Last week was a revelation. I not only identified and met 3 new role models, but I learned and absorbed so much about the opportunities and challenges of the creative sector, particularly in terms of entrepreneurship, technology and cultural leadership at the REMIX London conference with Culture Label. Every session had incredible value and my mind is still actually blown right now! At the event itself, I felt confident enough in my own abilities to approach those new role models and say “I like what you do, let’s work together”. I’m not saying this with a “let’s work together NOW!” kind of approach, but rather an ‘at some point’ kind of thought.
In particular, Richard Reed (formerly of Innocent Drinks) talked about 5 key points for success:
1. Organise around a single idea – not only a single idea, but a simple idea that people can ‘get’, that everyone understands and sees the relevance and importance of. I know I am guilty of confusing things too much with too many possibilities, too many ideas and not enough clarity. I get all excited about potential with not enough focus.
2. Recruit dreamers who do – not just those with ideas, not just those who make it happen, but that fantastic combination of both. People who get and commit to the idea and who can bring all of their expertise and ability to making it happen. Again, I haven’t always sought these people out but rather had to fill a gap. And every time it has backfired on me, so this is my new rule for recruitment!
3. Start small, but start – by all means dream big dreams but know where the starting point is and get on with it. There are plenty of people out there who have great ideas but few who have made them happen and made them successful. I have always worked on the basis that if I would always ask ‘what if I had’, then I should get on and try it!
4. Work the details – I cannot stress enough how important attention to detail is throughout what we do. It’s all part of creating that event experience that people love, engage with and want to be part of. Working the details means getting the best from all of the resources available, including people, and ensuring that all of it works towards achieving that single idea to its best potential.
5. Be open – I have been criticised previously for being too open, sharing too many ideas and being too generous with time and intellectual capacity. I find it hard to not share when we are talking ideas and connections and exciting projects! I have only had my fingers burnt on this a couple of times over the last 6 years and we may have lost cash or ideas as a consequence but if someone or an organisation works like that then they are definitely not the right people for us to be collaborating with. I had this with a charity where I put in significant time to develop an events strategy and write funding bids only for them to progressively work us and our fee out of the plan. It still hurts but it won’t stop me from being open to ideas, people and opportunity.
Each of these points have been a useful reminder of what really makes success in a creative business. In fact, I think in any business. I’m off to rewrite the business plan!
Claire Eason-Basset, Managing Director Mackerel Sky Events and Event Cornwall