Venturefest 2015, April 14th

Our Partnership will be exhibiting in the Social Business Hub of Venturefest East Midlands, in Nottingham, on Tuesday 14th April 2015.

Supporting the Social Business Hub visitors in their exploration of the newly emergent Social Business sector.

venturefestLogoWe will be working with Roger Moors of SEEM in Nottingham, our client, helping to create new pathways to social outcome for mainstream business. These outcomes are no longer the sole remit of the Third Sector in the UK, with many SME’s particularly, being interested in how they can build social outcome into their business profile, delivery and surplus generation.

We can help you achieve these aims.

We work collaboratively with a wide range of organisations across the UK, helping establish new projects and sustainable community business ideas in schools, children’s centres, charities, social business and community enterprises of all kinds.

We have a wealth of experience in business case development, business model exploration, budgeting and business plans – as well as expertise in ethical business operations, marketing and delivery.

We are particularly strong in the childcare, education and literacy sectors. Finding new ways to add value to traditional supply chains and helping to introduce new models of ‘learning and earning’ into traditional institutions and settings.

Bringing together the best of enterprise creation, third sector social gain and mediated management across our whole sector experience. We specialise, as a Partnership, in the following areas…

  • Social Business and Charity Development
  • Education, Early Years and Literacy
  • Funding and Governance Support
  • Web, New Media and original Content Creation

You can still register for your free ticket for Venturefest East Midlands 2015 in Nottingham here.

If you are passing the Social Business Hub, call and see how we might help your business ‘go social’. We’ll be pleased to see you.

See our catalogue of services at Dolphinbookbox here…


The Collected Works

We are really pleased to have been jointly instrumental in creating a new collaborative professional partnership in Collected Works.

This new group exercises the creative energy of SmithMartin and WilsonGoodchild.

The latter is a Lincolnshire based consultancy, passionate and reflective about social outcomes, with a different yet complimentary sets of skills from our core partnership at SmithMartin.

Our lived experience as a social business is always to concentrate on the social and community outcome ahead of the surplus that may be generated.

All consultancies need to invoice to survive, with the new Collected Works initiative offers both organisations, we would argue, can find a way to work collaboratively, sharing knowledge and expertise, along with technical resources.

Tim Smith, partner at SmithMartin said..

We welcome new projects in the same way we did before, but see Collected Works, and the joint contribution with WilsonGoodchild, as a way to maximise the social return from our efforts, whilst using economies of scale and different, but complimentary expertise, to undertake bids, join consortia, undertake enterprise development and research projects.

Sharing our ideas and direction of travel, maximising community outcome and sharing revenue wherever we can…

If you are a single consultant, looking to develop a new project, or to add value to existing work, give the Collected Works a thoughtful look.

We’ll be happy to talk without obligation.

Renegotiating Value; Bonus or Pro Bono

mf‘Bonus vs Pro Bono’ is the second in a series of Renegotiating ‘value’ seminars and seeks to explore the value of inspirational leadership in business. The seminar will be held in the St Martin’s Hall at St Martin-in-the-Fields (Trafalgar Square, London WC2N 4JJ) on Thursday 4th November between 4.00 and 6.30pm.

SmithMartin Partnership is pleased to work with Faith in London’s Economy who are delivering this series of seminars concerned with ‘values’ .

Looking at the way our economic system is geared more to the development of wealth for its own sake rather than being socially beneficial and sustainable with a sense of stewardship around our most vulnerable members of the community.

Join us at St Martin’s in the Fields on Thursday 4th November for an interesting and thought provoking afternoon.

The seminar speakers are:

* Peter Hyson (Change Perspectives Ltd) has specialised in leadership development, working with both individuals and strategic teams to boost high performance. He has clients in the public, private and not-for-profit sectors. His consultancies have included working with Directors in Professional Services, promoted because of their exceptional technical skills, to adjust to learning people-leadership skills; and a major Organisation Development project with a Government Department to re-assess its work-culture.

He says, “After at least four separate careers, the key theme – and what excites me – is helping people and organisations exceed their expectations, to feel they have power and influence.” These portfolio careers also reflect an eclectic range of business skills and interests, including story-writing, for both business and pleasure and he will shortly be publishing a book about coaching and the “third IQ” – spirituality. His favourite management development insight is “The great coach is the one who brings out the greatness in others” (Nancy Kline)

Baroness Uddin is a Labour Peer and was the first Muslim woman in the House of Lords. Born in Bangladesh and brought up in England, she is an advocate of social reforms and equal rights. A formidable champion for women, Lady Uddin was invited to the House of Lords in 1998 for her contribution to the advancement of women’s and disability rights. She began her professional and political career in the 1970’s, in the East End of London, developing a number of leading edge and well-regarded services and organisations.

Many of these have since come to be accepted as benchmarks for sustainable development and community engagement. Baroness Uddin has served on the Government’s Select Committee on European Affairs and has chaired several Government task forces, under the auspices of the Prime Minister’s office, the Home Office and the FCO. She also chaired the Government’s Task force on Ethnic Minority Women Councilors.

To register for the seminar, which costs £5.00, phone 020 8599 2170 or email

Sue Martin

Time and the social entrepreneur

stress and anxiety imageWe are regular readers of – a great source of inspiration, ideas and shared experience for start-ups.

Although U.S. based, the site does often contain the stories of UK and European organisations and individuals, and is nearly always relevant for new companies in the social sector too.

Recently published was an article on time management. An old skill well worth mastering of course, but the interesting slant given by was around the need to combat ‘time urgency’.

This struck a nerve with me.

Getting things done quickly, when in completely ‘focused’ mode other things begin to distract you – creating stress, physical discomfort and rising feelings of imminent disaster.

This may sound a little strong, but the drivers of small revenue engines, whatever the context of their work, will recognise the symptoms.

Limiting these feelings of time urgency will definitely enable you to work better – the end result is better quality personal output and a more efficient business.

The article refers to research that indicates social entrepreneurs often fall into the ‘Type A‘ personality category, fuelling bad habits and looped behaviour of driving yourself to achieve, yet the very process obstructing the successful completion of your goal.

Some theorists argue that  indicators of this type of behaviour can also have very negative effects on your health too. (Although Type A/B personality assessments are sometimes considered ‘pop’ psychology by some, the analysis can help in self assessment of behaviour or stress, I think).

I recently stopped a piece of work for an organisation, despite being highly worthy of support, because engagement was forcing me to step outside both my natural rhythms and to develop modalities of action outside my lived experience of social business development.

I am not sure whether that makes me an A or a B?

For me, better not to do it and move on to a new project, than to persist with increasing rafts of time urgency – to the benefit of both projects, new and old.

If you recognise yourself in this short piece, to cope with time urgency for the social entrepreneur often requires some very hard thinking and crisp action, but the benefits will be worth it.

You can read the full article here. Lower stress, better business – wherever you are.

If you have a time urgency solution or experience, let us know, and we’ll share it here with others.

(This post was written by Tim Smith).

SMP elementals – an approach

carapacePicStarting a new project? Starting a social business? Trying to get the enterprise element bootstrapped in your social enterprise?

When you are starting energy and enthusiasm are great to get you going. Your drive and commitment to your project will carry you a long way.

Then may come the sleepless nights as you worry about that bid, that meeting or that service delivery that might fail. Does that sound familiar?

Relax, other people feel just like that too. That crisp, curt, been there done that corporate presentation – just an embedded position to mask fear. The doomsayer, ‘wouldn’t do that now’ voice in the crowd – offering you ten reasons why not to do something, just a carapace to protect against hesitancy.

Over the years as our work has developed so has a natural philosophy of project development. They are approaches to our work. We call them SMP elementals

1. Will what we do benefit others more than ourselves? (the general…)

2. Will there be an aggregate direct benefit to more people than on our project team? (the specific…)

3. In the doing, can we freely share some knowledge we already have? (the pro-bono…)

4. We need to invoice to continue the work, but will that paper totem represent our philosophy – did they get it whilst we were in motion? (the business…)

5. Does it feel right? (the personal…)

For me the last elemental is the most important. Early in my life journey I spent much time pursuing goals that always left me conflicted with our elementals. Even today we come across suspicion, clashing philosophies and indifference in reaction to social business ideas.

It is important to recognise this and to still keep going, in order to make your project live.

A recent deprecation of working in our sector overheard recently ‘…the liberal, perhaps Guardian reading, charity do-gooder voice you can hear…’ shows that there are still those out there who don’t get the concept of social entrepreneurship.

If, on reflection, you can vision a business model or a delivery system for your idea that uses business skills and ethical distribution strategies but which still means having fun and being effective, but which ‘feels right’, then your social enterprise concept is perfect by the lights of our SMP elementals.

This reflection, by Tim Smith – a partner at SMP, was spurred by viewing If I would have known just one thing. This eBook was created by Shane Mac and contains a series of thirty articles by business entrepreneurs about what they would have liked to have known on their life journey. Read more…

If you are just starting to get your project off the ground then Mac’s book is a great primer for framing your own resolution and developing clear thinking about your goals and your ability to deliver.

Speak social enterprise – Speak Human

speakHumanCoverPicGetting your social enterprise or community business to the first £100,000 of turnover is the hardest part of your journey.

Systems, structures, policies, products, people and partners all have to be engaged, transformed by your idea and the goods or service delivered.

It’s easy to be side tracked by new initiatives, fantastic ideas from supporters who can offer no practical help or even be delayed in your development by the nay sayers.

We like the approach of Eric Karjaluoto in his book Speak Human.

Written from a small business development perspective Speak Human has definite philosophical and entrepreneurial approaches that can help you develop your community business too.

Be yourself, be true in your engagements with others and recognise that sometimes you have to do less in order to define your message and clear identity.

Recognise that your ICT service is not best modeled on IBM, or that your catering business is not The River Cafe. Be distinctive, be true to your original ideas and be practical above all else.

Speaking Human is a great primer for any social enterprise we think.

You can read a sample chapter on Eric’s US site here.