Data has been described as the new oil and Nick Muir believes he has found a well big enough to set up his own management consultancy.
After 18 years working with Royal Bank of Scotland, latterly managing the business response for major incidents and technical issues, Nick knows how crucial data has become in understanding customers and making decisions.
But, it wasn’t until he signed up for Royal Bank of Scotland Business Builder that he was able to fine tune his business proposition.
“Data has become more prominent in how you assess the information that you need in order to manage incidents more effectively,” says Nick.
He explains: “Data is used to understand what is going on and how it is impacting customers, using the information to make the right decision about how you fix things, what you fix first, how to mitigate the impact, how to remediate customers in the right way, and how you make sure you have the right information for the regulator and the press.”
Nick is fascinated by innovation in the data world, not least the use of Ai (artificial intelligence) to help make decisions.
Recently, for example, data was used to predict how customers would behave in the light of Covid, how this would impact their finances and how they use their money.
From e-commerce to good customer service, data can now help all businesses interact, understand and react to their customers better.
Business Builder is an online platform for entrepreneurs with a start-up idea, from Royal Bank of Scotland.
Every dream needs a plan and Business Builder will champion you with a wealth of tools and modules to support future or existing business owners, and you don’t even have to be a Royal Bank of Scotland customer.
The programme is there to support entrepreneurs through their business journey, at any stage.
From mastering your 60-second or ‘elevator’ pitch, to the important of mindset, or revenue streams there are nine different components on the Business Builder dashboard which are all relevant to start-ups.
Members can access workshops and events and join an online community of like-minded people all seeking tips, advice and support from a community or professionals.
Business Builder offers free online support 24/7 taking you through the essential building blocks to help you move your business move forward, completing exercises, templates and questions to implement the learning into your business.
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After taking voluntary redundancy in December 2020, Nick initially planned to set up a crisis management consultant – but working through the Business Builder modules made him rethink his whole business strategy.
He’s now looking at providing software to help companies harness and understand data, rather than offer his own consultancy service.
As innovation happens in the data world, Nick wants to become the conduit between tech start-ups and the SME’s that can benefit from this new technology.
“When it comes to setting up a business it’s a minefield,” he says. Thankfully there are many modules on Business Builder that can help you tackle the challanges around launching a successful start-up.
Nick says he found all of them invaluable: “The modules around Validation and Testing Assumptions were really useful.
“At first I thought people would want to speak to me about how we could make them more efficient when responding to incidents but the more I read through these I understood I was making a big assumption.”
The Business Model Canvas was also brilliant, says Nick: “It goes into every element and it’s easy to understand and get your head around.
“If your idea is wooly you need to go back and rethink it. That really helped develop the new idea that software is the business and if I can get that out there, then the consultancy will follow.
“Customer Discovery was another useful module that helped me rethink the angle at which I tackle this.”
Working his way through the Business Builder library of free content has made Nick ask himself tough questions about his proposition and, ultimately, made him change direction.
As a result, he now believes his business, Forth Directive Solutions, will be all the stronger and he’s getting ready to take it out into the world.