed to as I will be
contributing my own favourite perambulations, prandial pleasures
and purchasing pastimes over the coming months on TIYK.
Like forming a relationship a business partnership works best when
it both parties are being nourished by it. Channels offer
visibility and partnerships can offer both large and small
companies a symbiotic relationship.
Then Doug mentioned the magic word 'truelove', advising us to seek
out worthy partners and investors, to value ourselves as discerning
professionals and not beer- goggled desperados.
From being a roomful of lonely-hearts that had despaired of ever
finding 'The One' we suddenly realised that by setting out our
advantages and displaying our assets to their full potential, we,
in fact, were the catch.
Marrying ourselves to people with business acumen we wouldn't be
ending up as lonely spinsters, but as equal partners in a healthy
and mutually beneficial relationship.
This was no dark Freudian dream of business degeneracy, but a
Mills & Boon romance of harmonious togetherness. Like the
initially reluctant heroine of such stories, we raised our chins up
in fierce, independent determination as we whispered breathlessly;
So I ask you all dear readers. Consider if your business could
benefit from partnership. Consider how our economy needs ideas in
which we can work together to prosper.
Consider just what a good business relationship can be and finally
consider could you do with a bit of Dickie's style, wit and
penmanship in your business, if so then why not woo me?