The economy is crap, but there are still plenty of active entrepreneurs

Blue Cow Yoga boss

An active entrepreneur

Let’s start with a quick apology, if you don’t mind.

I’m appalled to see that 45 days have gone by since I last posted a blog. In my defence, I have been busy. I have just returned from Barcelona’s IESE Business School where I was teaching on behalf of the EACA. The topic was How To Be The Best Account Handler In Your Agency. I’ve got a bit of experience here, not all good.

But LinkedIn does buck a chap up.

I’ve had several students link to me on LinkedIn, including a Spanish attendee, Noel Gomez, who wrote, “I actually enjoyed your seminar even though I am a copywriter.”

Noel, thanks. It’s often very difficult to know how I’m doing in an all day workshop.

I’ve also had LinkedIn emails. Roger Morris, who bought my last house, today told me from Brussels that he had spent a term at IESE gaining his MBA. Adam Jones, a client of mine at Workman, told me that he got his MBA there. I’d never heard of the place much before a month ago.

So, a question started to develop in my mind about Frances, or Fran, Gillibrand, pictured above in Islington‘s Chapel Street Market. She’s setting up a business in the City of London, Blue Cow Yoga.

Does she need an MBA to make a go of it?

As it turns out, an MBA is not going to teach what she has in buckets, and what Fran has are a great idea, charm, high intelligence, knowledge, vision, tenacity, energy, a big sense of humour and a dependable, grown-up partner, Mark.

What Fran is short of is money.

Here’s what she wrote to me recently:

“The message I would really like to convey is that fundraising is an immensely frustrating process, you can be led down a route that looks as though it will solve all of your problems (not just the little bit you need solving, but the whole shebang).  Then if it falls through or isn’t what you believed it to be you can be in an incredibly difficult position.  However it is necessary if you want your dream to become a reality, it requires limitless passion and enthusiasm.

An example of this is where we were left after the bank declined our loan application (after 6 months of work).  We had a shareholders agreement that gave 49% of the company to our investors for £250,000. We were then left with a scenario which mean that we had no equity to sell to raise the other £250,000.  We had to have a really difficult conversation with our investors to dilute their equity in order to allow us to raise the remaining finance.  The only other option was for Mark and I to give away all of our equity.

Whilst all of this frustration is difficult and time-consuming it is immensely satisfying when someone believes in your product and buys in.  We now have an amazing team of investors who provide great advice and guidance and their value in this role far exceeds their financial contribution, as generous and vital as this is.”

I’ll keep you informed of progress.

Finally, I’ve brought back enough chorizo and morcilla sausages from Valencia’s Mercat Central to fuel a yoga class for several years.

Frances: any offers?