I founded Twenty3c after I left a previous job in the cycle industry. I was 22 and thought I knew enough to conquer the world. In hindsight I didn’t, but what I managed to achieve with this naive outlook was to build a business, an independent bricks and mortar bike shop. In reality, it was less of a business, more of a job. I’d created a job for myself, and a few positions around me but what happened this year changed my whole perception of my ‘business’ and has started me on a new path.
Earlier this year I was accepted onto a course, it was a course for small businesses. A course for businesses with aspirations to grow because the figures show there aren’t many.
“Two-thirds of small businesses in the UK record no employment growth and a third record no growth in sales”
Anyadike‐Danes and Hart,2015 – ERC
I wanted to own a business that grows, if this course could help me to achieve this then it could only be a good thing, right? The course in question was the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses Programme. A 3 month course that involved a lot of web sessions, numerous residential blocks and a business mentor. It sounded like a great opportunity and when the email came through to say I had gained a place I was over the moon.
Throughout the course we had numerous modules and the chance to work with so many experienced individuals within different specialties. A couple of the modules during the Oxford residential had a profound impact on my outlook. The leadership workshop by Lily Newman from Morgan James Consulting was so inspiring. I am not a natural leader at all. The way I work is so far from normal it’s impossible to explain, you would have to ask my staff (those that are left and have worked out the best way to read me!). The workshops with Lily were amazing, learning about leadership, types of leaders and the best way to lead teams. By the end, even I believed it may be possible for me to be a leader, a real leader, not just one by job title, even with my quirks!
The second module that really changed my outlook, not only on my business but business in general was a day with Pete Wild, an accountant (I know, I was half asleep before the sessions started, and I didn’t think I’d get through the day!) but Pete was no ordinary accountant, he had the entire room hanging on his every word for the whole day. It was inspiring in so many ways.
Once the Oxford residential was over and I had returned to my regular ‘day job’ I had time to give everything some thought. Had the course been worth it? Every minute. But what I hadn’t banked on was the impact it would have on my job. I am no longer a bike shop owner. I am now an Entrepreneur.
Watch this space…
Featured picture is inside Exeter College, Oxford during the residential. An amazing evening with the entire GS10KSB Cohort.