John Durham is an early stage entrepreneur who aims to take his new business idea and make it a living and breathing reality within the next month.
Since Startacus is all about hearing from its members and John is a new member to the site, we gave John the chance to highlight his new ‘communication skills through the arts’ concept that he aims to market to individuals, businesses and education. Over to John to communicate all on his grand idea...
Give us your pitch!
I have had many years experience of involvement in the Arts from having been a trained actor back in 1987/88 training as a professional solo singer, trained in improvisation, body language & expression, the voice, etc. through to front of house, directing, producing and also working as coach and teacher several years ago. I have now designed a ‘communication skills through the arts’ package which I intend to market to businesses, education institutions, and individuals
What's your own career background?
Mainly in performance (acting, movement, singing) but also in retail and teaching (which involved writing, as my dissertation, a 'Communication Skills through Drama Techniques' pack and facilitating to students/staff/clergy/immigrant workers/asylum seekers)
Why are you on this journey?
I don't see things as 'journeys' as such these days (though it was mentioned a lot in acting work!) these days I see it as more of an adventure through which there will be risks, unknown, etc but there will also be a lot of controlling my own destiny, hopefully earning a really good income and providing not only for me but also my 3 year old son and parents
What is its unique selling point?
I believe that in the modern day we are losing touch with how to communicate face-to-face. These days communication is a touch of a button on laptops or mobile phones. My service offers to promote more self-confidence, self-esteem, positive thinking, and the ability to express oneself in an assertive manner - to enjoy being yourself with everyone you meet - communicate don't isolate!
Well I have 4 GCSE/O levels, A BTEC Nat Diploma in Performing Arts (Distinction), ACCESS to HE Humanities Cert, C & G Level 2 Adult Numeracy/Literacy, BA (HONS) Theatre & Media (2.1), PGCE/Cert Ed, QTLS, Level 2 Fitness Instruction and am almost at completion level to qualifying as a practitioner in NLP. One of my biggest achievements is coaching 1 of only 5 students in the UK in 2010 to gain scholarship onto the New York Film Academy.
What stage are you at?
I have already sent a rough draft of a communication skills pack to a local MP who has been impressed enough to forward the copy onto the Minister of Education for Wales in the hope of getting it incorporated into the National Curriculum in the near future! I am also attending Business Wales 'Business Start Up' sessions through June in Wrexham and have good links forged with Business Line in Wrexham which will give me good networking links. I am almost at completion point with my NLP study and then will be getting my head down and creating various packages for the Communication Skills business to send out and market to businesses
When you are a complete and utter success will there be booze? Food?
Ah, now we are talking! Of course! Vimto, Lemonade...ahem yeah right! Plenty of celebration methinks! If it grows and grows then maybe even a bottle of champagne instead of the local Spar Asti which is my limit right now! I picture myself in a Lewis Hamilton-style cap standing on a podium I'll have made out of Lego and shaking the bottle of champagne over my team...oh hang on...I'll be a sole trader... maybe I'll pour it over me then!
What would you like to happen through Startacus?
To get as many customers onboard as possible in the early days of starting to be honest. I am raring to go in my mind and body, but obviously I need to formulate a business plan, cash flow forecast, change my bedroom into some sort of office style then be ready to start in early July. I will be willing to travel. My fee for each workshop will be very competitive but bear in mind to those who may be interested in my idea...many of the competitors I have looked at so far are charging in the thousands. My aim is to reach that but start in mid-range initially
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