11 May Hey Scott, what are you up to these days?
Quite often when I meet someone I haven’t seen for awhile they say ‘Hey Scott what are you up to these days’?
My sense is they are genuinely confused and interested in what I am doing ‘these days’. This in spite of the fact that I am very active on LinkedIn and assume that most of my professional connections eagerly wait for and read my every post and update…..
Therefore I have come to the conclusion that there is benefit in providing an update on my ‘adventures’ these last 2+ years as I strike out on my own as a consultant. Here is a chronological summary:
In January of 2016, 2 significant events happened.
First, on the suggestion of an associate in my business group, I enrolled in the provincially funded Self Employment Program (SEP) offered through the YMCA Business Training Centre. This was helpful as it provided me with a basic foundation on how to be an entrepreneur and I made some valuable contacts (more on that in a bit). As someone who always worked for organizations, there was LOTS I had never thought about.
Second, through a long time friend and business contact I was connected to the owner of a local wireless and fibre optic internet provider – High Speed Crow(www.highspeedcrow.ca). We help businesses that have connectivity requirements outside of the city, or in the city, that have limited or poor connectivity and want to upgrade. Many larger organizations in the city also turn to High Speed Crow for low cost, high bandwidth options to back-up an existing fibre connection. My 15 years experience and contacts in telecom with Sprint Canada and Rogers has been valuable for this partnership. My first client!!
In April of 2016 I started an 8 month consulting project with ICTAM (Information and Communication Technologies Association of Manitoba) to help them grow their membership base. We were successful in better understanding their member’s requirements and the value they received as members. We also added several new members in the process. I am still active with ICTAM today and attend many of their events.
In January of 2017 I was reconnected with an old Sprint Canada co-worker from about 20 years ago! He had started Funding Change (www.fundingchange.ca) and needed help growing the exciting start up. It was a perfect fit for me – they needed someone to help them develop and execute a business development strategy and didn’t necessarily need someone full time. Further, it allowed me to leverage 2 of my passions – technology and nonprofits. So far we have helped many nonprofits launch successful online raffle campaigns that allow them to raise ‘more dollars with less effort’. This invariably helps them to do more of their good work in the community.
During this time I was continuing to work and strategize with Frank Atnikov, my coach and mentor from the YMCA SEP program. His company is Frank Growth Solutions(www.frankgrowthsolutions.ca). We both have a passion for helping nonprofits and our ‘Ah-ha’ moment came when we started to think about leveraging our combined 60 years of business experience by creating and delivering workshops to nonprofits. The premise is to provide business development and marketing tools and skills that help nonprofits have more meaningful and effective conversations with businesses and stakeholders (e.g. funders). Hence the title of our workshop series ‘Bridging the Gap’.
We are just now in the early stages of expanding our offering to nonprofits to include Strategic Growth Consulting. Basically we build on what was covered in the workshops and help them build internal capacity.
Fast-forward to this past December (2017) and I was thinking about how much I enjoyed the training workshops Frank and were doing. I also reflected back to my time training and mentoring new sales reps during career, particularly during my time at Sprint Canada. I started to wonder about the benefits of partnering with an established organization with a ‘catalog’ of training content. So I reached out to another old Sprint Canada co-worker Pat Lipovski, who had started his own training organization about 15 years ago called Envision Group (www.envisiongroup.ca). Their focus is on Organizational Development, including:
Executive and Leadership Coaching, which involves understanding the beliefs and passions that drive you, and how that fits with your company’s vision
Leadership Development, at Envision we know that personal and new manager effectiveness, play a vital role in both professional development and reinforcing corporate culture and expectations. We offer tangible training needed to ensure each participant walks away with new skills. Need specific customized programs, we can do that for you as well.
Corporate Development, where we offer workshops and tools for leaders to find opportunities to align business strategy with objectives, and offer the custom tools and skills that help leaders succeed in inspiring and engaging their teams, turning strategies into results through their people.
Business Development, workshops and training both off the shelf and customizable that will help you win and keep more customers by developing excellence in sales performance, coaching, leadership, and customer service.
After a few conversations we realized this was a great fit and decided to partner up. In late January I joined Pat and another Senior Partner at Envision Group to observe their ‘Engaging Leadership’ training session to the Oil and Gas industry association in Texas.
Presently my primary focus is working with the leadership team to develop and execute a business development strategy to create more training opportunities for Envision. At the same time I will learn their content as well as the Envision Training and Professional Coaching methods so that I can evolve my skills as a workshop facilitator and professional coach.
You’re now more or less caught up. It’s been a fun and educational journey. 3 years ago I NEVER would have seen myself as an entrepreneur – but now I am. Scott Donald Business Development Solutions is continuing to evolve and I look forward to leveraging my experience and partnerships to help my clients grow.