At some point, I’ll need to think of a catchier titling system for these posts. If you have any suggestions, please let me know!
I was at my desk by 7.30am and powering through some admin. I write my to-do lists (which I live by) the night before as I find I work at my best when I can get cracking straight away. If I write my list in the morning, I often get distracted by Twitter or emails and before I know it, it’s 11am.
Before lunch, I headed out for a cheeky swim. I usually swim after ‘office hours’ but it was Friday after all! I try to walk as much as I can but swimming is my main form of exercise and I absolutely love it. I have a waterproof iPod made by a company called Waterfi which is one of my top 5 favourite possessions. It doesn’t require a naff plastic bag, the sound quality is excellent and it clips on to my swimsuit. They aren’t cheap but they are worth every penny and make such a difference to my swimming experience as I can drown out the noise from children’s swimming lessons and other people – get one! http://waterfi.com/waterproof-ipod
In the afternoon I had a meeting at Forward Partners which is what I spent some of my morning preparing for. Forward Partners hold ‘Office Hours’ once a month from 12pm-4pm as an opportunity for entrepreneurs to meet some of their Investment Partners in an informal one-to-one environment. You can choose to pitch or just to ask questions and get some advice which is what I was looking for.
I wanted their opinion on whether BOKAC was ready for investment and what they thought my next steps should be. The response was no, we aren’t ready and should spend time trying to grow BOKAC as much as possible in the Kensington & Chelsea area.
In lots of ways this was a relief for me as people in the startup world seem obsessed with the funding process and see how much investment gained as the primary benchmark for how ‘good’ your business is. I certainly agree that it is important but I would say customers (and happy customers at that) are also pretty crucial. When you are preparing pitch decks and meeting investors (which is a full-time task as the process often takes up to 6 months), the chances are that your customers are going to have to take a bit of a back seat for a while and that is dangerous.
My gut feeling had been that we/I’m not ready to look for investment but at the same time was wondering if I was just being a wimp and also understanding that not having any money is going to stall our growth very quickly! Now I know that I’m just going to have to be as creative, lean and savvy as possible for the next few months and that my sole purpose can and should be on growing the BOKAC branch alone, I feel much more focused. Those ‘What If?’ and ‘Should I?’ questions can be such an unsettling distraction.
The advice was practical, helpful and the meeting environment was very open and friendly – not scary at all! I would definitely recommend signing up for their next session. Details of the last one can be seen here: http://www.forwardpartners.com/blog/solo-founder-office-hours/