What’s beekeeping got in common with FM?

I was asked recently, by a former colleague, if I would facilitate a strategy weekend for him. Bee Craft is a publication for beekeepers and is the official journal of BBKA, the British BeeKeepers’ Association. Did you know that 2,500 people start beekeeping every year in the UK? You’d be amazed what type of person gets into beekeeping – it’s certainly not the stereotypical grey-haired, bearded gent – these days it’s young professionals who care about their environment, are concerned about the disappearance of bee colonies, and want to produce their own honey.

How much did I know about beekeeping? Enough to put on the back of a postage stamp! However, the skills of facilitation is about being a guide for people, and helping them reach conclusions, and that I can do really well!

The aims of the weekend were clear; where would Bee Craft be in 2012 and how would we get there. Much of the weekend was based around marketing, products and advertising. I started by asking everyone to share their expectations for the weekend, then I led various workgroups based around these questions:

What is the market for this publication?

About our customers

  • What are we already doing well? What is the evidence to support his?
  • What different kinds of information can be gathered about existing and potential customers?
  • What are the different ways of collecting this information?
  • What are the most effective ways of gathering this information?
  • What are the problems in collecting the data?
  • What is the best way to project the strongest message from us while getting the customer information?
  • What are the best ways to present and use the data?

We analysed the competition – what is their market, what is their circulation, price and offering.

We looked at who can help us, and realised just how many personal contacts the group already had!

What do we actually offer? Who are we? Does that tally with what our existing and potential customers want?

As a group we then considered all the risks associated with the brand, marketplace, environment and resources, and started a risk register.

So, not so different from FM really – know what we are offering; understand our customers, keep asking them what they want and how we are doing; understand the competition; understand the risks.

If you are looking for an expert facilitator to run your next FM event, contact Liz Kentish, The FM Coach on Tel: 01778 561326 / 07717 870777 or email: coach@lizkentishcoaching.co.uk

The final word goes to one of Bee Craft’s committee members, ‘a big thank you for your contribution to a very worthwhile weekend and for your enthusiasm’.

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