Last week we had a business modelling workshop with the REACT alumni group in Bristol. Naturally, it’s a variation on the Business Model canvas, but taking the business is a small system flows at this early stage is really revealing. Something that kept coming up again and again, like one of those voice-over conclusions of a TV program – I’m thinking Dawsons Creek, was the role of different kinds of intermediaries. By that I mean someone you can get you to a thing or a person you need in order to move your business on. For one company it was about getting the daughters of survivors to act as mediators for language trust and technology with a couldn’t reach the actual people themselves for others it was someone to filter the millions of component manufacturing businesses out there in the best way for their idea. For another they are the people who can help her connect with a fresh new group of talented people out there to work with. Whilst we talk a lot about experts and gurus, I’d like to shout out a lot for those people who play those kinds of small specific roles that make a huge difference. They don’t change your life, just one thing that matters. They don’t do conferences, or have guru thought feeds. They just make that connection for you.
They are the people who know people or people who have been through the bumps of life. Or they are people have been around enough to have a shorthand for doing things that means you don’t have to reinvent wheels. Here’s to the go-betweens; the ones who open the door right now, or the friend who introduces you, the connectors, the “oh you should talk to her”’s.
We definitely know when they’re not around. When the person who said they put us in touch and doesn’t, they leave that hanging around like a fool (it’s always better to say no then to not deliver). You then have to go the long way round and wait patiently repeatedly trying to make contact with a person who doesn’t know you from Adam and is a gatekeeper to you making progress.
So remember to acknowledge and value them, hold them close and thank them. They are the quiet ones who help you get there.