Saturday at the British Library. What a venue! Humming with people with minute by minute ideas ticking through their minds, immersed among wall to wall books and the whirr of online resources, the British Library is one of the most inspiring locations for ideas. A stones throw from Kings Cross St Pancras, today it was a hub for training and new thinking about starting up a business.
We went along to represent Watipa at a start-up event, to learn and meet other people who are in similarly early stages of setting up their own organisations. The group included about 25 people, with more than double that in the number of business ideas that were – quite literally – cooking.
One woman had craved cookies so much during her pregnancy that she has now got a Trade Mark on the name and is about to start baking and distributing. Another woman is a pharmacist by day, and avid sewer of handbags by night, who is exploring whether now is the right time for her to branch out and turn her passion into her day job. One of the men in the group was a black cab driver – some might say the epitome of London – who was there with too many ideas to share and some good questions about how to work with some of the online platforms and business planning tools with the practical ideas he has germinating in his mind. All together we were amongst a group of box makers, writers, travel organisers, social workers, IT consultants and even a pilates teacher.
The day was a mirror back to us about how we are doing in getting Watipa up and running. We seem to be lurching forward, at times gracefully and other times awkwardly, generally though in the right direction to get started up on a strong foundation.
It struck me that with all these tools and plans and social media platforms, we could spend an endless amount of time building a good name for ourselves and a very strong brand identity without actually doing any work. By the time the business is registered, a bank account opened, brand developed; and then a profile created in every possible professional and social media space; and then launch events, media interviews and e-books written to really cement the brand as the be all and end all in its field….. it is more than a full-time job in itself, and that’s without actually ever making the cookies or sewing the handbags or awarding any scholarships or doing any work for community development. It is an exhausting thought.
At Watipa, we have decided that we want to make a whisper that turns into a roar, so that our work can speak for itself. We want to do something first, so that we have substance and authenticity to share with our supporters and then make a lot of noise in all those public spaces.
Next week we launch our new scholarship program. We will start with a whisper that will soon become something worth shouting about.