A new journey
I’m delighted to be launching “iSquared” and am very excited about what the future has to offer.
iSquared is a research consultancy business offering services to advertisers, ad agencies, research agencies and other industry groups. I have great experience in media research and in ensuring high quality service delivery for leading operations.
My vision is to grow the business steadily. I want to create a boutique research business offering a variety of data, research and insights services. In particular I will be building an expertise in data science, with the intention of providing intelligence services across sectors. The priority will be high quality data acquisition and curation, whether in an advisory or a full service capacity.
I will be writing regular posts providing an industry update and viewpoint. However, the aim of this article is to share some personal thoughts on the journey to create iSquared and lessons learned along the way.
Embarking on a new journey: Why launch iSquared now?
I joined the market research industry in 1994 and my career has predominantly been with large multinational research organisations. This has provided an excellent opportunity for personal development in terms of management, commercial, operational and research expertise.
I’m excited about the second half of my career; building a new business in an agile start-up environment. This will enable me to focus the work that we do in the areas that both excite me and will be core to the insights business, as it develops in an AI powered world.
In life and in business, it’s important to both believe in yourself and to do something about it; invest in yourself. So this is what I’ve done. I believe I can do the work I want to do, I can have the best balance for myself and my family, and I can build the business and make the decisions that will deliver success. It’s about owning what I do, my decisions and my future.
Mapping the journey: The power of the network
The first thing I did was engage an expert to help me plan. I am very grateful to Peter O’Connell from Career Development Associates. Peter helped guide me through the process of deciding exactly what I wanted to do and with whom.
Once I had a plan, it was then time to take the leap into the unknown. Initially I was looking at the possibilities for new full time employment roles. After all it’s what I’ve always known. I had a nervous interest in the possibility of starting something entirely new, but needed to know much more about the market and opportunities.
The subsequent months involved developing my personal proposition and lots of networking. I’ve been in client facing and commercial roles for the majority of my career, but being out there selling myself, my ideas and gaining understanding into what people need, has been one of the most energising things I’ve ever done.
I came to realise that while full time roles could be great, I can build a new business to deliver what the many clients I’ve spoken with need.
The starting point was my own network. The first lesson I’d like to share here is how we should always ensure we have strong networks throughout our career. We need these to deliver success in our roles, and importantly we need them for ourselves. We are brands and we need strong awareness, reach and equity. This translates to the scale of our networks, being top of mind and having an excellent reputation.
So what happened next?
The next steps were to improve my personal awareness and reach. I needed to meet my network, listen to them, tell them what I’m planning, ask who else would be good to speak to, which other sectors, etc. The aim of every meeting was to make sure my proposition was understood, listen for opportunities and identify new contacts. Interestingly some of the most fruitful opportunities can come from 2nd, 3rd or even further tier contacts.
Throughout all of these meetings there were some key points to consider. Most of these are obvious, but nevertheless important to reiterate:
I’m amazed at how simple the process has been. My career has been focussed in the media industry and, of course, I’ve spoken with most of my existing network. Equally I’ve had great meetings with FMCG organisations, tech companies, financial services and very importantly with the big consultancies too. At the last count, I’ve got as far as tier 5 contacts. And it doesn’t stop now. As I launch the new business, I’ll be doing more of it than ever before.
A big lesson for me is that no matter how busy people are … they want to help … this has been a very rewarding process. A huge personal lesson is that I need to spread the karma. When others come to me seeking to discuss their new ventures over a tea or coffee, I will make time for them! As much as you invest in yourself, the act of investing in others is very rewarding.