A Little Of My Journey

What follows is the substance of a short speech I made at an Innovation and Health business seminar last week.  I hope it has a little resonance with your values and beliefs.

  • I want to share a little of my own story. It sets an important context of what follows.
  • I worked for the Civil Service for almost 29 years from 1982.
  • I struggle with a hearing impairment, deteriorating with age.
  • In 2011 I took a risk to leave a career with DWP that had spanned operations, consultancy, policy development and projects.
  • Since then I have had significant spells of voluntary work, including Directorships for a Limited Company and a Community Interest Company. I have been unemployed and was a lone parent for a two year spell, both of which presented significant challenges to re-entering employment.
  • 12th August 2013 I will always class as one of my lifetime achievements. On that day I started my own business, a dream of mine for many, many years.  Despite many hurdles along the way we continue to exist today and are on our growth journey to success.

Phil 3

  • We are a Growth Services business called GuideDotYou.
  • We specialise in Business Planning and People Development interventions that inspire, motivate and enable change and great performance.
  • The journey through start up and growth has been supported during the last two years by the New Enterprise Allowance Programme, two Chambers of Commerce, Wakefield Business Support Programme, Enterprise Lancashire and currently Northern Lights at UCLan, the Creative Communities Group and the North West Coast Academic Health Science Network.
  • To create a robust offer for business effectiveness and efficiency we are introducers for third party applications, including:
  • online Business Reality Checks – which assess the health of your business;
  • collaboration software – for managing projects and data;
  • leader and facilitator at “8 Business Networking, Blackpool” business development group;
  • investor grade business plans – creating persuasive arguments for release of funds;
  • a Customer Feedback and Care Programme – which helps you to promote the positives and act on constructive comments to improve processes and performance.
  • GuideDotYou itself offers:


  • We also offer:
  • Start Your Business” and

We raise awareness of the reasons why businesses fail.  We then turn that conversation on its head, so that the risk of failure is reduced.  Indeed we strive to eliminate all risk.

  • But for now I want to make you aware of our “Start Your Business Essentials” services and its linkages to the serious conversation ongoing in the National Health Service centred on Innovation and Health.
  • GuideDotYou believes that “Start Your Business Essentials” is both truly innovative and supports improved health outcomes.
  • We are passionate for communities to be socially inclusive and that barriers and perceived barriers to entry to employment and other services are there to be reduced and eliminated.
  • Thereby reaffirming the evidence based policy agenda that encourages people to be active and to work and that by products from that are reduction in incidences of ill health and of course reductions in health treatments and support costs.
  • So for example being mentally or physically active should promote experiences of positive wellbeing, which includes leading to improved self-esteem, motivation, improved general and mental health, and reduced psychological distress.
  • We encourage people to participate in activities, socialise, volunteer, and, for people of working age, enter into sustainable employment or self-employment. We emphasise that prevention of health problems is better (and at much lower cost!) than cure and making step changes to behaviours improves the quality of life for so many, leading to better health outcomes for individuals across our diverse population.

Starting Blocks

  • Start Your Business Essentials supports this logic. GuideDotYou knows that many people face challenges and barriers to being employed, including those associated with protected characteristics such as age, race, gender and disability.  We support people who have the talents, skills and desire to succeed, and they will achieve as long as they benefit from the correct levels of support and guidance.
  • Start Your Business Essentials stems from the concerns of too many business failures. In 2012 there were 400,000 business start-ups in the UK and 20% did not last a full year. By the end of this year 50% of those 2012 start-ups won’t exist and that feels fundamentally wrong.
  • Starting a business is complex. For people who are vulnerable or have complex needs striving to turn that fantastic business idea into a realistic and prosperous living is that much harder and the risk of business failure higher.
  • Through nurturing, mentoring and providing co-ordinated support for people, including those with complex needs, GuideDotYou can help them not only to start up, but also to sustain their business.
  • So please allow us to be a gatekeeper for sourcing services like coaching, business planning, marketing, sales techniques, design and branding, business cards, a basic website, domain, hosting and email addresses and networking memberships.
  • As well as signposting to other specialist needs, like book-keeping, employment law, exporting, access to finance, commercial property and other business related legal services.
  • The business owner can then maximise their efforts on selling their “stuff”, with much lesser distraction into finding and managing service providers.
  • These “Essentials” services do require funding and the end user may well not be able to pay, so third party funding is required for many.


  • But that funding in our book is very well worth considering as a great return on investment when the outcomes are less business failures; more tax revenues; better social inclusion and communities; fewer reasons to resort to crime; less ill health and treatments; and less budget pressures across a broad spectrum of Unemployment, Sickness, Disability, Housing and Council Tax Benefits, as well as in Health Services.

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