Strategy, coaching and mentoring for creative businesses
If you run a small-to-smallish creative business, and find the business part less exciting than the creative bit, then there's a very good chance that what I do could be of real value to you.
Having started my own creative business over 20 years ago, and spent more than a decade-and-a-half making it successful, I now work with people at an earlier point on a similar trajectory, as a strategist, coach and mentor.
Most of my clients are agencies or freelancers, of varying kinds - graphic design, digital marketing, Customer Relationship Marketing, to mention a few.
How I work with them is important. I'm not in the business of turning up, dispensing wisdom, then disappearing. With each of my clients, I enter into a relationship, devoting an agreed amount of my time to them each week, or month, with the aim of making a long-term contribution to the development of their business.
As for the service I provide, strategy, coaching and mentoring are all terms that are open to interpretation, so here are my rough and ready working definitions:
An accidental entrepreneur, a digital pioneer, and a hyper-connected communicator
I never wanted to start a business, and build it rapidly from zero to a seven figure turnover.
At least, that was never my main ambition. When I co-founded digital agency 3Sixty way back in 1995, what motivated me was a desire to do exciting work; to explore the limitless potential of the internet; to collaborate with people I admired and liked; and to make a decent living.
Over the next 17 years, I achieved all that - while, almost incidentally, learning a huge amount about running a successful creative business.
And that may well be my most important qualification for helping you take your creative business to the next level: the fact that I know exactly what it's like to be where you perhaps find yourself now; an entrepreneur almost by accident.
I'm very well connected - particularly here in Bristol, where I'm based; but also more widely in the creative and digital industries.
I'm fluent in tech-speak, and also able to communicate in idiomatic English (a vanishingly rare combination of skills).
And I now have a proven track record as a strategist, mentor and coach - having worked in that capacity with numerous small businesses since 2011.
Children? Interests? Quirky pastimes? Let's leave all that until we meet, shall we?
Some kind and complimentary words from a few of my recent clients
“ From helping us forge a partnership to shaping the strategy which has transformed what we do, Chris has guided us every step of the way.
I really value his calm, wise counsel and business savvy. He's incredibly well connected too - Chris knows everyone - which is great when you're launching something new.
I also look forward to spending time with him - he's a lovely inspiring person to have on your team - and that's something that really shouldn't be underestimated! ”Sharon Tanton
“ We've been lucky enough to have Chris as our chairman and guide for the last few years at Valuable Content. He helped us set up together in partnership and develop a strategy we're on the path to fulfilling.
We thoroughly look forward to our meetings every month - he gives wise and much needed counsel as we drive towards our vision, and we have a lot of fun in the process too. It's tough running a business as you'll know. We so value the outside, experienced perspective he brings. Every small business needs a Chris! ”Sonja Jefferson
“ Anyone who knows Chris, knows what an incredibly kind, gentle and down to earth person he is. Absolutely zero ego (when he should have tonnes with all he has achieved in business). Chris is a natural mentor without doubt. His background and experience cannot help but rub off on you as a mentee, only aided by his excellence in questioning everything you present in a very encouraging but firm manner.
I know my business is all the better because of Chris and his mentoring. I cannot recommend Chris more highly as a business mentor. ”Elliot Porter
“ Rather than giving generic business advice, Chris has really gone to the trouble of finding out what I'm about as a person, what my aspirations are and what my character is, tailoring his advice specifically to me.
He has a remarkable skill of enabling me to discover that I already have the answer to a problem where I have previously been floundering. ”Ross Cleaver