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Spoiltchild Design

2009 a learning year

They say there is a time for every season and situation under the sun. For us last year was a time of intensive learning. At the start of 2009 we set ourselves a goal, to push outside our comfort zones and to learn as much as possible. We wanted to develop new thinking and expand our competencies in areas of finance, strategy, marketing and business development. All of this work coincided with the running of business as usual and producing what we believe and you have told us, is our best work to date.

As 2010 begins I thought I’d review how we got on and how this new thinking has impacted on our business, our personal and professional development and the lessons that are bearing fruit for us now.

Last year, as many of you know, Alan completed the Hothouse Programme in DIT. From the intensive nature of the programme together with a fantastic bunch of like-minded entrepreneurs, who supported, encouraged and facilitated much refining and aligning of our business model, Hothouse enabled us to present a fully rounded, well executed business plan that was highly commended at the Seedcorn competition this year.

While Alan was busy in DIT, I completed the Advanced Diploma in Management Practice for the Arts with the University of Ulster and Business to Arts. Again it was a fascinating course and opened up my thinking on strategy and business development. It also facilitated meeting a fantastic group of people who work in the Arts in Ireland, they continue to inspire and inform my thinking.

Alan and I were then accepted onto the amazing Enterprise Ireland iGap programme that has pushed our thinking and our business forward at breakneck speed, most importantly, at the perfect time. All three programmes are proving to be an incredible experience and we will continue to reap the benefits well into the future.

And the final reward; as the last days of 2009 came to a close, our very first Innovation Voucher landed in the mail box. It will be used now a new development phase that has been well considered and researched thus using these funds to their optimum potential.

To sum up, taking part in any programme can be daunting but the clarity it gives, the perspective you gain at one remove, of your structures, product, customers and your thinking is worth the effort. The biggest benefit we have received is focus and clarity and a plan to make our business better by working smarter not harder.

As I said earlier, there is a time for everything. And as the world grapples to put Humpty back together again, maybe it is time to learn something new or improve skills you have already. It may be uncomfortable at first but will certainly stand to you in the end.


Image brianjmatis (CC)