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The Brittelstand Symposium - an IoD 99 member's experience

18 Mar 2019

On Wednesday 13 March, the IoD hosted the annual Brittelstand Symposium, in association with PwC. 

The symposium addressed the challenges and benefits of ‘scaling-up’ for mid-sized enterprises. The day featured a number of keynote speeches and breakout sessions, with each one covering insightful topics such as Accessing Funding, Expanding Internationally, Boosting Productivity, Scaling Your Business, Embracing Marketing Technologies, Addressing the Skills Gap and Cyber Security.

Jimi Clarke of AEC People, who joined the IoD 99 in late 2018, attended the event, and shares his experiences - of both the symposium, and his early impressions of IoD membership - below.

As a fairly new IoD 99 member, I must admit that my first impression of the IoD was a little intimidating. I feel like I need to mention this, as some individuals may have the same impression and perhaps feel that “one might not fit in”. However, in retrospect, I could not have been more wrong. I would encourage anyone who entertain the idea to become a member to do so now and I hope my recent experience at the Brittelstand Symposium illustrates why.

The environment, the people, the support and the resources that are available to IoD members is nothing short of a utopian reality. The Brittelstand Symposium I attended on Wednesday 13 March cemented this opinion even further.

I have, like all of us, a rather long “to do list” and part of my list for the day of the event was to talk to people and learn aspects of running a type of business that meet my ambitions. I didn’t know how I was going to find answers to these IoD points, but I set my mind on trying my best.

As it turns out, the Brittelstand Symposium helped me to achieve all of these goals in one day, and for this reason, I couldn’t rate this event more.

What did I learn and take away?

A big issue for many of us is cashflow, and the second keynote speaker shared details of a resource available to help businesses facing issues of late payments from clients. This relatively short presentation alone was worth the ticket price as this type of service could be the difference between surviving or going under.

I also attended a session on investment options and spoke to members who help raise funds for businesses. This is a completely new territory for me and possibly for a few of us still in the start-up phase of our businesses, and could be a reason for my initial feeling of intimidation; thinking that everyone knows everything about aspects that make one a “big player” compared to us “kitchen table” business owners. The people I spoke to about this were a perfect example of how genuinely nice and helpful people are in this environment the IoD creates for its members.

Following the finance session, I walked into an even more alien session on skilling your board for scale. This session hit the nail on the head for me as the panel talked about my exact vision for my business. The beauty with this session was that I didn’t realise until after the session what my actual direction should be - Dr Roger Barker, the IoD’s Head of Corporate Governance, was extremely helpful after the session to shed some further light on what my future could look like and what steps to take next.

The next sessions on productivity and Brexit continued in the same fashion. I learned new things I didn’t know I needed to learn and I seamlessly ticked off my “to do list” just by attending and having general chit chat with the attendees during the breaks and lunch.

I think that as a new start-up, isolation is a real challenge and we often get overwhelmed by the number of things that need to be done. Not realising that many people are in the exact same situation at the exact same time e.g. 04:00 in the morning on a Thursday. But there is an order to the chaos, and it springs from the attention we pay to the things around us that will help us to move in the right direction to reach our goals. Often it can feel like a divine coincidence when we “randomly” come across answers and solutions that spring us forward. And in my experience, this is what the Brittelstand Symposium did for me.

Find out more

To find out more about joining the IoD - as a 99, Full or Advance member - click here.

For more information on upcoming events across all IoD regions and premises, click here.

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