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To Workshop or Not

A write-up on the Heropreneurs Business Start-Up Workshops, with thanks to Andy Tondeur for volunteering his time to provide this overview.


Everyone attending the workshop was on time or five minutes early as is to be expected from attendees who were all military, ex-military, or spouses of service personnel.


Everyone gathered to show that the skills they had learned, honed and deployed in service life could be transferred into business life, and not just any business but their own business.


The attendees had all been taught that planning, preparation and having the right resources are paramount in any successful deployment, and they were keen to show that they could diversify these skill sets, from putting boots on the ground to putting products on the shelf. They all had the ideas, drive and enthusiasm needed for the commitment and work load ahead, and they were willing to take this on to be successful.


Matt, who gave the presentation, slowly eased the attendees into business life in civvy street in a pleasant, good humoured and knowledgeable way. Matt’s style and presentation skills, mixed with the normal service humour, put everyone encountering Zoom and talking to an unknown audience on the Internet for the first time at ease.


As the presentation progressed Matt started to engage with the audience on a one-to-one basis, encouraging the attendees to think about which customers were right for them, who to target, and how. What hours did people want to work and what did they expect in revenue in return? When the basic question, “WHAT DO YOU WANT”, was asked, the silence was notable. To help answer this question the audience were split into breakout rooms where the presentation progressed and the go-getters realised that being let loose was the wrong way to go, and at this stage they were introduced to a number of business savvy “Mentors”.


The breakout rooms were small, about half a dozen people and one Mentor. With mute buttons off and being led by the Mentors some people opened up, liking the smaller audience. Everyone had ideas and thoughts on how to start up, run, and make their business successful and the Mentors listened, absorbed and asked questions that, on the surface, seemed very basic but, as the answers or difficulty in answering from the audience came back, the Mentors seamlessly seemed to know everyone’s business and the possible pit falls they may face. The Mentors knowledge and experience shone through in every breakout group I attended, and it was clear from the group that everyone was showing them the respect they deserved. When the Mentor spoke, we listened, and even though they may have just told you how wrong you are in their polite, easy going way, the comeback was “got it” “Roger that” and “thank you” from an audience who knew they not only had met an ally, they had met an amazing asset.


The cross section of services, ages, and sexes was very impressive, with all having ideas of how to make a success out of civvy street. Spouses were also in attendance, presenting good, well thought out ideas with the ability we all know so well. I was tempted to say “behind every good man” blah blah blah but these spouses stood side by side not behind and I have no doubt that they will be successful.


To round off the Workshop, it was back to Matt doing a short Q&A session to see how much people had learned and to see how much people’s opinions had changed, not only of themselves and their ideas, but also how to navigate the hurdles ahead. Civvy street can be a hard task master at the best of times, to start a business from scratch takes guts, hard work, and the will to make it happen. All attending the Workshop now knew how tough it might be but with the help of Heropreneurs, Matt, and the wealth of knowledge and experience of the Mentors in their arsenal they would have a better chance of success.


I wish all attendees I met luck and success and I will see you all at the next workshop.


About Andy

My name is Andy Tondeur

56 years young, father of two. Grandfather of two.

Ex British Army, Royal Signals.

Trained as an Apprentice in Harrogate, North Yorkshire.

Served mostly in North Germany in Electronic Warfare and The School of Signals in Blandford, Dorset.

I have run my own business, which was severely affected by Covid 19, as was I after contracting the virus twice in hospital whilst being in a coma and losing the use of my legs.

I am now on the road to recovery, and I am currently looking at other avenues and opportunities to progress and develop my skill sets.

I am very interested in photography and would like to include that in my future employment.

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