Purple Cow | An insight to the first few weeks of conception

It’s been a few weeks now since I decided to make a go of Purple Cow Ideas Management and I thought time to tell you about what I’ve been up to.

Firstly, let me start from the beginning since some of you may not know my background.

My name is Susanne Dansey;  since leaving University in 2000, I have had 4.1 jobs (the 0.1 accounts for a very brief stint in recruitment) and a decade in full-time employment. Outside of work I played rugby union for just over 13 years, ran two marathons, lived in the UK and Australia, and have climbed over 18,000ft in the Himalayas. I enjoy making the most of my life, both personally and professionally and I don’t envisage it stopping anytime soon <touch wood>.

After leaving University and a brief phase in recruitment, I was privileged to work for my father as Business Development Manager for the IT reselling business. There I worked with organisations of all different sizes, helping them adopt technology to resolve problem situations and help assist with business operations. My goal was to change the typical mindset of IT being a ‘necessary evil’ into one where technology was seen as a tool to enable businesses to operate more efficiently. As well as this, I worked closely with corporate businesses such as HP, Microsoft, and Symantec to help ourselves and other businesses in my market to communicate marketing messages better to our customers. It was an interesting challenge, since nearly everyone was a competitor and tradition had it that sharing information such as experiences would only hinder them as opposed to help. However, those who understood this new way of thinking began to collaborate on a new level and the activities re-enforced IT vendor partnership programmes as well as meld together businesses who could share resources more efficiently.

My second job was really an extension of what I was doing outside of the family business and I was lucky enough to have a job made for me as Microsoft Channel Development Manager for one of the UK’s major technology distribution companies. There, I acted as a conduit between this channel of communication that flowed between Small & Medium Business (SMB) IT resellers, my employer, and Microsoft. Much of my activity was to unite organisations together so that better business was done between all three organisations. This included internal training for the sales teams, and an event hosted at Microsoft for a few hundred resellers and key vendors to meet.

My third (and last job) was as a result of a personal decision to move to Australia for a few years where I worked for one of the largest organisations in the world. There I focused on a specific role that made me accountable to many different departments and helped me hone the skills I had developed so far in my career. Coming from a SMB dominated career and going into an organisation where you not only talk to people in different time zones as well as in the office made it tricky to translate everything I had learned previously. However, I learned so much more and I successfully achieved the largest deal in that company’s Asia Pacific SMB business – this included the largest managed services project achieved in this space too. As you can imagine, I am very proud of this achievement but whether it was $2m or $20,000, I learnt so much about the importance of procedures, capabilities, and most importantly, setting and achieving the right expectations of the customer/client.

After interviewing with some great organisations over here in the UK, I decided to go with my gut and stick to my idea which is in-part what this blog is for.

Why am I sharing this with you? Well, my plan all the way through my career was to ensure that I never stopped learning. By working up from a small sized organisation of eight people right up to at least 450 people teaches so much and gives you so the experiences to help me continue learning. Now I’m in a situation where I can work independently to help other businesses use my time and capabilities to make their customers fanatical about their products and services and help set them on a better path to strategic success. It’s in helping others that I help myself, and by partnering with different businesses each with their own background, my experiences of them can be shared with the next.

In the last few weeks, I have been working with some organisations (and good friends!) to help me brainstorm. As well as that, I’ve thrown myself into every book, podcast, blog, event, that my brain will allow me to cram in… and it’s harder than you’d think!

One of the hardest things I’m experiencing is the feeling of being your own boss, employee, and biggest critic all rolled into one. I’m wrestling with the want to perfect everything versus maintaining confidence that this is a good idea and I’m not going to bomb at the first opportunity. Having the support I have around me to talk this through has really helped and I’d recommend it to anyone who feels ‘stuck’. So on those days where it feels more challenging than others, I draw upon the positive feedback and support I’ve had so far (thank you guys, I bow to your experience) and I look forward to working on the exciting new business opportunities that in only a few weeks have come my way.

I know I’m good at what I do and I like showing others easier ways to achieve results even if it means rolling up my sleeves! My role as Business Development Manager has really stuck with me all the way through my career and it is this approach to look at the effects of everything on businesses which I really enjoy. I’ve enjoyed the presentations I’ve made here in the UK and overseas; the popular podcasts that I worked on with Vlad and Chris; the blogging; and the times when I’ve talked through ideas over a coffee (or beer) with business owners. But at the end of the day, I like working with businesses to understand what the ‘as-is’ state looks like and make positive differences specific to that organisation.

Come January 2010, I will have most of my ducks in a row and whether or not there is a feather or two out of place, I will be able to get out there and get working with businesses who want to make the first and freshest moves in a recovering economy. Until then Purple Cow ideas Management is as follows:

Purple Cow Ideas Management helps businesses take great ideas and implement them through thoughtful management.

Whether it’s taking an hour out of the day simply to talk them through, or allowing me to devise, implement and manage a project based on a idea, my role is to manage those ideas so that good ones aren’t left to waste. Purple Cow Ideas Management understands that each business is unique should be treated that way, in doing so, your ideas turn into real and positive changes to you and your customers.

I’m not aiming to boil the ocean, but I have an excellent network of business contacts I can share opportunities with to help develop key partnerships. Not only that, I’m even working on a plan to partner with my clients to help their customers develop their businesses. In my view, anything is possible, it just has to be achievable for me to be involved!

So far, I have been asked to do the following in the New Year, all of which I have said ‘yes’ to:

  • Manage the sales and marketing delivery of a soon-to-be released software product,
  • Present to an audience of entrepreneurial businesses about the importance of IT,
  • Work with an organisation to provide clarity around their processes and strategic alignment,
  • Partner with an organisation to help develop their sales strategy,
  • A ‘mystery shopper’ project,
  • Project manage the implementation of internal structures to unite key strengths and personnel to grow revenue,
  • Collaborate with an organisation of similar capabilities to unite organisations that operate over different time zones.

If you’d like to add to the list then let me know as you’ll help shape what the capabilities of my organisation are.

So to conclude this particular post, I’m going to be spending the next few weeks continuing what I’ve been doing and I look forward to talking more about how things are progressing over the next few weeks, months, years… etc!

If you have any words of advice to help me or another reader, please leave them in the comments section below.

Susanne Dansey is the Managing Director of Purple Cow Ideas Management – an organisation that facilitates a paradigm shift in the collaborative nature of the ICT Industry. You can follow her on Twitter and join the conversation on Facebook.


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