The Connected Economy


We live today in the open and connected world of the information age, a fundamental transformation from the protected world of the industrial age. The impact on society, organisations & individuals has been enormous, with profound implications for companies and their business strategy for the 21st century.


Lets set the scene;


Only 71 of the original Fortune 500 list of companies from 1954 remain 60 years on. The average age of the 1954 Fortune 500 list of Companies was 75 years old versus today’s average of just 10! There are 500,000 start-ups every year in the US alone (the lead start-up market) and of those, 50% will fail in the first year. Of the remaining 50%, just over half (56%) will fail during their first five years ~ 75% failure rate!! 


The message is clear: no business is too big to fail or too small to succeed.


So what is the connected economy?


Well, most now have PC’s at home, connected to the Internet….but it doesn’t stop there. How many of you have “smartphones” with internet connectivity in your pockets?  Or iPads with internet connectivity you take to work? Soon your house will be connected too, altering such things as heating settings according to climatic conditions. Your fridge will be connected, advising you when milk is going off – or reordering automatically for home delivery. And your car is almost certainly already connected, using live connected data to help you re-route journeys to reduce traffic congestion and pollution, improving fuel consumption and reduce costs. Soon cars won’t need drivers!


What does this mean for business leaders?


The connected economy has changed many things forever – the way businesses are started, structured, funded, staffed, promoted, run, sited, in fact….pretty much everything has been the subject of disruption. It means past industry experience is no longer a marker for success. Radical and lateral thinking are as likely – if not more likely – to generate success today


Todays business leaders ~ perhaps more than at any time in history ~ need an independent perspective, a fresh pair of eyes!  Someone without the vested interest of the next promotion or assignment, who has your agenda front of mind, seasoned enough to see the wood from the trees ~ but not out of touch in a big corporate, or slavishly following large organisation rules and old fashioned methodologies.   Someone who sees similar issues in different environments and through professional training is able to transfer what’s appropriate for your learning. Someone who helps turn good intentions into great results.


And interestingly, 70% of SMEs who receive Mentoring, continue in business for five years or more thereafter. More interesting still is that research has shown these businesses revenues grow at twice the rate of non-Mentored Leader businesses. Typically our Clients exceed even that!


The second message therefore is: mentoring works! 


Change, disruption, transformation are upon us ~ are you ready…..?




Professional Leadership Mentoring


So…..you’re a great architect / accountant / developer / engineer / lawyer / marketeer / scientist /……..and because of it, you own or run a business.  Apply logic, a little common sense and possibly, you’ll do very well.  Or will you…..? 


Imagine if we thought that way about flying a plane; read the book, know the theory, we’ll stay airborne somehow, take satnav, pick it up as we go along….. Doesn’t sound too smart does it?  


Why then, think logic, common sense, trial – hopefully without fatal error, is the right way to run something as complex as a business?  Especially in a rapidly changing connected economy!


We’ve learned that when leaders are provided with the right strategic tools and guidance to realise their full aspirations, outstanding results follow. We’ve found traditional strategic advisory models too slow and complicated for today’s agile business environment and often too removed. You know; that consultants report left with you to use as a door stop! 


Our methodology was born of a passion to make strategic planning and execution clear, concise, rapid and most of all – useful! We realise its lonely at the top and often hard to find that unbiased person to turn to for advice, guidance or support. Someone with no agenda other than to see you succeed.


Someone you might describe as your “flying instructor”. Why not let us help you turn your good intentions into great results?

Clients Past & Present

Client Feedback

  • Abigail Harrison - Founder & CEO, DigitalSurrey

    Martin's track record speaks for itself. His wealth of experience and ability to hone in on the specific issues, allows him to perceptively ask the hard questions and demand thoughtful answers.

    Through a mentoring process of challenge, Martin enables business leaders and senior teams to understand and work on a future strategy that will deliver the required change plus consequent success. Not only that, he remains part of the change-process to ensure the desired outcomes are achieved.

  • Martin Scott - Partner, Walker Morris Solicitors

    Martins strategic brainpower and towering insight, backed up by a wealth of experience and ability, make him a massively impressive individual.

    His knowledge and perception results in challenging questions and his gravitas demands suitably considered responses. This is stretching, but working with Martin is immensely pleasurable and rewarding.

  • Caroline Buckingham - CEO, Caroline Buckinghan Architects

    Having known Martin for over 30 years I only discovered him as a mentor in the last 3 years. He made me open my eyes and importantly write down my goals, aspirations and see future opportunities.

    He has great insight, is strategic in his approach and is able to ask the right questions to set you thinking. He continually challenges you, yet with Martin as your sounding board you are able to aspire to things you never thought were possible.

  • Blaire Palmer, Chief Executive, That People Thing

    I hired Martin based on his track record of helping turn hard to scale companies into successful, scaleable ventures.

    Within 3 months of working with him (and after more than a decade running my company) I have a business model that can scale, a value proposition that clients can understand and buy into, the beginnings of a practical business growth strategy and real clarity on how I should be investing my time to get the best return. Not bad!

  • Julian Ranger - MD, Lockheed Martin STASYS

    Martin has built up, bought & sold many companies in his career and has undoubted wide-ranging executive/management skills.

    Martin is now a business mentor/advisor and I would recommend anyone interested in management development who is in a CEO role to speak to Martin.

  • Natalie Douglas - CEO, IDIS Pharma

    I'm working with Martin to develop an infrastructure model and strategic plan to support our ambitious & dynamic international growth strategy. His wealth of global business and strategy experience has been invaluable. He is intellectually challenging, supportive and very enthusiastic.

    I'm really enjoying working with him on this project and would be happy to recommend him.

  • Graham Da Costa - Managing Director, Shine Feedback

    The last two years working with Martin, has transformed the way I not only view myself, but equally, the way I view and run my business. Martin is straight forward, direct, to the point - this style may not fit comfortably with everyone, however, if you want to reconfirm / establish what you want from life, then reflect on the impact this will have upon your business - Martin's the guy you need to see. No question. Be prepared to be challenged, to think and take action on your deliberations and discussions though. If not - don't bother - he's rather busy!

  • Jacqueline Bateson - Univar Europe

    Martin is highly experienced and easy to talk to. He is professional and has a keen sense of being able to challenge and encourage people; he has an ability to calmly and positively be able to help people rise to any challenge. He makes me feel I have more to discover about myself and develop my talents even further!

  • Johann Edward - Group CEO, EIMS

    Martin is an extremely competent, experienced and knowledgeable business manager who has done it all, and has decided to give a little back. The opportunity to work with such a person is as rare as hen's teeth, because they're usually out there doing it for themselves. If you get the chance - take it!

  • Dale Williams - Partner, KPMG

    Martin successfully coached and mentored a group of CEO's to deliver excellent results both personally and professionally. The members of his group thought extremely highly of Martin.

  • Steve Radjen - CEO, CDD Design

    Martin is a focused and detailed advisor who helps you keep watch on all aspects of your business, whether it be strategic or financial. He'll then act as your advisor to ensure that you stick to and meet all your startegic business goals. A knowledgable man with a great depth of experience in all fields.

  • Ben Marsh - CEO, iMeta Technologies

    Martin has been an excellent advisor / mentor to me in my role as CEO of iMeta. He brings a huge wealth of experience to his role as our Chairman, not to forget his huge energy and enthusiasm . I find our monthy meetings challenging and rewarding.

  • Robert Drew - CEO, Vistage International

    I have found Martin to be an excellent business person with a great track record of managing businesses, many being his own. He fully understands the Chief executive role and makes a great contribution to the group he currently chairs.

    Further Martin is a very pleasant person to be with and has a wide raneg of interests which make him a delight to be with.

  • Garry Moore - MD, Burnett & Associates plc

    Martin has been Chairman of my group for almost a year now and brings a huge depth of knowledge and experience in running and growing a business, from both the creative and financial aspects.

  • Ted Greenwood - CEO, Amsafe Bridport

    I found Martin to be extremely entrepreneurial and imaginative and, I would suggest, a great advisor to business leaders seeking either to grow through acquisition or extract maximum value through the sale of their business.

    There is also a sensitive side to Martin - people matter as much as numbers. His work with me was based mainly on helping me prepare for retirement.

    If you own and control your business, I would definitely recommend Martin as someone who could easily increase your wealth.

Client Partners

There's an old Japanese proverb which goes; “an evenings conversation with your Senpai (Mentor) is better than 10 years of study". Modern day statistics suggest mentored leaders are 70% more likely to succeed & 20% more likely to grow ahead of their peers. The message is clear: Mentoring works!

Martin works as a retained Non-Exec / Strategic Advisor / Senpai~Mentor to business leaders ~ from maverick Founders to FTSE100 CEO's taking their businesses through transformation, change and re-invention.

A strategist, visiting professor & author focused on technology led Disruptive Innovation, Business Transformation & the application of Agile Strategy ~ a strategy for the 21st Century's open & connected economy.

Regularly speaking to Government, Industry & business leaders about the pressing need to re-invent as a result of the connected economy. Challenging historic thinking on how enterprises should be organised, structured & run. Encouraging Leaders to park legacy investment, policies & procedures, in order to develop fresh thinking & new strategic initiatives.

Offering strategic thought leadership, commercial insight, external objectivity & an independent perspective; backed by 35 years experience developing leaders, management teams, businesses & brands in; FMCG, Durables, b2b's & hi-techs.

Previously worked internationally in small, medium & large, private & public organisations, some owned by others, many owned personally. Martin's career started as a management trainee with "blue chip" FMCG's where he was promoted through the ranks to Worldwide Head of Marketing at Diageo (with £12Bn in revenues from brands such as; Smirnoff J&B Cinzano Cointreau Baileys Captain Morgan Bombay Sapphire Gordons).

To PriceWaterhouseCoopers, specialising in strategy, acquisitions & disposals for PLC Clients, then self employment; acquiring or founding 50+ businesses, adding value & exiting.

Sound like the kind of seasoned eye you're seeking? Get in touch!

It was Robert A Rice Jr who famously said "An entrepreneur without funding is like a musician without an instrument" and how right he was.

Ian works as a trainer, consultant, author, coach and Chartered Accountant with near 20 years experience, practicing, training and coaching senior business managers and directors.

This has given him real insight and a depth of practical experience that brings business and finance topics to life, for directors and their senior management teams.

He's worked with organisations from the private and public sectors including many SMEs, BT, Northern Foods, Edexcel, The Learning Skills Network, The Welsh Development Agency, adidas, Next, Vetco Gray, Linpac, The Shareholder Executive plus Barclays to name but a few.

Ian also lectures on the MBA programmes at Aston and Warwick Business Schools, has written two books on shareholder value and Value-Based Management (VBM) and regularly presents to senior executives around the UK.

What this means is, he understand how to translate finance, P&Ls, Balance Sheets, Ratios etc, into every day language that you can pick up and run with.

Nothing gives Ian greater pleasure than "seeing the lights go on" as someone without professional training in finance, suddenly "gets it", understand how they can harness the numbers to know what's going on in their business ~ and the businesses of their competitors!

Finance is Ian's thing, so, let us know how Venture Strategy can make complex financial management, an every day topic you'll both understand and enjoy?