TheZoo.London has turned six months! I still sometimes sit back and wonder at how we decided to go to market with a name like TheZoo.London, but to be honest that was a big part of what we want to be, sometimes it is important to have that vision and not be put off by self doubt or perhaps some peoples opinions, although always well meaning, sometimes people don’t always see what you see. The name of our business I founded with Rachel Forde is part of the three ingredients we set out to include in everything we do. 

1. We want to be visible and memorable

2. We wanted to bring something fresh to market, different in concept from the idea of management consultancy

3. We wanted to have a real character

These are not our Vision or Mission statements, rather a straw man of what the business should look and sound like. In six months we have developed from a website in hidden mode, two excited but nervous founders with the idea that we felt we could change the dialogue on consultancy and indeed on consultants in general to a rapidly evolving but aspirational ambition. I think we started out by thinking there has to be a better way to engage consultants and maybe we could help support some of them as well, but we have moved in just six months to realising that our mission is beyond just ease of engagement and support but to celebrate and elevate consultancy in our industry. This is not just about fixing a quick issue, but building the use of senior expertise into your business plans, that recognising the strength and experience of consultants in driving growth.

If we believe that, then we believe that people should be excited about diving into the world of consultancy. TheZoo.London is here to try and accelerate some of those shifts and really bring to life all the work that gets done and its impact. A side, unintended by-product has been the fact we are a big supporter of the 45+ demographic in the industry, one which is largely ignored by the press, events and industry in general. 6% of our industry is over 50, the general working average is closer to 30%. We believe that if you have gained that much experience, it should not go to waste, but rather, it can help support businesses who may have less of that experience internally. Why do we have mentors? Why do we create mentorship schemes if not to introduce that experience, just free of charge, well how about combining the chance to solve business challenges AND bring expertise to bare on your teams.

So we have been learning on the way and evolving, but how are we finding it as people? So I can only speak to my experiences, although Rachel will be writing her six month blog as well, so you will hear her experience as well. I have never been more happy for many years. I am excited to work with such an amazing partner in Rachel. Imagine starting out in the industry, in your first job, and without knowing, meeting your future business partner close to 30 years later. Why am I happy when I earn less money than I used to, have limited security, we are not on everyones invite lists, people have bigger fish to fry, you name it, there are so many things you could focus on as negatives well none of those bother me in any meaningful way.

I can’t exactly explain it, but Rachel and I are unleashed into the industry in our own way, we have no restrictions, no limits, we can see who we want, meet with who we want, we don’t have to justify anything to anyone, we can attend events at will and spend time enjoying them. We will both be in Cannes this year and I am so excited to be doing that, being able to properly network, visit the beaches and the boats without meetings piling up everywhere. I can only describe the feeling as freedom. But don’t get me wrong, it is serious. I am thinking about our business every minute of every day, we are both 110% focused on making a success of TheZoo.London, adding value to businesses and providing amazing opportunities to our collective, The Menagerie. I am never happier than when we create a partnership between our consultants and a client, the feeling of pride when a business trusts us is better than any deal I ever did in past life. 

Do I lie awake at night sometimes, yes. Do you worry about providing for the family, yes. Do I think about how I spend on things now, yes. But that is actually healthy, it is a smart thing to do now, clear the decks, cut the crap, be less wasteful, focus. Freedom of mind and of unnecessary stuff, freedom from politics, egos, freedom. 

All I think about now is how do we grow the business, how do we do great work, how do we provide amazing service, how is Rachel, and always, what is next. It would be remiss of me to not end with a thank you to our founding clients, you have made this a reality and are the foundations for everything we do from here, to marketing partners, friends and colleagues who have invested in us across the industry, everyone of you is a brick in the foundations. Finally a huge thanks to the amazing consultants in The Menagerie – behind the scenes they are supportive, helpful, and a brilliant bunch of human beings just doing the same as all of us, using their talents to grow businesses and help people.