Business advisers must nurture people

Business advisers must nurture peopleWhilst my work involves frequent presentations to people within education, it’s rare for me to be in a primary school.

But this last week, one audience was a class of enthusiastic Year 6 pupils from the Yorkshire town of Selby.

Being enterprising (and specifically making and selling biscuits) is to be a key part of the pupils’ forthcoming school fayre and was thus the topic in the presentation spotlight. It was my job to inspire and advise. We had a ball, and the hour passed far too quickly.

Advising Start-ups

Being a short drive from the office, I was back at my desk later that afternoon in time to take a Skype call from 2 Chester University graduates. They had recently started out in business. Like their Year 6 counterparts, their energy was infectious although some of the thinking needed refinement and polish.

As the 3 of us chatted I reflected on Alex Osterwalder’s and Steve Blank’s work with the Business Model Canvas. I could see how both the 2 young entrepreneurs as well as Year 6 kids were working through the early stages of their venture to test out ideas and discover what worked and what didn’t. Hopefully, the collective experience would prove to be invaluable research, from which the business that ultimately performed would flourish.

Critical empathy

My early days in my first start-up were full of mistakes, naive thinking and flawed assumptions. It took me over 3 years to find a business model that really worked. In that time I received support from a number of advisers, but unlike many people I knew back then, no one rubbished my half-baked ideas and skewed dreams . It’s probably a key reason why I stayed self-employed.

For me, business advisers must nurture people first rather than simply focus on the business idea and levels of acumen. Whilst untruths help no-one, being blunt is typically inappropriate – unless of course disaster is imminent. Alongside guidance, we have to show empathy, kindness and care in order to be able to influence thinking and ultimately gain a position of trust where advice can be offered and received with appropriate effect.

In his now famous  ‘Bring on the Learning Revolution’ TED presentation at Long Beach California, Sir Ken Robinson reads one of Yeats’ famous poems. Robinson does so to make the point that we need to tread softly when helping young children to learn. The poem in question ‘Cloths of Heaven’ should also in my opinion be part of any training for business advisers seeking to support entrepreneurs.

Cloths of Heaven

Had I the heavens’ embroidered cloths,
Enwrought with golden and silver light,
The blue and the dim and the dark cloths
Of night and light and the half-light,
I would spread the cloths under your feet:
But I, being poor, have only my dreams;
I have spread my dreams under your feet;
Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.

William Butler Yeats

Key Learning Points: Opportunities to work with people who possess energy, enthusiasm and an appetite for work should be treasured. Whether acting as teacher or business adviser, this is the time to shape thinking and forge influential and lasting relationships.

 

Game-changing business simulation

Creating SimVenture Evolution, a game-changing business simulation

Creating SimVenture Evolution, a game-changing business simulation

Whilst the team is yet to see the blood, much sweat and the occasional tear has been shed whilst building what we believe will be a game-changing business simulation.

SimVenture Evolution has taken 4 years of our lives, but everyone involved in the project knows the time has been well spent. The new technology takes all that is good from the original SimVenture software and adds a range of new features which we believe will advance learning and teaching in the fields of business and entrepreneurship.

SimVenture Evolution launches in early 2015.

Game-changing business simulation – what makes it special?

Since the original software (SimVenture) was created in 2006, the team has been learning from and working with people throughout the world. We’ve been continually gathering feedback and discovering what is needed so teachers and trainers can work more efficiently and effectively and users can access engaging and authentic resources that accelerate and embed learning. SimVenture Evolution is the result of all this work.

You can find out more about SimVenture Evolution on the new website, but below is a ‘summary list of key features:

  1. Evolution is an on-line business simulation allowing user access wherever there is an internet connection
  2. Being on-line means there is no need to install proprietary software on internal systems
  3. Multi-platform access – Evolution can be used on Mac, Tablet or PC
  4. Multi-player functionality allows people to compete against other people or the computer
  5. Users run a business for up to 10 simulated years (to SME size) and address all major areas of business
  6. Using different computers, teams can work together or work remotely on the same ‘game’
  7. The sophisticated simulation engine is designed so markets fluctuate and replicate real-world behaviour
  8. Relevant information about key business and entrepreneurship issues is included within the software
  9. Control tower functionality allows teachers/trainers to set, observe, communicate with and assess work remotely
  10. Bite-size user activities are incorporated into the simulation so teachers can focus on subjects, themes & relate work to course objectives
  11. User data is continually captured allowing for powerful in-depth post simulation reflections and presentations
  12. The simulation is designed to be translated into any language and teachers/trainers can add relevant information, images and web-links
  13. Offered from £25 per user per annum, Evolution is the cost of a text book but gives the user much more
  14. Using simple account login access, Evolution provides a flexible, powerful and personal learning resource

As part of the build up to the launch of Evolution, we were delighted that 10 Higher Education Institutions chose to Partner with the team and as a result receive 2 years’ site wide use of the simulation as well as training and materials. If you have any queries, suggestions or ideas about using this game-changing business simulation, please do get in touch or leave a note.

Seasons greetings and in the spirit of the subject and the time of year, here’s a Santa simulator I found which you may also like to try…

Peter

 

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