Question :
I have my own consulting business which I have been full time with for 5 months offering services in design, project management, research and innovation. Things have been going well until COVID-19.As work has tried up, I am now looking to pivot a bit and get some business ideas I have off the ground. I need help with networking, finding any funding and grants as well as mentoring.

Question submitted 09/04/20 @ 03:05pm
Industry: Creative Services
  • Hi there – good on you to stand-up and find new avenues. You might need to share a little more with us about the types of networks, funding and grants that will help you – ie be more specific if you can. Andy

    Hi Andy, thank you for your reply. I am looking for a business mentor to help guide some of my next steps and network with the appropriate people as I look to evaluate some business ideas and get something launched. I am also looking for advice on the best government grants to apply for to help get my business launched.

    The business idea I have is an ecommerce food website (which I know is flooded now), but this concept has a real point of difference which I have not found yet.

    Hi Andy, here is a bit more detail about what I am looking for.

    My Innovation Consulting business has ground to a halt. Unfortunately my current client base are not able to commit to anything at this stage. I am looking to access some totally new networks in business and in government – perhaps in another industry/city/country – as I know that there will be businesses out there that could really use my skills right now! I am trying to find people that can help me connect into these other networks.

    As the future of my Consulting business does not look as promising as it did two months ago. I am also looking to pivot a bit. I have a lot of start-up experience and I have alot of business ideas that I am currently considering. The one that seems the most promising is an e-commerce food business – with a real point of difference (as I know the market is flooded). I would really benefit from the help of any free business mentors that are available.

    I am also looking to find out about any government or other grants that I might be able to access to help me get my start-up off the ground.

    HI there – good to get this context. I am thinking through some options:

    On your consulting business – (1) are you on Linked In, that is a good place to lay some crumbs or stories for your consulting business and tag some of the people you have worked with (2) ask your past clients to recommend any other people you could talk too (3) see what other work they may have and (4) think about what other consultants in the market you might team up with to collaborate on jobs.

    On your startup – validation of the market is really important to get clear on what the real need and pain point is – yes, you can start with a view or hypothesis around the point of differentiation but it is only when your market, your target, your sweet spot says this that you know you have a point of difference that people value. There are some great resources on-line around validating your market with an interview approach to your target market, understanding how they do what they do now, not immediately selling your idea into them – understand them first. Check out Zero to One as a book by Peter Thiel – it is tech but still good, or try Dr Rob Adams wrote a book called If you Build it will they come? Or try the Lean Startup series of tools. There is also things like Business Mentors if you want a deeper relationship with a full-time mentor or depending on where you are based – you could approach your local EDA who provide mentoring.

    Hope that helps – Andy

    Hi Andy, thanks so much for your advice. Yes I am on Linkedin, and I can definitely do better in this area. It is an area I am going to be focusing on. Are there any organisations that you know of, that I should be getting in contact with directly to broaden my network? Thanks for the advice on my start up. I have done a lot of this type of research and validation before. I have found a pain point and I will be following this up with more research to validate this. Thanks for the book recomendations too! I will follow up your advice on how to get a business mentor as well. You and the team at Manaaki are doing some great work, I really respect and appreciate what you are doing! Cheers!

    Awesome – good Korero – the broadening of the network is such a good question, and my creative juices are not so good right now – I find that getting feeds from people I find interesting and then trying to contribute to some of their discussions or find angles that lead to conversations – not such great advice sorry! Ace on the startup – do some engagement with potential users to test out how they behave, what they do now, so you understand how present the pain point or opportunity might be or whether it requires an uncovering.

    Thanks so much Andy!

    my and our pleasure, go well, Andy

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