On top of all that there was the normal kind of redundancy advice about keeping families informed; not just staying in bed all day but getting washed, dressed and active in creating our new futures. The syndicates were also excellent because they gave those of us who were thinking about self-employment time to talk about options – and the consultants not merely managed the process but chipped in with advice. I now had a much clearer picture of what I’d like to do – get involved in a cooperative with some of the others. A few of us agreed to meet afterwards in the bar.
An embryo cooperative – the meeting in the bar
I’d phoned Helen to let her know that I’d be later than expected and told her what I’d be doing.
There were six of us who’d found that we had some ideas that would offer synergy within the context of a Cooperative.:
Marketing skills – me
IT skills – Ben
Finance skills – Jason
Design skills – Tony
Website development skills – Susie
HR skills – Beverly
The only two I’d ever met before were Jason and Beverly. All of us were in our mid-thirties: Susie and Ben were divorced, but the rest of us were married. We started by talking about what we’d found most useful about the day’s seminar, but then moved on to what we intended to do next.
All of us liked the idea of working for ourselves and found the idea of working as a Cooperative attractive. It was clear from the discussion that we’d all got a similar redundancy deal which was related to our leaving salaries and length of service. So, I had ten years of service and would be getting ten months pay tax free. My leaving salary was £30,000 and, given that it would be free of tax, national insurance, pension and similar deductions, I’d have had to have had a salary of close on £40,000 to earn that if I’d not been made redundant. Between us we’d have had a pot of about quarter of a million pounds working capital to start off, other things being equal as economists say.
It was the ‘other things’ that were holding us back – like knowing what sort of business to start, how viable would our unique selling point need to be, what kind of cashflow would we be able to work with, and what our costs and pricing would amount to. That was just for starters. We all had ideas like creating a new board game, toy or a useful household object that could be three-dimensionally printed. However, that big working capital figure needed to pay us a wage while as we were building the business. Between us we had a useful set of complementary skills but we needed to get agreement as to what any new business would be about before we could start drawing up a business plan to sell to some of the organisations that might be able to provide some grant-funding.
In the meantime, we agreed that we’d continue meeting, but we’d each try to get new jobs to keep our heads above water while we did our front-end planning on a part-time basis. To help with that, we’d all use the free courses being offered by our company and external organisations to refresh our skills in job-hunting, CV preparation and skills in presenting ourselves at interviews. Beverly, from HR, would get us all booked on the company courses to get us started. We agreed to do some more blue-sky thinking about viable business ideas ready to discuss when we attended the first seminar.
Before everyone left, we exchanged cell phone and address details.
Todays’ image is another view of Media City – again a place fairly local to where I live. The scene is the Imperial War Museum North and its reflections in the Manchester Ship Canal,
The EXIF Data for the featured photo are as follows: Pentax K50, 16MP cropped sensor camera with a 18-55 mm f/3.5-5.6 lens at 26.25 mm and f/22. The shutter speed was 1/10 secs and the ISO was 100. The camera was tripod -mounted and the post-processing was in Lightroom.