Stirchley Stores

Lloyds Bank Social Entrepreneurs Programme Block 1

As part of our plans to take Stirchley Stores into our own premises Lloyds SSE are giving me training in Social Entrepreneurship.  These are the notes that I took from the first two days.  If you’re interested in talking about this more get in touch cat.frazer@hotmail.co.uk.

Lloyds  Bank Social Entrepreneurs  Programme

Block 1 :  October

Day 1 Morning SSE Chief Exec, Ali spoke about who and how the organisation was founded.  Michael Young the founder is better known for starting Which? Magazine, writing the labour manifesto and founding the Open University.

Ali’s words of wisdom were – you’ve got to be interested in the nature of doing business and be passionate about scaling up.

Your business plan is the essence of your business in a box.   It will go through constant and radial change and needs to be altered constantly as you continue.

Be sure of the project PURPOSE.

Day 1 Afternoon John Brown spoke to say that what you sell and its value impact are key to a businesses success.  John previously worked as a publisher and for the likes of Virgin.

His top ten pointers to growing business.

  1. Do what you’re interested in
  2. Take responsibility
  3. Write your business plan, but don’t make it too long (5 pages is good to aim for)
  4. Finance- you need to have financial projects, one year in detail and 2-5 years in less.
  5. The product has to be needed.  Be aware of your competition.
  6. Just do it
  7. Finance.  You need management accounts especially when you are small.  Don’t be afraid to ask you accountant to make the figures simpler and get them to explain them to you.
  8. Managing people :  employ people you like, sack them if its not working and make sure that your appraisals are good. Keep appraisals simple,  they can be done once a year if that is what works for you.
  9. Be Confident but not Over Confident. Trust your judgement but always take advice.
  10. Know when to quit.

Day 1 Morning Workshop on what are your organisation’s strengths and weaknesses.  What do you want to achieve from this year.  Talk about 3 times when you have demonstrated strong leadership skills.

Day 2 Afternoon Vaugn Lindsey previous director of Shelter he now works for the Dartington Hall Trust.  If you haven’t heard of them – they are a huge employer in the South West  running social enterprises, commercial businesses and are a place for experiementaion in Arts, Sustainability and Social Justice.

The organisation needed to focus on increasing profitability and growing income from projects.  Social Enterprises has been a key focus of Trust as a means for each different project to pay for themselves.

He attributes his success to a simple strategic model, a time plan set in phases.

  1.  Get your House in Order.  Focus on financial recovery, develop a new structure and system and review the purpose and strategy of the project.
  2.  Build for the Future.  Invest in new technology, build up a robust organisation and continue with financial recovery
  3. Growth and regeneration.  Define your purpose – even if its as simple as “pioneering charity nurturing promising ideas to address pressing problems” and have key strategic aims to measure your success against.  – Then EVALUATE your success.

Trustees of a charity are your “thought partners”

Template to creating a strategy or business plan.

Business plan aka :  aim/ values/ detailed plan/ financial forecasts/ organisational design/ SWOT/ vision/ goals

You need something that answers:

  • Whats the need?
  • What do you do?
  • Why is it distinct/ and its effect?
  • What does success look like in 3-5 years
  • How will you achieve success?
  • Financial sustainability?
  • **Potential risks and how to address them.

Business Plans are really handy because :

Internally it gives a solid direction for staff, it tests and challenges thinking, there is a joined up approach, performance tracking

Externally  Inspires confidence, clarifies purpose/ direction and gives measurable targets.

Writing them can be written together or done by senior team and cascaded to everyone else as a thought starter, where you can get people’s thoughts.

Contents of the business plan

  1. Purpose, think more about the need and make sure you’ve got evidence
  2. What we do
  3. Values and culture
  4. Strategy – what does success look like, internal and external objectives

All of this can be written on 1 page

  1. Organisation enablers
  2. Financial strategy  simple graphs and metrics to shop top level finances.
  3. Business Plan  Something broken down into operational budgets and departments. This can be reduced down into department targets and then personal targets/ aims for the year.
  4. Budget.