what are the 7 themes?

Written by Ed Beckmann Sunday, 23 January 2011 12:27

what are the seven themes about?

We discovered that all of the core characteristics and skills you need to make a success of your idea, business or group fall under one of the seven themes. Know the first three, and you can set up in business. Know the other four, and you will be able to keep it going! What they add to other theories relating to business and enterprise is that each one includes both a personal and a professional aspect. Although we go into them in much more depth in the courses which you can subscribe to, here is a quick explanation that you are free to explore for yourself. There area few sentences about each theme below, and a detailed pdf document which you can download and read more carefully.

The actual courses contain some self-checks that you can complete, and which will highlight where you are strongest and where you need to develop a little. As you read through the overview of the themes, you can imagine for yourself what you know about each one from experience and any other studies. When you have read them all, you will also be able to set some rough priorities yourself.

When you have considered your own priorities, do pop the one you scored highest and lowest onto our poll – there is no need to sign up, no obligation and you can see how others have voted immediately – it’s always interesting to compare thoughts!

Finally, do send any friends or colleagues a link to this page, rather than just the pdf, so they can have the whole experience in context and also add their score to the poll.

Enjoy thinking about how the themes relate to your situation at the moment.


what are your personal and business purposes

One – Your Business Purpose

A lot of good books and advice on starting a business highlight the importance of getting a clear mission and vision – in my experience they can sometimes miss the point, which is why number one cold be as much ‘what your business is for’ as ‘the purpose of your business’. All too often you meet people who are running their own business but do not seem to get what they want from life – it is as though life equals business. I sincerely recommend that you explore what you want from life and then design working for yourself so that it provides what you want.

So in our course, we start with you making a note of just what you want your days to be like, THEN (and only then) do we match the structure of the business so that it at least has a chance of providing those great days if all goes well. When you have the right framework for you, then it is quite right to focus on the mission, vision and goals of the enterprise – although in our aim for everyday language we look for what the business is set up to do.

Two – Understanding Your Customers

There is no shortage of material, advice or people wanting to help you to get more customers, so we naturally need to add something meaningful as well as make the fundamentals as simple to understand and get going.

Our approach is to ask whether you spend more time getting people to appreciate your Unique Selling Point or in understanding what there needs are and how best to satisfy them? To get customers you have to understand what they want before they are your customers – how they manage without you now, how you could attract their attention, what kind of things would make them even consider dealing with you.

Your ability to market and satisfy people increases when you are able to consider their needs before yours. An expert in understanding current or potential customers is relating to you before you even know it.

Three – Understanding money

How do you react when you think about money for a moment? Excited? Baffled? Frightened? It’s a shame money has to be part of it?

For you to keep delivering what you do, there has to be more money coming in than going out. Whatever the jargon banks, accountants and tax authorities use, ¬†some things need to be second nature to a person working for themselves or running a business. This section relates the money-related stuff that you ¬†already know to the techniques and business jargon that often disguises it. As you get comfortable with the relatively few bits of jargon, you can do your planning and consider ‘what if I did …?’ without getting bogged down by the numbers.

Then working with the figures becomes interesting and enjoyable! Despite the saying ‘he knows the cost of everything and the value of nothing’, an expert in this area knows both.

Four – Being adaptable

As soon as you have a plan and get to know your customers well, things change. We look at ways in which you can check out how adaptable you are, generate ideas, explore options and feel comfortable with change. We also consider that being flexible is changing in response to the situation – being adaptable is looking ahead and changing before you have to.

Because this comes easier to some people than to others, there is mix of techniques for developing yourself as well as techniques for changing an organisation or business setup. An expert in adaptability will always be consistent in their dealings with you, but continually adapting to fit the situation.



Five – Taking Responsibility

You already know that working for yourself or running a social enterprise is serious, so why do we have a title that could be insulting?

Well, it is based on the bitter experience of some people we have met, and we just want your experiences to be that bit less bitter. This section is about two principles which we believe to hold true:

  1. Whether you are a one-man band or running a large organisation, there are loads of rules, regulations and legal requirements. Frankly you can spend a huge amount of time and effort trying to find loopholes, pleading ignorance, or pushing the system. We believe that the best tactic is to know your obligations, understand the options and then pick the best one for your situation. You need all your imagination and energies to provide the best service you can – fighting the system can often exhaust all of the resources you have. Remember number one – what is your purpose?
  2. There will always be things that are out of your control – whether it be financial crises, floods, technology failures or illegal imitations. Even if they are outside your control, you can make plans for what could happen. In fact, we believe that it is irresponsible not to plan for some things.

So number five directs you to most of the rules and regulations that you have to consider, and it helps you to plan for the unexpected. An expert in this section will suffer the odd setback, but never a major disaster. And they will have been looking out for it.

Six – Keeping up to date

This has more attraction and relevance to some people than others, but it is always vital whatever you are doing. We explore all of the areas which you will need to be up-to-date in, to stay ahead of your competitors or to stay relevant to the community which you are serving.

For some, this means leading-edge technology – for others, it means knowing that you can change the message on your answerphone. For everyone, it means that you know how to do what you do using the best tools and techniques available at the moment and you expect to be taking action in a completely different way a few years from now.

Seven – Working with people

Even if you are working alone, you have to lead, motivate, encourage and develop yourself. However automated your communications might be, you will have customers or users and suppliers. Working with people covers a fascinating range of topics, from setting up your working environment so that it inspires and motivates; communicating; motivating; seeking to understand; delegating, negotiating and even how to disagree productively.

Many people gain a huge benefit when they discover how to be a good boss for themselves, let alone anyone else!

So, there are the seven themes – how do you rank yourself in each one?