What I Do
Iridescence is here to help your organisation grow and flourish. That might mean expanding your vision, looking at new markets, products or services, developing a new business model, creating a marketing strategy, generating new sources of income or increasing your profitability. Often it’s about helping your organisation through a time of change.
The first thing I'll want to know is what does your business dream of achieving? That’s what I mean by your vision – corporate or creative.
Vision is something everyone claims to have, yet so few organisations have a clear vision, or live by it. My approach to vision is pretty simple - if you don't know where you're going, how will you know when you've arrived?
Developing your vision is all about ‘blue sky’ thinking and opening up new opportunities for your venture. Sometimes it’s just about coming up with fresh and new ways of doing what you currently do.
Get the vision right and you’ll give your organisation a brilliant foundation for growth and income generation. Not to mention a solid competitive edge. Quite simply, a clear vision is the bedrock of any successful strategy.
Understanding where you would like to take your venture, be it in the next few months, or in 3 or 5 years time, is a great starting point. The next step is to identify exactly what sort of help you need. Which might be to evaluate development options for your organisation, create a new marketing strategy to increase your profile and attract more customers, establish the right organisational structure for your business or help you improve your profitability, for example. Perhaps you need a viable business model to support capital or revenue funding? Or the evidence to help catapult your business in a completely new direction and possibly discard products or services that simply aren't contributing.
Once I know precisely what you are looking for, then I can start to build a workplan, including what will be covered, the timescale and how and when we will communicate through the project.
Research and analysis
Next I will get my head right round your business, fast. There will be lots of information to gather and sift through – to separate the noise from the nuggets. I often need to consult with quite a few people too which might include your staff, directors, partners, funders or customers.
Once I have all the facts and can see the full picture, I can start to develop solutions with and for you.
What I 'deliver' for you will depend entirely on what you need and the objectives we have agreed for the consultancy.
Whilst the end product will often include some sort of report, I will always be delivering practical solutions to make your business more successful. Which boils down to helping you win more customers, generate more enquiries and convert them to sales, attract new customers, operate more efficiently, reduce your costs, optimise your pricing levels, know which products / services / customers have most profit potential, attract more funding, secure more support from partners ... for example.
Apart from this, clients typically come away from an Iridescence consultancy with increased energy, motivation and confidence, not to mention real clarity on what is important in improving the quality, competitiveness and profitability of their business.
What I Can Help With
I can offer expert advice based on two decades of practical experience in a wide range of specific areas, including :
You may have a clear vision for your venture, but want to know the best route to ensure success. You need to be confident that you understand the implications of different ways you might go before investing time and money into one particular direction. You might also need to convince colleagues, investors, partners, stakeholders or customers that the direction you are proposing makes good sense.
There’ll usually be a few different routes you can take. I can help you identify each of them and discard any red herrings early on. With fresh eyes I’ll probably also come up with one two ideas you hadn’t considered before. Before I can help you evaluate the options, we need to have a pretty good picture of what they look like. By asking questions and doing some research, I can bring the picture into focus.
Best option for business growth
Next I’ll develop set of evaluation criteria (bespoke to your business of course) which will allow you to see the pros and cons of your options, including: How much will it cost? How long will it take to set up? How risky is it? How strong is market demand? Will we need external expertise? When will I see a return?
Evaluating options professionally and strategically pays dividends. It will save you time and money and help you focus in on what really matters.
So you’ve got the vision and a specific idea to test - perhaps a new product or service for your organisation – or a completely new business. But before investing you need to know precisely how it will affect your business. In practice is it really achievable – and worthwhile? You’ll be looking for hard evidence to back up your idea and peace of mind that you’re making the right decision. So how can Iridescence help?
First I’ll get my head around the markets for your business and find out to what extent customers really want you’re proposing. I’ll also need to understand how competitive your environment is and what size of market share you can realistically hope to clinch. We’ll look at any companies who excel in offering a similar product or service and make sure we learn from their successes.
Shaping the Business Model
Then I’ll put together a framework business plan for the idea so we can start to see what the business might actually look like. This will help us answer lots of specific questions such as: How many people will be needed? What might we need to spend on marketing? Which elements of the venture can we run in-house and what should we contract out? Who might we develop delivery partnerships with? What will the profit level in Year 5 look like? What will I need to do in the first 3 weeks, or 3 months, or 3 years?
So, there’s no fuzziness when it comes to Iridescence feasibility studies, instead you’ll get a well-researched view on the value of your idea and an indication of how things might look for the first few years of operation. Think of it like putting a huge spotlight and magnifying glass on your idea – everything comes into sharp bright focus and you can see the full picture. Before you dive in.
If your organisation is a social enterprise or charity, the chances are you are eligible to apply for some sort of grant income. This might be a capital grant to help develop a building or buy some new equipment. Or perhaps you need revenue funding to support an activity which wouldn’t be viable without a little financial help. Maybe you need to raise finance for a new post within your organisation or require a little seed-funding to test a new idea.
So you might be looking for a few thousand pounds … or a few million? I have helped clients generate funds from lots of sources including the Lottery, Arts Councils, the European Union, Local Authorities and Charitable Trusts and Foundations, for example.
Polished and professional
The truth? Securing grants is about building your profile and presenting an enticing and extremely robust, well-researched case. I work to identify exactly what the funder wants, then help you gather all the detailed evidence they need and submit a bid that will get results. And the money.
Of course fundraising is not just about grants. If you’re looking to boost your income, you’ll probably want to explore every single source open to you. This is however a time-consuming process and, if you’re reading this, maybe you don’t have the time or skills to do it? That’s where Iridescence comes in. I can help you develop a fundraising strategy which identifies the best sources for your organisation – be it grants, fundraising events, legacy funding, sponsorship, private donations, public giving, friends and membership schemes or other initiatives. I’ll also give you the practical tools to get your fundraising plan rolling – quickly.
Sound strategic planning is key to delivering your vision and making sure you have a rock solid and viable foundation.
Perhaps you are a small company that’s starting to grow quite quickly and feel you could do with some external expertise in developing a strategy to guide you through those exciting times. Maybe your venture is struggling a bit – you’re losing sales, or a new competitor has come on the scene. You need to stop and understand what’s not working and put some solid plans in place to get you back on track. This might mean developing a better marketing strategy. Or a sharper pricing policy. Or more training to give your team more confidence and competitive edge. I’ll look at every facet of your operation and we’ll get you moving in the right direction again.
Some organisations commission an Iridescence business plan because they’re going for major funding and need a watertight 'case' to accompany their bid. I can challenge and fine-tune your strategies and help you articulate what you are all about. I’ll communicate your ambitions and plans with polish and professionalism and make sure you stand out from all the rest.
Often people think of business plans simply as profit and loss and cashflow projections. But numbers are only a part of the story. You need to understand the market demand and strategies that underpin the financial forecasts to produce a credible business plan.
What exactly does an Iridescence business plan involve?
‘Comprehensive’ doesn’t really cover it, but here’s an idea of what’s included: an understanding of every corner of your market, clear objectives – to deliver your vision, the right products and services for your market, the delivery model for your business (the people, equipment, systems, etc you'll need), an effective pricing model, a marketing strategy (how to say the right things to the right people) and ... how you will generate revenue and profit. After all, that's what business plans are all about, whether you’re totally commercial or a social enterprise. I'll also put together financial forecasts, help you define performance indicators and draw up a realistic implementation plan - to make the whole thing work.
So, an Iridescence business plan is a comprehensive and strategic document you can really rely on.
Would you like to develop a more appealing image amongst your customers or increase customer loyalty? Generate more enquiries or convert more of your enquiries to sales? Get more website hits? Develop the confidence to sell your venture more effectively to customers, partners, funders or stakeholders? Understand the value of branding and how it can work for you? Measure the impact of your marketing and understand which elements are most effective?
Your marketing strategy is just one part – but a very important part – of your overall strategy. With a background in marketing and brand management, I can help in lots of ways. I take a very strategic approach to marketing planning, ensuring marketing strategy feeds off your overall vision and business plan. In other words, marketing becomes part of a strategic whole – not fenced-off in some distant department. So your activity - and marketing spend - will be really focused and a lot more effective.
How will Iridescence help create your sales and marketing strategy? First, I’ll help you understand exactly which customers are worth targeting and why. Then we’ll look at the messages we want to communicate to each audience and the best channels of communication. We’ll also fine-tune your sales tactics and give you the sales materials you need to engage your customers and present what you have to offer in the very best light.
Delivering the marketing plan
Whilst I specialise in marketing strategy and planning, I also have a strong team of associates who can deliver your marketing plans, including brand identity, web design, PR, print, copy-writing, exhibition design, email-marketing and social media, tele-marketing, market research and sales training. Some of this you may of course do in-house, but if you’d like me to manage your marketing campaign, I’ll happily provide a one-stop-shop. The benefit? You save time and probably money. Oh, and the buck stops with me. You won’t be dealing with lots of suppliers, just me. I’ll coordinate everything and make sure you get the quality you need, on time and on budget.
Mentoring & Coaching
Sometimes it’s helpful to have access to senior expertise, especially when you don’t have all that you need in-house.
Could you benefit from some practical advice on a day-to-day basis? Someone to download to, to bounce ideas off, to check if you’re on track, perhaps give you a bit of motivation and inspiration from time-to-time? Or perhaps just help you and the team get things done more quickly and reduce your workload a bit?
I can mentor and coach you or members of your team to help you get where you want to go – a little more quickly. It may be to get you through a tricky or busy period or do a bit of hand-holding whilst we implement strategies I have helped you to develop.
At the end of the day, it’s all about giving you and your team more time, confidence and skills – and wings to fly.