Visarion Media, is a Hampshire based business that specialises in capturing and streaming the content presented at conferences, events, keynote speeches, presentations, AGMs, corporate briefings and training seminars.
The material is transmitted either live, or recorded for on-demand viewing in any location worldwide with broadband internet access. It allows businesses and organisations to create webcasts quickly and cost-effectively. Webcasts are viewed within a web browser window on a PC, Mac or mobile device without the need to install any specialised software. Webcast viewers experience events as they occur – getting a real feel for the whole event and experience – even though they could be watching from many thousands of miles away.
Mentor-Net has been working with John Crute, Visarion’s Technical Director and one of the founding partners in the business over the last year. John is an experienced technologist with a career spent developing and bringing innovative new products and services to market. As one of the founding directors, John developed the Visarion webcasting system to deliver high-quality, yet cost-effective webcasts.
As a start-up business, John actively sought out the help and support of a mentor and was introduced to Mentor-net through a local business networking event.
Whilst John is a highly skilled technically, he soon realised that his vision was perhaps too focused on developing the technical capabilities of the service. He realised that he needed support on how best to reach out to and develop new markets and attract new customers. By his own admittance, in the early stages he did not devote enough time and effort to marketing and selling.
After an initial meeting with Rachel Cheetham of Mentor-Net, John was partnered with an experienced business leader David Podger. David’s background has included senior roles with information and professional services businesses, most recently as Managing Director of an operating division of a leading professional education provider.
Commenting on their time together, John said, “It has been extremely beneficial having an independent and experienced business leader to help me discuss and develop my ideas and longer term vision for the business, particularly with respect to a sales and marketing strategy. David has been incredibly helpful over the last year and I’ve been able to bounce all sorts of ideas off him – it’s great to be able to ‘bluesky’ my thoughts with someone who is not only supportive but is not judgemental about my lack of experience in some areas.
“All start-up businesses have to make their first moves and David has helped me improve my confidence doing this. He is supportive and encouraging but does not ignore difficult issues facing the company. Initially, we would meet in an office and it was quite formal but now we tend to meet at a local pub, have a chat over lunch, then go for a walk for a couple of hours and continue discussions about business. The whole process is professional but quite relaxed, which is the way I prefer to work.”
Since John and David have worked together there has been a clear progression in the vision and strategy for the business. Over the last few months a more formalised sales and marketing plan has been developed and this is positively impacting sales and growth. By John’s own admission, David has instilled more confidence in him as an entrepreneur, helping him to push the business forward. As a small business, it can be all too easy to drift and lose momentum from time to time. David has helped John stay focused and determined to take the business to the next level.
Commenting on John’s progress, David said, “When I first met John I realized that he was an extremely capable person, with an impressive record in putting advanced technology to practical use. He wrote one of the most compressive and well thought out business plans I have ever seen and was obviously brimming with enthusiasm. John also knew he would have to develop new skills if he were to successfully commercialise his business, and has shown his commitment by applying himself to sales and marketing, two areas of business which at first he found the most difficult. John’s efforts are now beginning to be rewarded, and I’m convinced that his business model will lead to long-term success. When we meet, we are able to share some of the challenges of working on a start up which can often be a lonely and frustrating job. It’s been a really positive experience, and I hope that John will continue to find MentorNet’s help of use in the future”.
John added, “I have every intention of continuing to work with David. We’ve had a great year and his professionalism has helped me focus on where I want the business to go. Visarion Media has already been a finalist in the Winchester Business Excellence Awards in the ‘Excellence Through Technology’ category, which was a great accolade.
“David has also supported us becoming members of the Federation of Small Businesses, which in itself gives us further opportunities to develop our network of contacts. We’re really looking forward to 2012 and continuing to grow the business.”