Hello I am Shai Patel…
Co-director at ICON. Having lived nearly 45 years in the historic saddle-making town of Walsall, West Midlands, I am now fortunate to reside near the UNESCO World Heritage site of Ironbridge, Shropshire.
ICON (Business Growth Professionals) is a business consultancy with offices near Ironbridge, Shropshire and the Jewellery Quarter, Birmingham. We work with Start-Up businesses, Small to Medium Enterprises (SMEs) and Social Enterprises. Our services range from company formation, business, strategy and IT planning to business management coaching and facilitate access to grants and commercial finance.
How did you get into coaching?
I have specialised in business analysis, business development, and business improvement at CEO and senior management level for most of my post-graduate career. When the time came to leave the corporate world and serve the UK’s prolific SME sector, it made sense to adapt and deliver global business and management solutions accessibly to small business owners, start-up companies and the third sector. It is immeasurably satisfying working with passionate people, providing solutions to their unique business challenges
What do you specialise in?
In one word – “Strategy”. I can help a business form a strategy for the short, medium and long term. From the basics, this can cover the ‘Why’ an individual or group of people have established an organisation to help them plot their journey towards their business (and often personal) goals. With a strong IT background, my niche is that I can help businesses ensure that they invest in the proper IT infrastructure at the right time to support the business mission.
What motivates you in business?
Without sounding like a cliché, I like working with people. I am an active listener and am always learning. I am genuinely fascinated with how and why businesses form. How are they led, how they interact and function? How they can break, adapt, and ideally, fixed.
How did I survive the lockdown?
Like many other individuals, it was a case of having to adapt. I was never comfortable with video calls, even on mobile phones. I simply recognised that, like businesses in a crisis, I had to adapt. Work from home, brush up on my video meeting skills and body language. Working from home proved to be productive. Without having to travel to meet clients, I was able to use that time to learn. Learn how other businesses across the world, large and small, were coping. Most incredible satisfaction came from revisiting previous clients and helping them move to a new method of working. The greatest sadness, though, was not being able to say goodbye to loved ones lost in the pandemic.
What makes you different?
We are traditional in the sense that ICON is first and foremost a relationships business. We thrive on building a ‘Know, Like, Trust’ relationship. We temper the relationship with the use of our proprietary AIM framework – a bringing together of past and new global business management thinking and techniques. Finally, our niche ensures that our clients have an appropriate IT Strategy to support their business goals.
Do you have any top tips for thriving in this next season as a business?
“Give” – businesses, families and individuals are facing and living through a crisis for which there is no rule book. Yet, the pandemic has shown generosity and greed alike. Business owners have given their time and products free to those in need or help save other businesses from “going under”. Some have chosen to overcharge and seek short-term profiteering. Post-pandemic, customers are most likely to remember and vouch for the supportive businesses and avoid the profiteers. There is a philosophy out there – “Givers Gain – if I help you, you may help me or others.
“Learn & Prioritise” – it has been a time for reflection for many. Loss of loved ones, loss or near loss of business or jobs has brought home the realities of our previous hectic lives. Use the time to learn and prioritise what is essential for us. Set or reset personal and professional goals.
Tell us something fun about you?
Wow, this is a tough one. I’d like to think I am a humourist at heart. I would probably be classified as a fossil, a reminder of Dad’s Jokes – for example, “A guy walks into a bar – OUCH!!” I can poke fun at myself or even my profession. For example, “Did you hear the one about the two company directors out on the golf course? One asks the other, ‘How do you get your employees to show up early every morning?’ The other replies, ‘Straightforward, I have 50 employees and 40 parking spaces!’.
You are entitled to groan…
How do you overcome adversity?
A lot of the approach to adversity comes from a spiritual and personal experience approach.
Recognise that adversity exists and that mental preparation or our way of life can overcome adversity. Develop a positive mindset – the glass is half full. Having a sense of humour certainly can help, although it may be challenging to find something humorous in all situations. Talking to others can help but be selective – surround yourself with positive people. Immersing yourself in nature – could be a walk in the nearest park or woods, focussing the mind on the various natural noises and being in the ‘present’.
How can people get in touch or book a service/session?
They can either call me on 0800 567 7440. If we are busy with clients, callers can leave a voice message and will revert as soon as possible.