Last week, I attended an Institute of Directors (IoD) event on creative and digital exporting. Held at the offices of MSB Solicitors, as part of The Edge 2016 festival, the event included speakers from some of Liverpool’s successful creative and digital firms.
The speakers included James Sproule from the IoD, Jennifer Hartley from Tech North, Ian Finch from Mando, Owen Cotterill from Mocha, Clemens Wangerin from vTime, Chris Morland from Citrus Suite, and Amanda Follit from Amaze. As always with digital-related talks, I was eagerly anticipating something special, and looking forward to soaking up plenty of digital inspiration. I am delighted to say the end result was precisely that, giving me a boost of excitement for the future.
The event began with an introduction by Kim Thompson from The Prince’s Trust. Kim presented a short video to raise awareness of the Trust’s new Parallel Lives campaign. The video was a powerful and moving experience, which shows how the lives of young people can be different, without the work and support of the Trust. You can view the video here.
Following on from this, James set the tone for the evening’s feel good factor. This was because he spoke with confidence and belief, by explaining how the UK is the most entrepreneurial country in Europe. In addition, I also learned from James, that there is plenty of help and support available for SMEs and entrepreneurs looking to export. As I listened carefully, any feelings of negativity and trepidation were swiftly dispelled, and replaced with positive thoughts.
Listening to the stories of the other speakers was of the same inspirational tone. From hearing Jennifer talk about the work of Tech North, to hearing Amanda talk about the history of Amaze, were amazing stories to listen to. In addition, I was also particularly taken with Clemens talking about the exciting growth of Virtual Reality (VR) technology, and of how it can be used as a sociable network. In truth, I was greatly impressed with all the speakers, and of their stories of success.
As with all these events, there were also other useful points that I learned. Some of the examples I have included below, which apply to both companies and individuals.
These include the following:
- Need to continuously learn as an organisation and as individuals.
- There are opportunities and processes out there, to help you make the first steps to export.
- Important to start at a local level.
- A strong identity and purpose will endure.
- Methods that work one-way may not work with others.
- Need to be visible and have an online presence.
- You still need to work with national and existing clients.
- Go out there and do it!
I have learnt from the event that certain qualities are required to export globally. This includes courage, as exporting outside of the UK is a major step outside your comfort zone, which can be daunting. A second quality is to be flexible enough to adapt to changes. In addition, you need to be aware of cultural differences, as other countries have different working methods and traditions, different to the UK. Finally your company must be resilient, as there will be times when you will be seriously tested, and face many challenges on your exporting journey.
To conclude, I would like to thank Michelle Helsby from Evolve Consultancy, Pete Radcliffe from the IoD, Liverpool LEP and all of the speakers involved. I found the event not only uplifting, but also thoughtful, intelligent, and a neat insight into our digital future. In addition, I was heartened by the positive vibes, not only from the speakers, but also from an appreciative audience. I felt an atmosphere of not just confidence, but also hope.
Hope and confidence is what we need right now, and in the future.