The Office Hours Group

Founded on the principle that all business face simillar challenges, therefore business leaders can learn from watching each other solve problems regardless of industry and stage of business.

What is it

Office Hours is a weekly peer-to-peer session in which businesspeople can get direct and relevant insight into specific challenges facing their business.   Each week a member of the group presents a challenge they are facing in their business to other businesspeople who then question, explore and provide feedback.

It is a structured exchange; the conversation stays focused on discovering the key issues.  It results in multiple perspectives on the issues and a commitment by the presenter for action. We follow up with the presenter some months later to see how it all went in actual practice.

It all takes under 60 min with time for updates and general questions.

Who is it for

The attendees range in age from late 50’s to early 20’s with backgrounds as FTSE 350 COOs, ‘exited’ entrepreneurs, to managers running teams of 100’s with budgets of £100M and independents wondering if they should start a company at all. Most are in companies of a few people to 10’s of people. We have people join in via skype from Germany, China, London, Scotland and Yorkshire. The sectors represented are IT, optics/nanotech, aerospace, transport high volume manufacturing, educational, social ventures and others.

What to expect

Question presented to the Office Hours group have been varied but not surprising:

  • How to make better hiring decisions?
  • Where, in what market, is best to launch a social venture product?
  • How to get more sales calls for my new product ?
  • How to position a contract-CTO offering to win more contracts?
  • Should I form a Ltd to forward a games development company?
  • I have too much to do, how to staff a company?
  • Should I file a patent to protect new IP ?
  • a Partnership/JV with a major sub contractor has been proposed, should I do it
  • How much equity do I give to employees, co-founders and partners?
  • The sector we chose for our product launch proving slow and expensive, should/how do we change the strategic direction of company?

Why participate

The immediate objective is to gather people running, or thinking about starting, businesses in order to share best practice for exploring market potentials, planning, managing people, developing, producing and selling product. The idea is to learn from each other, perhaps float a few ideas, a strategy, or test some assumptions.

The format is open, flexible and very practical. The best way to learn is from experience. Hearing how others worked through problems will allow you to learn from their experience, and they from you. Might save you from making the same missteps. It is not meant only as a one-to-one discussion. It works best when several people, each at a different point in the grow of their company, contribute with questions, information, and stories.

How to Join

Office Hours is free. Your contribution is your experice, perspective and the intereing challenges you bring to group.

You can sign up at Meetup.com/makespace. Search for “Office Hours at Makespace”.

We meet each Friday at noon UK time. The link to the online meeting is on the meet up page.

Resources

Office Hours Google Group