[quote]My biggest mistakes were all based around not trusting my instincts.[/quote]
Simon Hedley is a ‘Must have’ on your speed dial. Simon connects people with the ‘unconnectable.’
Simon is qualified as a Chartered Accountant in the UK who spent over ten years working in financial services, from audit and assurance consultancy at PriceWaterhouseCoopers, through to Investment Banking encompassing Product Development, Structuring and Investment Management at Morgan Stanley, Royal Bank of Scotland and ABN Amro.
He now applies those skills helping individuals, businesses and corporates create and optimize systems that provide increased sales and profit growth through proven implementable models that he has developed. Simon is ‘mentored by billionaires and connected to millionaires’ making him an absolutely essential person to have on your speed dial.
What are you working on right now?
A wide variety of business interests; right now I have a very exciting educational program called Manifesting Millionaires which people can access now through the website ManifestingMillionaires.com and a variety of web development projects, including Fresh Forms, Fresh Profiles and WP Sales Graphic.
We have web portals across publishing, books, lifestyle that will be going live in 2012. The Future Brokers after over two years in research will be launching in January next year and is something that I see as the logical next step in business and consumer interface.
I get asked to do consultancy – mainly business strategy, web domination marketing, and joint venture opportunities – and that leads into projects like “Fresh and On Point”, Gluten Free Food, major events, and others.
I am also helping set up, launch and run a private equity fund which will cover the energy sector and various media interests that is backed by very well-known major names, and which is likely to execute it’s first transactions in the next 90-100 days.
Of course, I am always looking for ways to leverage my existing businesses, applications and web real estate and to help people get their ideas to market.
What does your typical day look like?
I wake up around 7-8am, and do a first check of e-mails and texts; I have a few key people who tend to ring me first thing for our daily catch up – some are out of the country and the time zones make this a good window.
I spend 30 minutes or so focusing on me, you could call it mediation, and getting myself in touch with what is important to focus on for the day.
I’ll eat breakfast at home, or from the local café near the office, which is just a few minutes walk. This is followed with intuitive conversations with friends and clients. Then I dedicate time for a brain dump and my mastermind groups looking at various projects. The rest of the day is the usual assortment of phone calls, coaching, web development and high level problem solving. I usually spend sometime with my son live or via Skype.
I enjoy a good dinner and working through the evenings on things that I am really excited about. Also the US / UK time zones make that the window when most people are around.
3 Trends that excite you?
I am currently excited by the ways people are communicating and the way data is being shared within groups. Apple have now released the iCloud, and this really is just the start. This exponential increase in data, its appropriate use and how technology is making it more accessible to businesses and end users is very exciting.
The second trend is the emergence of a quality incubator niche cultures producing high-quality business ideas serving a small focus customer group. Providing a full suite of services that are enhancing brand creditability and penetration. This is something I’ve been championing and forwarding for the past ten years.
The third trend that excites me is edutainment; the merger of education, technology, entertainment and media publishing into a new form factor which is really changing how people learn. Breaking down the barriers and making it both practical and simple. How people learn new skills simply and quickly. Removing the drama and issues surrounding learning and growth.
How do you bring ideas to life?
I’m really a structure or as one of my close clients says a “Metaphysical Alchemist”. I’m able to bring together people, projects and resources and direct them to get the desired result.
I’m clear from my days building billion dollar businesses in banks, that the people are the key piece. If you get the right people you can do anything.
I’m very lucky to have a strong group of a mastermind friends, partners and clients. Having loads of bright ideas is one thing; then looking at pathways to implementation, usually on a rolling basis, is the key to this process.
I’ve found that we obtain a great advantage by using proven models from other industries and sectors, reapplying and then providing a very agile development cycle too.
I like to get things tested within the first couple of weeks and once that’s done, I play a steering / chairing role in the development cycle and with brining on joint venture and strategic alliance partners.
Who inspires you?
I’m inspired by people like Dr Buckminster Fuller, the late genius John David Garcia and Steve Jobs; people who took really simple ideas and followed them through. That’s one of my delights a simple idea that makes a big difference. These skills are so rare in the modern world. I’m very excited about taking on new ideas from the banking and finance sector and applying these to other industries. Really revolutionizing how entrepreneurs, the charity sector, education sector and the small-businesses start working together. By doing that we really start to shift economics and make a marketplace that actually supports creativity.
And of my biggest inspirations is my mother Dr K R Hedley she has spent her life helping teach and forward medicine at a very real human level. One day her whole story I hope comes out, she has helped so many people.
What is one mistake you’ve made and what did you learn from it?
My biggest mistakes were all based around not trusting my instincts.
One example is a web development project with a leading business group. We allowed ourselves to go against our gut instinct with the timing for delivery of the project. We took on a development partner, whom we knew was a good person. We believed and trusted in him. When things went “off target” which they often do we overrode our instincts and carried on with him. He had us believing he had all the resources to complete the project, with hindsight it’s clear that was not the case. Expensive lessons in business are the good ones they say.. In the end he didn’t deliver and we lost 6- 12 months time, at huge cost. That cost me probably £200k in development and £1-10m in lost revenue. The lost market traction and timing was the biggest issue and and delayed our entry into the market. A mistake to learn from: trust your instinct!
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
I really love the power of authentic mastermind groups; having good people around your business to support your business. They can be hard to form, unless you have someone to open doors, facilitate them and keep them on track. Find people you resonant with and hire them to access their ideas and networks.
At a more practical level anyone looking to start a new business can do worse that focus on setting up a “membership club”. Having create membership websites, for dating, business, food and restaurants I know that you can also find a new niche – maybe just 1000-5000 people who can be turned into an effective business and brand and be a launch pad for other projects. I think that is a very simple business model which can be applied in any sector or country in the world.
What do you read every day?
In truth I am pretty selective. I actually find that the more input the less productive I become. I do have various newsfeeds that I read, but often waiting for the trigger from social media or my network of industry insiders to nudge me. I do subscribe to various email lists from a spectrum of individual future thinkers in technology, business and social affairs, as well as mindset, business and wider causes.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read, and why?
‘Awakening the Entrepreneur Within’, by Michael Gerber. Michael’s works like E-Myth are a good foundation for people with an idea of systemization, but I believe that the story/passion fire that Michael points to is beginning to revolutionise how small businesses and entrepreneurs work.
What’s your favorite gadget?
It would have to be the iPhone. It has transformed how I can work; leaving far behind the expensive and often error prone “enterprise” solutions from my time in the banking sector.
As a creative entrepreneur, I love been able to work anywhere. The beach, the plane, train or anywhere I travel. Having the option to be connected, be creative and almost self-sufficient is very freeing up.
I want my data, my ideas and my simple ways of working, to be naturally and intuitively accessible.
The iPhone gives me that, and with the addition of other applications including our own it’s a real swiss army knife for the modern entrepreneur.
(One of my partners consulted to Apple many years ago, and is still very in the know, as a result I have been shown how to really leverage the apps, which are far more powerful than many people realize – the only hint I can share… Everything Happens for A Reason)
Who would you love to see interviewed on IdeaMensch?
I would love to see some of the less public people from South America, Eastern Europe and Africa come to the front. There are billionaires who like to remain secret, but their success stories are really inspiring; they are a great bunch though hard to get hold of and convince to share their insights.
When is the last time you laughed out loud? What caused it.
Actually I laughed out loud at the weekend in Monaco at an intimate dinner with Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou and a few friends. The “dueling piano maestros” were amazing and I can’t share the jokes but it was probably one of the best evenings I’ve had in years.
How do I work professionally?
I work in a way which people tell me is quite unique. I am a Gold medal winning master of Tai Chi and I apply the same fundamentals/techniques in life and business. A lot of it is about having a solid base / foundation and then being agile to deeply listen, to make things happen as much by intelligence as hard work.
I work systematically, strategically and holistically so often I’m looking for the quickest leverage point, and with multiple “wins” available to me.
I am able look at different ways into a problem and apply different models to achieve the desired result.
The process called “The Merlin Method” is one of our common approaches – starting with the end in mind is a simplified version of this. Also maintaining both Psi Thinking and Pi Thinking – being very laser focused and at the same time open for those magical serendipity opportunities.
I am personally most happy when:
Most happy when there’s nothing on my “to-do” list!
I love being with smart people who are passionate about their lives and projects and get really excited like me! Throw in great food, great locations and it’s a real blessing.
As my friend says, real wealth is spending quality time with quality people in quality places.
Mario Schulzke is the Founder of ideamensch, which he started a decade ago to learn from entrepreneurs and give them a platform for their ideas.