Another week has hurtled by and the consultancy train rolls on! In this update, I try to find my place in the market and get blown away by the entrepreneurial spirit in Scotland…

Finding oneself

As I wrote about last week, I’ve been networking a lot, and one of the questions I’ve frequently been asked is ‘so, what vertical are you focussing on?’. In all honestly, I hadn’t been answering it particularly well until earlier this week, when I had numerous moments of clarity that lead to me deciding that I won’t be hamstringing myself within one sector/vertical.

Does that sound a little daft? Surely I should be picking one, say, software and zeroing-in on it? That would make my marketing and sales job a whole lot easier, right? Absolutely. I’m reticent to do that though. Why?

  • My sector experience is so broad that I believe I can offer value across multiple verticals.
  • As I’m just recently ‘back on the market’, that means I need to be driven by it to a certain extent.
  • To date, I’ve agreed projects/am at proposal stage with companies in consumer goods, software (B2C & B2B), drinks, fashion accessories and gaming. Diverse.
  • I believe that working in varied verticals gives you ideas and experiences that can be applied to other, seemingly unrelated areas.

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Just incase I hadn’t made reference to ‘vertical’ enough…

I think that’s strong enough evidence as to why I’m comfortable that I’ve decided not to ‘niche-down’. For a few days, I went back and forth, fairly stressed about where I sat in the market, now I really do wonder what I was getting my knickers-in-a-knot over.

One thing I am focussed on though is the stage that a potential client’s business is at; I’m at my most effective when devising either an initial strategy, i.e. the business is at an early stage, but ready to go to market, or with a later-stage company who’s marketing effectiveness has plateaued and needs given a boot up the backside.

The flip-side of that would be a business that has a large in-house marketing team and is supported by external agencies – it’s very hard for a consultant to find a place within that scenario.

Taking it to the EDGE

Last Thursday I spent the day at the Scottish EDGE finals, a competition that gives businesses the chance to win up to £150,000. My client, Slissie, who I’m at the early stages of working with, was pitching, so I wanted to go along and offer my support.

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Liz Casely in action

Liz’s pitch was amazing, and they went on to win £100,000, which is phenomenal achievement for a business that only began full trading in May this year. Well done team!

There were some fantastic businesses on show, each with clever ideas that solved real problems at their core. It was an intense day of 21 pitches – the judges have such a hard job to do in choosing the winners. It’s not a word I use lightly, but I truly inspired by the people putting themselves on that stage and more than a little proud of Scotland’s business community.

Aside from the pitches, the conversations I and the wider attendees were having with regards to business growth, common problems and so on were superb. There was no horrible rivalry between the pitching companies, just a sense of being in it together. Huge congratulations to all that took part, and the winners, who you can see a list of here.

Have a brilliant festive period!

The diary will be taking a rest over the festivities, so I’ll wish you a merry Christmas now and be on my way. I’ve already eaten 21 mince pies. Lovely.

See you in 2017! You can catch up on the rest of the diary here.

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