Saturday, 22 December 2012

Early New Year Resolution that could make a big difference in 2013

Look at your top prospects for next year and ask yourself  which give you the biggest concerns and/or barriers to winning business in 2013.

Once you have decided, use that assessment as the basis of your focus for January. We all tend to concentrate on the easy things first, but what is the point (from a sales perspective) of putting the tough work off - get it out of the way. At best you will win the business more quickly and get a flier for the New Year. At worst, you will know far better what your pipeline looks like and what you need to do to back-fill any sales forecast from those prospects/clients that evaporate.

Put simply, much better to get the difficult sales issues sorted early in the year when you have still got 10 or 11 months of the year left to do something about it!

Sunday, 7 October 2012

It takes a Winner to know a Winner

We are delighted to announce that the Managing Director of the winning team from Bath Startup Weekend #1 from June this year has joined the judging panel for Bath #2.

This means there will be someone on the panel who knows exactly what it takes to win at Startup Weekend. Who knows what everyone will have put themselves through during the 54 hours of pitching their ideas, pulling a team together, building a business and preparing a winning presentation. Someone who knows that anyone with a good idea and a willingness to put in the effort can make it to the No.1 spot.

Bath Startup Weekend #2 Tickets are on sale now
Go to
It could not be easier.
We look forward to seeing you over the weekend of 2nd to 4th November, 2012.

Tuesday, 21 August 2012

Sir Steve Redgrave and the organisers of Bath Startup Weekend

Four times Olympic rowing gold medallist Sir Steve Redgrave famously said “”I hereby give permission to anybody who catches me in a boat again to shoot me.”

A few days before the beginning of Bath Startup Weekend #1, the above statement could have easily been modified to how we were feeling. The way we struggled to get sponsorship meant that the whole process was a huge challenge, until of course the wonderful people at Bath Ventures, Bath Spa University and BathNES Council stepped in.

Now we are doing it all over again and because Bath Startup Weekend #1 was such a success and fantastic fun, the feeling this time is that you would have to shoot us to stop us from making #2 happen and be even better than the first time around!

Saturday, 7 July 2012

One of the biggest crimes in proposal writing!

We all know the huge effort that needs to go into producing the best possible proposal. A document that pulls together all the elements of our understanding of a prospect's needs and then translates that understanding into a compelling proposition and solution. Such proposals can take tens, if not hundreds of man-hours of work, particularly when factoring in all the effort that has lead up to the development of the document throughout the sales campaign. Just think about the number of times you and your colleagues have worked late into the night to produce a proposal that has to be submitted urgently.

And then what do we do? Put the proposal in the post or send it as an email attachment, even though throughout the sales proces we have known the importance of face-time with the client, having got in front of them at every and any possible opportunity. It is almost as if we some how believe that presentation of the proposal is not part of the sales campaign.

Agree early with your prospect that you will come in and present the proposal to them, they will not always agree but to be honest to yourself and the level of effort you have put into the sales campaign, you must at least ask.

Perhaps you also need to challenge yourself a bit! If you are not willing or happy to present the proposal in person, is it because you are not as happy or confident about the content as you should be?

Wednesday, 13 June 2012

Bath Startup Weekend - Why was I worried?

Not going to say anything, other than use the kind words of those shown below.


“The Council were pleased to sponsor this innovative Weekend Event, encouraging business Start –Ups, and a First in Bath. There was a real buzz at the weekend, with groups getting ideas and teams together, some of them working through the night, and the excellent mentors throwing themselves into the process as well.

"The judging was a tough call, in the face of the talent and energy of ideas produced, but we managed to narrow it down to a few outstanding teams, and the Winner, “Energy Slash” a local team, whom I have no doubts will go on to do very well with their winning idea . I commend Charles Grimsdale of Eden Ventures in Bath, for his active input and sponsoring the winning team awards and I encourage the wider business community to support and help bring this initiative back again next year.”

- Cllr Cherry Beath, Bath & North East Somerset Council (Speaker, Judge)

"Great ideas which have come such a long way in just a weekend"

- Karen Brooks, SETsquared Partnership (Judge)

"a great event"

- Charles Grimsdale, Eden Ventures (Speaker, Judge)

"I had the pleasure to participate last evening. Excellent event, great ideas, fantastic vibe!"

- Sean Smith, Matox Technologies (Judge)

"we really enjoyed the day"

- Paulina Sygulska and Daniel Tenner, Granttree (Mentors)

"Fantastic weekend, really enjoyed it and just getting back to normality here, thanks for the event"

Gavin Bryan (Participant)

"Had a wonderful time this weekend, and still buzzing from the excitement while catching up with rest. Thanks again for inviting me down and all your support. Look forward to the next steps of the adventure too!"

- Monica Chong (Participant)

"Awesome! I love Bath Startup Weekend"

- James Cole (Participant)

"A terrific startup weekend. We were just grateful to be part of such a successful event."

- Shaun Gibson and Doug Ward (Participants)

"I greatly enjoyed the Startup Weekend in Bath"

- Paul Guerrier (Participant)

"I had a really great time and learned a lot in an incredibly short amount of time. An amazing event. By Sunday evening, everyone I was speaking to was as enthusiastic as they had been on Friday, if just a little more tired"

- Greg Lewis (Participant)

"Great time at startup weekend"

- Ben Lumley (Participant)

"...such a fantastic weekend...

"I'm particularly grateful to you for two specific parts of the weekend. Firstly, in supporting Andrew & I in our decision to work on our own project rather than one of those voted for...

"Secondly, I really appreciate the time and effort you clearly put in to choosing the mentors and persuading them to give their time to the project. The four people that we spoke to were instrumental in our ability to define and refine our sponsorship strategy, which is exactly what we needed to do as we look to approach the council and look for phone operator sponsors.

"I look forward to keeping in touch, and if you're crazy enough to run one again in the autumn I will certainly attend and will do all I can in my role with the University Enterprise department to promote it out to our students."

- Luke Tregidgo (Participant)

Thursday, 31 May 2012

Startup Weekend? It has been Startup Month and it is still ongoing

When Tom (my business partner) and I volunteered (kind of) to organise the first ever Startup Weekend in the West Country, neither of us really recognised what we were taking on!

Thanks to the fantastic folks at Bath Ventures, the organisation of the event has been the easiest part - well easy compared to getting sponsorship, which has proved to be a substantive challenge. But following fantastic efforts from Tom, as well as Bath Ventures we now also have Bath & North East Somerset Council and Bath Spa University on board.

Together with fantastic speakers, judges and mentors from companies including Eden Ventures, RightMove, Grant Tree and Catalyst Venture Partners.

Now we just have to sell all the tickets - which is going well, but as usual I will not be happy until we have hit our target - watch this space.

Monday, 30 April 2012

Startup Weekend - A great idea and coming to Bath with me as a joint organiser

 Back in September 2011 I attended my first Startup Weekend in London with my business partner Tom. We were so taken by the event that we volunteered to organise one ourselves and now it is only a few weeks off. June 8th - 10th at The Bath Innovation Centre.

Startup Weekend is a non-profit, community-building event  powered by the Kauffman Foundation that brings together entrepreneurs of all backgrounds including software developers,marketers, designers, and other enthusiasts to pitch ideas, form teams and start companies in just 54 hours. The participants that attend have 60 seconds to make a pitch (optional), the pitches are whittled down to the top ideas, and then teams form around the ideas to come out with several developed companies or projects. Finally, the weekend culminates with demonstrations in front of an audience of judges and potential investors.

It also happens to be a lot of fun and worth mentioning that food and drink is included all weekend!



On Twitter please follow
@SWBath and use #swbath

WISH US LOTS OF LUCK - Don't think I will be able to go the whole 54 hours without sleep!

Friday, 23 March 2012

In sales be careful you are not doing a Donald Rumsfeld

Do you remember Donald Rumsfeld, the United States Secretary of Defence during the Iraq war?

If you do, then you may well also recall his famous statement (although like most of us you probably don't understand it).

"There are known knowns; there are things we know we know. We also know
there are known unknowns; that is to say we know there are some things we do
not know. But there are also unknown unknowns - there are things we do not
know we don't know"

However what did strike me was the number of times sales people get distracted by company strategy, almost using it as a reason not to know as much as they possibly could about what is going on in their own personal part of the business or territory. Making absolutely certain that we know everything we can about what our clients, prospects and the competition are doing - irrespective of what else may or may not be going on in the business, with management or colleagues!

How many "Unknown unknowns" do you have that could make a difference to your sales numbers? If you are not the expert on your part of the business, then someone else will be.

Saturday, 25 February 2012

Don't be a 'Yes Man' - when the boss says 'No you can also say 'No'

Lets get on thing straight from the start, I am not some great champion of bosses. In fact I am the guy who often uses the expression "There are no bad workers, only bad bosses". Meaning that it is the boss's job to help their staff to be the best they can be - that is what they are there for!

That said, it does worry me the number of times I see sales people (and other job roles) automatically laying the whole responsibility for things going wrong at the feet of the boss. Almost as if somehow they go out of their way to screw up staff's lives.

My experience is that the vast amount of the time managers are doing what they believe is best for the business and could do with a little more support. Of course there are exceptions and you might well be working for one, but have a think before you criticise too much! How would you do things differently? It is funny that most managers in the past thought just the same as you and now end up getting the blame.

Just occasionally cut your boss a bit of slack and give them a 100% support. Often they are the difference between your success and failure - so why wouldn't you?

Sunday, 22 January 2012

Time Management - not needed for sales people! Really - well how about 10 minutes?

I sometimes feel that because we believe that selling can be such an unstructured activity (most of the time it really isn't) we tend to only play lip service to Time Management.

We like to claim that anyone not involved in the magic art in which we specialise does not realise just how flexible and inspirational we need to be. How could we possibly work within the confines of a structured, time based environment?

So what about the number of times 'stuff' that needs to be done gets in the way of us working our 'magic'? Stuff like reports, meeting reviews, proposals, quotations, CRM updates, etc - need I go on?

With this in mind, I was very taken by a fact that perhaps many of you already know, but certainly hit me between the eyes. Using an extra 10 minutes per day on effective work, rather than dreaming, chatting, standing at the coffee machine (as we all like to), equates to one whole extra weeks work per year. I don't know about you but I could certainly use an extra week, even if it was just to get my expenses done!