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Mike Orchard

Skills Hive

While staying lean and agile is a fundamental principle in Mike Orchard’s Skills Hive model, he plans to leverage the contacts made in his time as a Ravensbourne Incubatee to grow his core team in order to scale his business quickly.

The birth of the Skills Hive online system stems from a conversation Mike had as Partnership Director of a major UK brand three and a half years ago with a former client. The contact was suggesting they start a Social Media agency on his return from working in the US, but once he started to look into it Mike had other ideas...

“It became clear that the world didn’t need another Social Media agency, but what the growing 

number of boutique agencies and consultants needed was a way to grow revenue without creating fixed cost,” he explains. 

So the challenge was on, how to create something unique that presented a viable alternative to traditional recruitment models and the existing freelancer marketplaces. That proved to be easier than expected, Mike just looked at how he had always built teams and sourced skills in his personal and professional life. It turned out there was a simple step-by-step process for collaboration that was repeated organically but wasn’t reflected in the existing services available.

“It is important that technology is designed to support and enable human endeavour and not end up over-engineered and cumbersome,” he says.

Skills -hive

In the last year Mike has decided to “bootstrap” the business by switching to a service model, offering training and project management to establish positive cashflow before pitching for investment to promote the subscription products.

Delivering service solutions creates a platform for Mike and his project teams to show people the value of the online tools and demonstrate the strategic model that underpins their design.

  • Vision – Painting a picture of that motivational experience in the future where you have impacted positively on the world
  • Core – Defining clearly what it is you do (differently) and what you need to deliver that as “business as usual”
  • Trends – Identifying interesting things outside of core that might help you develop new revenue streams that are true to the vision Roadmap – Plotting a sensible route through those trends that represent best use of your time
  • Skills Pools – Building deep pools of skilled project workers you can approach when the time is right
  • Bootstrap Projects – Allocating budget to each stage of projects to explore trends in the roadmap and qualify in or out potential opportunities and threats

“Since arriving in the incubator at Ravensbourne things have really started to click into place, there are fantastic opportunities to meet new people, build skills pools and collaborate on projects with other incubatees and students – it’s fantastic”.

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