Working with people, not against them
I never thought I’d be a businessman.
My Dad’s been a businessman all his life. I’m so proud of him. Get this: he started off as a rep for Persil. By the time I was born, he was working for Fry’s Confectionery, then for Cadbury’s. Mad Men suit, a leather briefcase and a Vauxhall Victor loaded with samples. He moved up into management, got a desk job at Bournville (but still travelled, because he loved it). After leaving Cadbury Schweppes, while his contemporaries opted for a cosy retirement, my Dad set up his own business acting as an agent between small, high-quality food producers and top clients like Harrods, Lakeland and big hamper companies. Now in his seventies (not that you’d think so) he’s still running Hawkins Hamper Supplies. He’s still tooling all over the country, putting great food companies and eager customers together. Check out his website Hawkins Hamper Supplies. He’s not a fan of social media, which is a shame. I keep trying, but …
Why am I telling you all this? Because despite my Dad’s lifelong immersion in the world of business, I never saw myself following the same path. You don’t, do you? You want to be different from your parents. Hence, thirty years in (mostly) public-service broadcasting, the polar opposite of the world of commerce. ’Business’ to me meant men (never women) in saggy suits and joyless offices, trying to outdo each other. Glengarry Glen Ross at the South Mimms services.
Hence my surprise at becoming a business person, and the mental adjustments that I’ve made to get used to the idea. Thanks to Michaela Hardwick for helping me!
It’s been good to discover that business doesn’t have to be viciously competitive. It can be co-operative, too. I’m very pleased to be involved in two examples of this co-operation.
Firstly, StartAssist. The brainchild of Janet Dale and Nigel Lomax, the idea of StartAssist is to make life much easier for you, when you start your own new business in Shropshire. You get a business web page, social-media promotion, introductions to business networks and trusted suppliers, and rucks of advice and information. What’s my involvement? I’m one of the suppliers. If you sign up with StartAssist, you can get a discounted rate on the people-photos you’ll need. And if you’re quick, you could win all of the above, for free! How so? Click here StartAssist competition to find out more. You can listen to Janet explaining the whole idea to BBC Radio Shropshire‘s Tim Beech here.
Secondly, Venture. Every month, I host a networking meeting for social enterprises in Shropshire. It’s put on by Beyond Brilliance CIC with help and support from the Community Council of Shropshire’s social enterprise team. It’s very co-operative; at each meeting we talk through the soc-ent experience, share good practice and try to find solutions to each other’s problems and challenges. Great guest speakers, too. The next meeting is on Wednesday, February 22. Want to come along? You’d be made very welcome. Book here. If you need any more convincing, Hannah Adjepong from Inspire And Bless will be bringing some Ghanaian food …
Hooray for helping people. I’m glad to be working with people, rather than against them. That’s how it should be, shouldn’t it?