The biggest October buzz on MK’s business scene is the successful launch of Collaborate MK – a vibrant new networking group founded on the principles of co-operation and mutual support. Business mentor, Andrew Hall of Haywood Hall Associates chatted to Collaborate MK’s founder, Tim Lee, about his hopes and plans for his enterprise.
Tell us Tim – how did Collaborate MK come about?
Wherever I’ve worked, I’ve always thrived on connecting with people. Increasingly, I’ve been thinking, ‘I’ve made so many great connections. Isn’t it about time I put them to good use!’
But what made you so sure that the Collaborate MK model could be such a success?
From every angle, it’s clear that the model works. After a year or so of steady growth, I’ll be looking at franchising opportunities. But Andrew – don’t ask me about plans for succession and retirement. That’s not going to happen. This business is way too much fun!
In my mentoring business, I promote the idea of a Financial Runway – planning finances well ahead, taking risk into account. I know you’ve done the same. Has Collaborate MK required significant start-up investment?
Funnily enough, Andrew, no. Sure, a PC upgrade, accountancy and legal costs. But working on a bare-bones budget is fine with me. I’m used to it!
I guess the clue’s in the name – Collaborate MK. Is collaboration important to the success of your venture?
It’s vital. I’ve entered into partnerships with several local businesses – marketing, web design, events – with plenty more to come.
So, what’s surprised you most, Tim?
Definitely the speed and success of the launch. What’s really touched me has been the support and enthusiasm of the MK business community. The support I’ve received has been astonishing!
And the next step?
The website launches any day now, with great opportunities for sponsors. Membership is open too, so we’re already receiving that all-important cash influx. I’ve also set up the business-to-business coaching side of Collaborate MK. I’ll be setting aside a couple of days a month to support our members with coaching.
Finally Tim – your single piece of advice for start-ups?
Connect. Build your relationships and always ask for advice. Remember – there’s no such thing as a daft question – only the one you don’t ask!