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Innovative Business!

On a crisp winter morning, a community of delegates gathered into the warm and welcoming Refectory Café at the Old Church School for the most recent Frome Business Breakfast.

After a tasty and informal breakfast with animated conversation, Mairi Connolly, Business Manager and Chair, gently tapped on her glass to bring the room together and introduced us to this month’s guest-speaker, Chris Hardy, Leadership Coach.

Chris Hardy

As Chris opened up by asking the delegates what, “innovation for small business” meant to them, I noticed that the sky was dappled with vivid pink and blue; the perfect backdrop for today’s topic.

Simon Williams (Frome Chamber of Commerce) offered his example of how their business events are “innovative” (1540s, "introduce as new," from Latin “innovates”); some of which he admitted haven’t been so successful and some of which have, but they do test the water and aspire to meet the objective.

Chris went on to elaborate that it’s all about being willing to run with experiments and be ok with them “failing”; encouraging us to have a go at new things whilst understanding that the journey may not be straight-forward, and as I’ve learned over the years - “it’s all process and learning”. Invaluable knowledge for the perfectionist!

"It’s all about the “MVP” (Minimum Viable Product)”, said Chris,

“which should be cheap, simple, viable and interacts with real people.

Experiment, gather feedback and learn how to improve things.”

Chris then went on to give a few examples of giant innovators that have worked this way including Apple, Twitter and Dropbox and when asked if he could give an example of a non-IT company experimenting with a product, he suggested local venue, The Rye Bakery who have been trialling with a number of unique ideas and have also coincidentally just won the Good Business Award, so well done to them!

To close, Chris finished by briefly suggesting we look out for a book called “Deep Work” by Cal Newport which talks about how we exist in a world of constant distraction, fracturing our attention and making it difficult to have great ideas and do valuable work; the foundation of innovation.

Find out more about Chris Hardy


The next Business Breakfast will actually be a Business Lunch at Frome Town Hall on Friday 8th February with guest speaker, David Warbuton MP, who shall be leading the discussion on supporting small businesses and the potential impacts of Brexit. Get your tickets here.

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