Bringing Enterprise To Life
With the ending of my involvement with Hills Electrical (to read about that see the page - Downfall) I was free to start thinking about starting a new company. After a lot of thought, I concluded that a training company which would provide training based on research rather than prejudice would be a great idea. The problem was I knew nobody who could work with me to make this happen. I concluded that the only way to go was to hire some one who knew more than me and was keen to set up in business without the risk usually associated with it. I did know a firm of headhunters and I gave them a brief to find me my director and £10K to start with.
They went away and found me a couple of guys who came as a team and seemed to fit the bill. Our discussions focused on the structure of the company rather than its activities, which wasn't quite what I had intended. We went to see some lawyers in Stratford and we went to see some lawyers in Lichfield to discuss structures that might be applicable. At one point we had decided to call the company “Red Eye Training” – whatever keeps you awake at night. Eventuallya start date was agreed and the company was about to get underway when both my candidates decided to go their own way.
Meanwhile the headhunting company decided it would like to sell itself to me. We entered into discussions and agreed an amicable price. I then began to discuss with them the salaries that they now as employees rather than partners would enjoy. It turned out that they still expected to distribute all of the profits to themselves leaving nothing for me. So the deal was to be that I took all of the risk with no benefit whatsoever. Needless to say this deal also fell to pieces.
By this point I was involved with Breathing Space and in particular Mike. You can read all about that by following this link. It turned out that Mike was keen to set up a training company as the commercial arm of Breathing Space. After various discussions we decided to change the name of an existing company to Bringing Enterprise To Life plc and we designed a logo. We arranged for a new manager for Breathing Space and Mike occupied the offices I owned in Green Lane.
Almost immediately Mike met a councillor who ran an organisation called "Gone Fishing For Business". This was a business networking organisation who were looking to hold meetings. Mike agreed that they could hold the meetings at our premises. So once a fortnight the group met at green Lane at 7:30 AM. The meeting started with a breakfast and was generally followed by pitching session. It was well attended and seemed like a great idea. The only snag from our point of view was that there was no money in it. I went to several of the meetings and paid the £10 fee to enter my own premises. The meeting is carried on until I managed to let the office space to SEC which was a far better commercial arrangement.
In April 2009 Mike hired a secretary and began to prepare material and seek clients. He furnished the offices and we created a web site. I hired a cartoonist to do some cartoons for the walls. You can see them by following this link - (it is an external site for my phone company) By August 2009 when nothing happened and no revenue had been billed we mutually agreed to cease trading and Mike left.
Overall the fallout was very small. I took a loss of maybe £50,000 over the whole debacle. It is difficult to know what I could have done differently. You make a value judgement when you go with and in this case of simply wrong. Fortunately I have no boss to castigate me for this failure.