It’s been a busy few weeks, with another wee holiday slotted in, I’m making up for lost time over the last 18 months!
Unlocking Ambition this month has been all about funding, and we’ve heard from a number of folk from previous cohorts. They’ve shared the challenges they’ve had finding the right sort of funding for their business, some of their successes and some of their failures. It never ceases to please me how so many folk are willing to help, offer ideas and just generally give you motivation to keep going by sharing their own stories.
Unlocking Ambition moves onto “International Ambition” next month, where we will be taking at an international outlook. Interestingly all the way back at the start of lockdown in March 2020, we only had Scottish clients. The essential move to working effectively from home, and the way virtual calls and remote working has become the norm has enabled us to think bigger, expand our client base and we are now firmly established as a UK wide business. So who knows what the next year will bring us, but this sounds like a great way to get us thinking, learning and planning.
Finding new business needs a few key things, including a strong brand. We’re very proud of our wee purple elephant, and behind the scenes it’s been getting a wee bit of a spruce up. We are really excited to be getting nearer to the point of sharing this with you, and early next year should see the start of that.
A real high point of the last week was that we went to a conference! An actual real live conference in a room, with our big purple elephant banners! We were delighted to be back at the Data Summit hosted by the Data Lab, and even more so as we were sponsoring. If you’ve not read the story on how Jo and I met, take a read here, but it means this conference has an important place in the history of Effini.
It was a great event, with a really excellent group of speakers. The logistics must have been a bit of a nightmare as the event was a hybrid one and we heard from our team back in their home offices that the experience at that end of things was also great.
The day ended with a thoroughly enjoyable exec dinner at The Balmoral, with an inspiring after dinner talk from Ade Adepitan, the multi talented wheelchair basketball Paralympian coma TV presenter, travel journalist and children’s author.
Both events meant the chance to catch up with familiar faces and have a proper blether and chat. It’s one of the things I’ve really struggled without in last year. The actual sitting working in an office isn’t something I miss at all, but when it comes to the conversations and group activities, I need it.
I’m delighted to have also have booked our Christmas meal. We’ve taken the approach of a short survey for all the team to allow everyone to feed in their thoughts and needs. Everyone’s at different points of feeling comfortable with group events due to Covid, however work nights out can be a challenge for many other reasons.
I have many conversations with organisations about creating inclusive environments. Christmas nights out are an interesting area that often people just throw all the rules away and go straight into planning a drunken extravaganza! That’s not everyone’s cup of tea, and some people go purely as they feel it’s expected, or that if they don’t go, they’re missing out. We’ve been (hopefully!) very clear that everyone needs to do what works for them, for whatever reason, and that if they choose not to go, we’ll still be sending them a special treat to make up for not being at the dinner. Being inclusive isn’t a tick box exercise once a year. Every time you do something, think about how it affects folk who aren’t like you, and how you may be able to take an alternative approach to make all feel valued.
Right, on with the rest of the week, hope you all have a great one!