June 27, 2012
Growing Hello Cool World
By Katherine Dodds
The sun is finally out in Vancouver! And here at Hello Cool World we are preparing (we hope) for a growth spurt. So far we've spent the spring recovering from the extreme sport that was our end of fiscal year, and it's been nice to have a few minutes to reflect on where we want to go next.
When the office space of our Mad Men dreams fell through (we like to think of
ourselves, as having an affinity for the MM aesthetic but with more girls, queers, and food), I moved things back to my Chinatown warehouse, where I now find myself organizing the future from the inside out. Both literally (boxes of stuff) and figuratively, with some head space to envision my business future.
As I write this, I am embarking on the new adventure that is the Vancity and Status of Women Canada project formerly known as "WE-FOG" and now rebranded as the WE-Communty, and I am being afforded the luxury of being able to focus on my vision for business growth, while being part of a supportive community with access to the tools of business that have hitherto been a mystery to me.
You see, I have two art degrees, once was a practicing artist and poet, and I am now 'in recovery'. ; )
So to be more specific, the 'Women Entrepreneurs, Financing Opportunities for Growth' program is a pilot project by Vancity Community Foundation with funding from the Status of Women Canada and I am honoured to be among the first 10 women-run businesses chosen to participate. I'm in excellent and exciting company!
What I have to do to be part of this is produce a business growth plan over the next six months, and the support of my assigned business coach Jill Earthy I couldn't be more excited to do this. At the end of it all we are expected and to present our plan for growth, and given the opportuntiy to pitch it to financiers.
Admittedly it's a recent dream but nevertheless it has come true and it couldn't be at a better time.
What I am asking of you, my readers of this blog, who I hope include friends, colleagues, clients, fans of Hello Cool World who I do not yet know, newly found mentors and advisors, and yes, also critics - is to join me on this journey and give me your feedback.
My travels from there to here are littered with ironies. First inspired to go into media by seeing Manufacturing Consent, I was already a self-described "Chomsky style cooperative anarchist", trying to live without a TV or any plastic, but when I saw that film I had my aha moment of conviction that the media cannot be left to the pureveryors of profit over people, progressive folks need to be there too. This led me first to communty television in Victoria where I worked with Danielle Prohom Olson on some of her epidodes of her five-year award-winning series "She TV".
Then on to Vancouver and Adbusters, where i got my training in radical advertising and meme-warfare, which in turn led me to meet Mark Achbar just before he and Joel Bakan began the conversation that became The Corporation. Working on The Corporation inspired me to incorporate my own small company. And after more than a decade of running my own business, the question is - what is next?
What I hope for is to create a more sustainable company model to work on long term projects, to have a structure which treats our clients as partners and where the social outcome goals are not limited to the project and funding funding cycle constraints. Because good change, like food, takes time. My instincts tell me that to do this as a social venture business is the way to do it. It's a crazy dream! But maybe...
And the other piece of this puzzle is firmly grounded in the grassroots. We have (I hope) a string of happy clients that love the work we've done for them. So far we've stayed true to a social marketing "best practice" of working with real people on the campaigns that are meant to serve their needs, connect to their values, and be rooted in their communities. So how do we work on 'micro-niche' marketing, but also scale it up? This is a huge challenge that I hope to address in my plan for growth.
This blog is the first of many. Next episode of this blog: How I have been influenced by the psychology lessons of "The Corporation".
Please give me your thoughts. And difficult questions. I promise to both ponder and respond to all!
Try me on twitter too...
, LACE campaign
, The Corporation
, Dating Confidential
, Women Entrepreneurs
On June 27, 2012 at 10:45 AM Zed wrote:
Already very Cool, your journey will take you to the Coolest of Worlds!
On June 27, 2012 at 10:55 AM Katherine Dodds wrote:
Thanks! And difficult questions to ponder? ; )