Justin and I have entered into the next phase of our Creative Fuse work. The tender we were successful in winning called for an engagement with sole traders and small businesses working in the creative sector. The first part was for twelve hours training for a minimum of twelve businesses, which was to be followed by an additional thirty hours for five of them.
Bar the paperwork, the first phase was completed a couple of months ago and it has taken us until now to arrange for the second part. The time has been taken up by understanding the individual requirements of the businesses which, while working in the same sector, are delivering very different products and services.
Phase one was very much classroom based and generic for the two groups, one in Alnwick and another in Hexham, while phase two is tailored to the specific business needs. This is what has made the Creative Fuse work so interesting and at times challenging. We have been dealing with micro-businesses operating under a supposed ‘creative’ banner.
In this second phase it has been impossible to translate the needs of one business directly to another. Each of them is in a different market, with different products and customers, different objectives and business needs.
The only way forward has been to sit down with them and listen as their story unfolds. Applying generic business theory is fine, and can be very useful, but is not a substitute to understanding your own, or their business. No one else has their problems. No one else is facing their challenges.
Justin and I can offer all the help that we can yet in the end it is the individual owners and entrepreneurs who must find the way forward for their own business and its specific circumstances.