Craig Dearden Phillips


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Presentation to the Cumbria Social Enterprise Partnership Conference March 2009

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Craig Dearden Phillips

  1. 1. `The Accidental Entrepreneur’ TheTrue Story of How I Half-Succeeded in Social Enterprise Craig Dearden-Phillips Founder and CEO, Speaking Up For the CSEP Conference, Keswick, March 26 2009
  2. 2. Did you say Accidental? <ul><li>Yes, like most social entrepreneurs, I only came to life when I stumbled on my purpose </li></ul><ul><li>Before that I wasn’t entrepreneurial at all. I was 24 and pretty directionless </li></ul><ul><li>My purpose came to me when working with disabled people in social care : to help people to us their voice </li></ul>
  3. 3. Why did I do it? <ul><li>I saw a social care system for disabled people that </li></ul><ul><li>...that cost a fortune ... </li></ul><ul><li>...that had very poor outcomes , and... </li></ul><ul><li>...failed to invest in people’s capacity to shape their own future. . </li></ul><ul><li>Speaking Up was my response based on what I believed </li></ul>
  4. 5. How I Started – The Only Way
  5. 6. The lessons of starting small... Keeping costs down The importance of passion Having to deliver or die That everything matters
  6. 7. A Crisis: Then a New Approach to Our Mission <ul><li>Mission: Voice.Action.Change for disabled people </li></ul>
  7. 8. Putting Away the Begging Bowl In 2002, we relied mostly on traditional charitable donations They paid for direct work but didn’t help us to develop the organisation So we turned instead to winning contracts - mainly We still received donated income (about 30%) – but, crucially, we don’t depend on it for survival But we didn’t do it alone
  8. 9. <ul><li>More than money…. </li></ul><ul><li>£400k over 5yrs to develop us into a sustainable business </li></ul><ul><li>£150k consultancy support </li></ul><ul><li>Intensive mentoring for CEO </li></ul><ul><li>Took us from £500k to £4m / yr </li></ul>
  9. 10. <ul><li>Our Transition from the `Charity mentality’ to `Social Business’ </li></ul><ul><li>or in at the deep end... </li></ul>
  10. 11. <ul><li>How we did it </li></ul><ul><li>The Challenges of Scaling </li></ul><ul><li>What was required </li></ul>Building a Team beyond the founding fanatics We recruited an FD and Sales Director from commercial sector which built sales but alienated many staff and trustees. Developing systems without killing the spirit Speaking Up has always had powerful number two working as foil to Landing services in a new place We got caught and totally underestimated the work involved. Put in only trusted insiders into new locations. When to control, when to let go We started with Stalinism (correct) but let go too slowly. Goal is decentralisation
  11. 12. <ul><li>Great performance? </li></ul>
  12. 13. Half-Succeeded? <ul><li>Speaking Up is still very fragile , even now. The `public sector recession’ will damage us </li></ul><ul><li>The truth behind any so-called success is a lot of failure, cock-up ….and learning. Don’t believe anyone who tells you otherwise </li></ul><ul><li>Anyway, beware because: “Success makes you happy and lazy ” – The Prodigy </li></ul>
  13. 14. <ul><li>2002-03 </li></ul><ul><li>2008-09 </li></ul>Personally exhausted, considering jacking it in Still exhausted but supported by a strong board and excellent senior team (why I am here today) 500 beneficiaries Turnover £0.5m 1 main location 4000 beneficiaries Turnover £4.3m 7 main locations Organisation in poor financial and operational state Organisation has money in the bank and winner of many awards for delivery. One main `product’ and limited customer base Several successful products, working in a variety of `markets’ which mitigates risk
  14. 15. <ul><li>Regrets? </li></ul>Missing a huge opportunity once Staying `hands-on’ too long Not taking enough risks generally Some of my appointments very poor Not leading & managing staff v. well Slow to develop a senior team
  15. 16. Beating the Recession? <ul><li>PWC predict real drops of 1.6% per yr in public spending from 2010-13 – or massive tax hikes of £50 billion pa. </li></ul><ul><li>But genuine opportunities for public innovators who can prove they can deliver in health, education, welfare to work services </li></ul><ul><li>Large scale private sector now has less access to debt finance and is now less trusted </li></ul>
  16. 17. Our Challenge <ul><li>To Accept that the world has changed – and that is contains opportunities not just problems </li></ul><ul><li>To have pride and confidence in being a social business offering blended returns – this is the `century of social business’ (Peter Drucker) </li></ul><ul><li>To think a lot bigger . We need large success stories to add to the small ones. </li></ul>
  17. 18. So, what’s to learn from my story? <ul><li>Social entrepreneurs are made as much as born </li></ul><ul><li>With the right inspiration, I believe many people can become successful social entrepreneurs. Most skills can be learned if the motivation is strong enough. </li></ul><ul><li>It’s a long-game </li></ul><ul><li>Successful ventures take years to develop and take enormous persistence and you need to be prepared to endure many setbacks and learn from them. </li></ul><ul><li>Social business is proper business </li></ul><ul><li>This means being dead-serious about delivery, totally committed to blended return (financial and social profit) and a positive attitude to growing your business to touch more lives. </li></ul>
  18. 19. Thanks for Listening Today! <ul><li>You can contact me at </li></ul><ul><li>[email_address] </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul><ul><li>Blog: </li></ul><ul><li>My book `Your Chance to Change the World – The No-Fibbing Guide to Social Entrepreneurship’ is available on Amazon or via my website. </li></ul>