Whilst I’ve been in Italy working with a small business owner in the food and beverage industry, for the benefit of Frumtious (for which the ‘lines’ are still open to vote in the Shell LiveWIRE Award), Karolina, BKSK Inspire’sother co-founder, has been in Naples on the same scheme working with a small consultancy firm; gaining experience which she can apply to BKSK Inspire.
There are around 400km between Naples and Arcidosso, but we were keen to have a face-to-face catch up, and Karolina also wanted to see rural Tuscany. So arrangements were made, and her relatively quick train journey (3 hours) to the nearest town, Grosseto, was followed by a coach trip which took approximately an hour and a half.
The difference was clearly astounding for Karolina. Although Naples is pretty in its own way, mainly given its proximity to the sea and beautiful weather, it is also a very dirty city. So to see a very clean and well-kept village in the middle of Tuscany with only c.4,000 inhabitants was like chalk and cheese.
Of course there was a lot of sampling the local cuisine and wine, but we also took the opportunity to make some key decisions with BKSK Inspire. Having been shortlisted for The Pitch 2013 was fantastic; it was great to know that our efforts and cause had been recognised. But it did also delay our trading start date. We were in the ‘Ones to Watch’ category, and as such, we needed to remain as a non-trading, non-registered company until after the competition. Not winning the competition was of course disappointing, but it gave us some terrific links and feedback, which allowed us to pivot. Originally named BKSK Consulting, we had already decided that the word ‘consulting’ didn’t reflect the message behind the company; it was too corporate. We settled on BKSK Inspire and have since been making changes to how we describe ourselves. It is all very well knowing what you want to achieve, but you need to articulate this to others, the easiest way to get this message across is through your branding.
We’d had some fantastic feedback on our website design, but we didn’t feel that the content really described what we do or how to best engage with us. So we spent a lot of time re-wording, and we should have the website and message re-brand live very soon.
This time also gave us the opportunity to think about our next set of workshops; namely, what we wanted to present, who to, and most importantly where these would be most accessible. One of our location priorities is community centres, and it goes without saying that if anyone is interested in hosting one of our enterprise workshops for young people, to please get in touch and help inspire others.
We’ve since developed our marketing material containing the specific workshop sessions and slowly started to fill our calendar with workshops. Of course the initial ‘business development’ process is a long, and at times demoralising period, but we can’t wait to get our first workshop of the new season underway next week.