Website designed by: Beyond Creative Thinking
Marianne Hartley is building a business whose purpose is
to transform the experience of design from one of connecting
products to people to one of connecting people to themselves,
through a discipline she is inventing called Healing
Marianne says: "Healing and design have always been very
important to me, but I had kept them separate in my life as I
couldn't see how to bring them together. I went on iconic shift and
the first weekend was amazing as I got to see and feel that I could
combine them. Being in an environment where expressing your highest
dream seems doable is such an uplifting feeling that it has
completely transformed the way I work. I'm focusing at the moment
on demonstrating that I can design brands that capture your heart
and I'm starting a network of like-minded designers in London and
Basel. I've got so much business since I started. The flow of
projects has increased hugely and they are all aligned to my
highest values. It feels very powerful and empowering."
Intelligent Partnership is a leading provider of education
on alternative investments. It turned to IconicShift when a
regulation change meant it needed a new business model.
The challenges of a changing marketplace
Intelligent Partnership was a successful training provider in
the alternative investment sector when a change in the regulatory
system made its old business model impossible - hitting the
Intelligent Partnership's Managing Director Guy Tolhurst: "I was
looking for a mentor and a guide to help because I had to turn the
business 180 degrees. We needed direction, support, a leadership
structure and I wanted help to put some business architecture in
place. And then I heard about IconicShift."
Becoming a mission-led company
Intelligent Partnership started on an IconicShift mentoring
programme in March 2013 and for Guy, one of the most important
aspects it teaches is to have a Purpose Beyond Money: "One of the
main things we took out of IconicShift was becoming a mission led
"Defining a significantly differentiated value proposition is
also a very strong area for me and how to deliver a consistent
brand experience. The architecture that forms around those ideas
forms the basis of everything we do."
Growing. Merging. Thriving.
Intelligent Partnership is now a thriving business. Turnover has
risen 100 per cent year on year since it joined IconicShift and it
is now part of a group of three small businesses. The number of
employees has grown from five to 17, the number of investment
providers it works with has increased from less than 10 to 250 and
it now has an active community of 6,000 financial advisers.
"We've completely turned the business around. We organise events
across the country, publish a range of industry reports, have a
highly praised awards event in the venture capital space and we are
working with policy makers to help shape the industry. All things
that if we didn't have a purpose beyond money we wouldn't be able
"Our customer retention is much better because of the principles
of IconicShift - people do business with us for the right reasons
because we've given them a consistent brand experience. We have a
more empowered workforce - they buy into the vision of what we
creating. And we have a better infrastructure to allow us to
innovate at the right pace.
"People say things to us like 'it's great to feel part of
something. We really admire what you trying to achieve and we see
real value in working with you'. People are getting the purpose
beyond money, they are not saying thanks for getting 50 people at
an event. They feel they are part of what we are trying to achieve.
And our customers say 'you guys seem to be one step ahead and
always round the corner in terms of where things are going' - and
that comes from our ability to innovate quickly - which doesn't
come unless you have the right business architecture and a clear
Onur Ibrahim joined IconicShift to find a new way of
providing advertising services, but instead was inspired to found a
new type of digital agency - Commino - that wants to change the way
advertising agencies work.
A broken model
Onur was working at an advertising agency when he joined an
IconicShift mentoring programme. His initial aim was to find a new
way of providing advertising services, with the hope that he could
influence change in the industry from the inside.
Onur said: "Being on IconicShift made me realise that the agency
model as we know it is broken. Advertising businesses are not
structured to support their clients. Agencies are built to only
make money when they over resource internal staff. Once I came to
this conclusion I resigned from my agency job and started
A new way
Commino is a new type of digital agency, that wants to change
the way companies and agencies work together and create value.
Commino lives to help its clients acquire customers at a lower
cost, retain more customers and drive measurable levels of loyalty
- by positioning and communicating its clients' products, services
and brands as a useful and important part of their customers'
"Our aim is to provide true value and start with the end
customer first in all dealings. Our clients always feel like they
are totally taken care of. Most other advertising agencies think
very differently. They only make money by keeping their staff busy
and working them to the grindstone. Most agencies do not think far
beyond the customer acquisition and awareness generation phases and
don't try to understand their clients' business needs or how the
end customer will find value in the deliverable.
"Our business model allows us to see and plan further ahead,
this allows our clients to remain further ahead of the
Innovative, profitable, focussed
"Working with Mike and learning the IconicShift methodology has
helped me to plan and tackle business planning and strategy. I have
been able to articulate my business purpose clearly and realise it
through a clear roadmap. I no longer lack innovative ideas to keep
my business ahead of the competition. I know how to clearly and
purposefully separate ends from means and deliver on them whilst
balancing the emotions, logic and effort required to maintain
leadership and prioritise activities.
"Commino went from zero to profitable and employing six
contractors all within 12 months of working with IconicShift and as
a result of implementing the IconicShift architecture. I have no
shortage of new customers and partnerships with people that want to
work with my company. IconicShift has shown me how to be more
focussed and spend my time on the things that really matter whilst
delegating other tasks to the right people."
For more information: Commino.co.uk
Chiki Tea is a Japanese green tea cafe and online retailer
specialising in premium grade matcha and loose-leaf teas, shipping
worldwide from Japan. Founder Holly Helt went on an IconicShift
mentoring programme to turn an idea into a global
Bringing the enchantment of Japanese tea to people
around the world
Chiki Tea started as an idea and a PowerPoint presentation.
Coffee culture is on the rise, but many people who enjoy the
experience are actually looking for a healthier alternative. Holly
Helt was convinced green tea was a great solution, but most of what
arrived in the western world was lower quality and not prepared
A second problem was that this was an industry in trouble in
Japan - only one per cent of Japanese tea is exported, but its
western looking youngsters want to drink coffee in a modern
environment - they don't want to drink 'Granny's brew'.
Taking Japanese tea to the Japanese
Holly started on the IconicShift mentoring programme in December
2012, Chiki Tea was founded in May 2012 and the company moved to
Japan in May 2013.
"IconicShift helped to move Chiki Tea from a PowerPoint to a
reality - I was out of my depth when I first started, I just had
the idea and the passion. I used IconicShift to gain clarity and
direction - and that was just priceless."
Chiki Tea opened its first café in Nakatsu - taking Japanese tea
to the Japanese and giving them a western cafe experience, but with
green tea. This first café was proof of concept and a 'safe' place
With an image built, fanbase created, customer data collected
and with the support of the Japanese government, Chiki Tea closed
its first café to raise funds for a new larger café in nearby
Chiki Tea plan to use the new café as a springboard to expand
across Japan and in five years move the concept to the UK and
"It was exhilarating to be on IconicShift. IconicShift gives you
clarity, which leads to confidence, which gives you influence
because people listen to you. A lot of entrepreneurs also don't
realise the emotional challenge - it's incredibly challenging and
the tools from IconicShift really helps us as a team.
"Had it not been for IconicShift I absolutely would not be CEO
of Chiki Tea, it's as simple as that. The tools are very easy to
implement - the roadmap, the architecture, the perfect pitch - are
all so clear and easy to understand. Anyone who is embarking on a
new adventure, a 100-year game plan needs these tools."
Wealth Wizards is a FinTech start-up providing automated,
regulated, pensions and financial advice to individuals and
companies. It used the IconicShift architecture to make sure it
built the right foundations for its business.
Getting it right - right at the start
Wealth Wizards wants to make financial advice affordable and
accessible to everyone. It does this by putting together the
best-in-class software engineering with technical expertise to
create its unique automated or robo-advice platform.
But, when the company was formed in 2009, founder and chief
executive Andrew Firth knew they needed the right foundations: "We
had learnt from previous start-ups that getting the fundamentals
right early on was very important. And I think Mike is world class
at starting with an idea and knowing what to do to turn that into a
"It's that really early stage, when you say 'this a brilliant
idea and there's a market opportunity' - how do you create the
company that can take advantage of that? Mike almost makes it feel
likes its intuition but it isn't - there are literally thousands of
start-ups up and down this country and across the world that don't
have the knowledge or processes to turn a good idea into a
Attention to detail
The four founders of Wealth Wizards worked intensively with
IconicShift for a year as part of a group mentoring programme and
the company now schedules customised workshops as and when they are
"One of the most powerful things in IconicShift is that it
forces you to put the design work in at the start. People think a
start-up is a bit more loose, a bit more out there in the wild
west, but the reality is you have to be really precise in the
design and what you are trying to do.
"Because you've only got so much money - if you spend too much
on stuff taking you in the wrong direction you might not get a
second chance. And IconicShift makes you work through that detail
and that is such an important discipline."
The market leader
Wealth Wizards now has 60 employees, a turnover of £2.5 million
and is established as the market leader of robo-advice in the
"We have a vision, a purpose, a game and the whole IconicShift
business architecture. But for us, one of the most powerful aspects
was getting the purpose and our values clear. I think you don't
realise how important these are going to be until you recruit
people. When you go from 10 people to 60, and that's still a small
company, it is fundamental to aligning people to the business.
Because if you want the right people it's not enough to tell people
who you are, you need to say why you are doing it, what you want
them to do and how you want them to behave."
Octopus Investments is a venture capital and private equity
firm specializing in early stage, emerging growth, growth capital,
and buyouts. It turned to IconicShift when it decided to diversify
into new sectors.
Octopus was founded in 2000 with the aim to change the
investment sector for the better. For the last 16 years it has been
one of the fastest growing companies in the UK and it is now
trusted with more than £6 billion on behalf of 60,000
The company started working with IconicShift in 2015 as it began
to diversify away from its traditional core business areas, into
new sectors like healthcare and energy. Octopus wanted to fix what
was broken in those industries and decided to work with IconicShift
to create the right Game and supporting business architecture for
that move. At the same time, it was also the perfect opportunity to
look at the entire business.
Through a series of IconicShift workshops, Octopus worked on a
Dream, Game and Brand Experience. The workshops also gave the
senior team the chance to assess their market opportunities and
threats, to plan their next steps. This created a 12-month Road Map
listing their goals, actions and responsibilities.
Octopus Chief Executive Simon Rogerson said: "From the
workshops, we created an aim to deliver the Octopus experience
direct to consumers in their homes. We wanted to be known for
smart, simple solutions to important problems that leave people
feeling totally taken care of."
Investing more than £1 billion
So far, it's working. Octopus has invested more than £1 billion
in helping to build new, state of the art healthcare infrastructure
across the UK and has also set up a hugely successful digital
energy supply business, powered by renewable energy.
"What I value most about IconicShift is its ability to radically
simplify apparently complex things like strategy, brand, products
and value propositions without losing any of the power of more
complex approaches. When it's simple and powerful it means it's
easy to get people all moving in the same direction singing from
the same hymn sheet.
"Our energy business and Octopus labs, which were both at the
very early stage when we did the IconicShift work, are now making
great progress. The energy business in particular, which only had
1,000 customers then, is now powering ahead towards its one million
target which is a great result."
Russell James, better known as The Raw Chef, joined IconicShift
looking for growth and to take his business to the next level, but
found the first thing he needed to do was to slow down.
Turning a passion into a business
Russell James started telling the world about his passion and it
turned into a business - therawchef.com - that provides courses,
recipes, ebooks and information about raw food. He joined an
IconicShift mentoring group in 2013.
"IconicShift put me into a group of proper business owners who
were using a language I didn't really understand at the time, but
it was exciting. It was a great feeling to become a person who
really understood business terms and how to run a business with
things like raising funds.
"When I joined IconicShift my business was driven by passion,
but there was no real plan. I went on the course looking for growth
and new skills to take things to the next stage and push myself
forward to help the business."
However, instead of instant growth, Russell found he needed to
slow down first: "I spoke to Mike and he said - take stock and slow
down before you plan your next move. I had growth at the time, but
it had come from pure passion and it was almost naïve growth. I
needed to really look and think about the business and to get the
"And that was really important, because there's only so many
courses you can make or you'd want to make. I used the pause
IconicShift gave me to recreate the business' Dream, its Purpose
and decide if I really believed in that and if I wanted to do it.
The whole process gave me a renewed vision and passion."
Business doesn't have to be ruthless
"Mike showed me that business doesn't have to be ruthless.
IconicShift was very different, it uses a lot of your heart and
there's elements in there that I wouldn't consider to be
'traditional' business thinking. It showed me that there's many
things that can positively impact your business - it's not just
about accounting seminars - you can use your inspiration.
"It also helped me to look at and assess opportunities. Everyone
has an opinion of how and what you should do - and in the past I
would have probably tried to do everything. Now I look at an
opportunity from the basis of the Road Map, what I'm strategically
trying to get done and I'm saying no a lot more.
"I feel really great about the stability of my business and how
I want it to improve. IconicShift made me think about my Game, a
Road Map and a Brand Experience, which has enabled me to plan for
the future - it has been hugely beneficial."
Insize is a new concept in urban living. It aims to
revolutionise conventional city life by helping people make better
use of their space to have a better life. Its plan is to deliver
this via an online platform that combines cutting edge remote
design with the best innovative products that will save and create
Changing the way we live
Suzannah Bartlett joined an IconicShift mentoring programme in
2013 with the start of an idea: "Before IconicShift I was running
my property management business with a small team of three. It was
running well, though I had no firm plans to grow the company. I
also had an idea for an online product and design resource for
people living in small spaces. I'd had a feeling for a long time
that the way people were living and the way that we use space was
"At the time I didn't have confidence in myself or my idea to
get it off the ground - I didn't think it would succeed on the
programme. But I remember the very first session and thinking to
myself - I'm in the right place."
The iconic process
IconicShift helped Suzannah understand how a small concept could
develop into a game changing idea - Insize.
"IconicShift inspired me to look at everything in a different
way. It changed my perception of what was possible - and that
really has been the biggest benefit to me. Incredible things have
happened. It's given me the confidence to go and talk about my
business in different circles of people who already run big
And it wasn't just Suzannah's idea that grew. She used the
IconicShift principles on her existing business, Pillar Property
Management, and it is now growing, with a firm vision for the
"IconicShift has totally shifted my mindset on the property
business. I was thinking of scaling it down because it took up so
much of my time, but now we are on track to double the turnover in
the next year. The team is really excited, engaged and we are
increasing the profitability of our clients."
The prototype Insize platform will launch in May 2017 to test
the solution, ideas and the market. Suzannah is also building her
profile as a leader in this space and raising awareness of compact
living: "IconicShift has been a real springboard for me. I had a
small concept and it grew into a much bigger idea and now into a
"The IconicShift group dynamic was fantastic. It went beyond
just going to the mentoring sessions - and the contact group it
created was incredible. But, the most important aspect of
IconicShift is Mike - he can relate his own business experience to
his teaching, which brings it to life and makes it real. The group
work he facilitates focuses on the participants' individual
businesses making it directly relevant. My life would have been
very different if I hadn't taken part."
Redington is an independent investment consultant to pension
funds and other long-term savings institutions. It turned to
IconicShift to help plan for the future as it became increasingly
In 2012 Redington was six years old and becoming increasingly
successful with 50 staff and an impressive client base. Founder
Robert Gardner joined an IconicShift mentoring group to help the
company take its next steps: "We were good at what we were doing,
but there is an art and a science in running a company and we
wanted some advice on taking the company forward. We had created a
new strategic plan - but we needed the architecture to support
Over the course of 2013 Robert went on the IconicShift mentoring
programme, but it become clear that the whole leadership team
needed to be involved and various members attended IconicShift
sessions over the next couple of years.
A renewal of the company
While going through the IconicShift process Robert and
co-founder Dawid Konotey-Ahulu decided to change the governance
structure and bring in a CEO - Mitesh Sheth.
He used IconicShift right from the start: "IconicShift has been
a bridge and a language for the founders to hand over to the new
management. On the third or fourth day of becoming CEO we had a
workshop with Mike and the new management team, and we went back to
the beginning, had the founders talk about their vision and what
Redington could do to support those over the next 10 years.
"We came up with a Game of getting 100m people financially
secure and created a Road Map for the next 12 months to start to
build the capabilities, culture and platform we needed."
Redington now employs around 100 people and is looking to expand
without losing the vision or entrepreneurial spirit of its
Mitesh Sheth said: "IconicShift has helped align the company. I
share the game with customers and they love it because it shows
them why we doing things and what we do then makes sense to
them. The Game also helps with recruitment and it's amazing
how talent engages with it. People want to know what it means, how
it's going to work and how they can help."
Robert Gardner said: "Back in 2013 I was struggling to see how
to achieve what I wanted to with Redington. We had launched
RedSTART, which had the aim of tackling the problem of inadequate
financial education for young people in the UK and beyond, and
IconicShift gave me the clarity to see how it all worked together.
It helped me tap into my passion and our clients can see that
passion - our purpose beyond money is genuine."
The Business Development Leaders Network (BDLN.com) was founded
in 2014 by John Maffioli and Charlotte Quince. It is an online
magazine and network for the professional services sector that is
trying to drive real change across the industry.
Clarity and focus
BDLN Chief Innovation Officer and co-founder John Maffioli
joined an IconicShift mentoring programme in 2013. He was an
entrepreneur with lots of energy, lots of ideas and an existing
"I went on IconicShift to really work out what our proposition
and strategy was going to be - the business was growing so we
wanted to seize the opportunity in order to accelerate further
growth. We then took investment into the business at the wrong time
from the wrong people - and it was absolutely disastrous. It took
all the fun out of it and in the end we gave the money back and
went back to the drawing board.
"Working with Mike I got a real understanding that you have to
stand out in a crowded world, you have to stand for something and
be clear on what you are trying to achieve. Every single second
that people don't understand who you are, what you are doing and
why - is wasted."
Changing an industry
BDLN has a mission to change the UK's conservative and
traditional professional services industry into a forward-thinking,
entrepreneurial and dynamic powerhouse.
"BDLN was a real risk. After the disastrous investment our
revenues had fallen off a cliff, but instead of chasing revenue, we
created the BDLN. We used the IconicShift principles to spend six
months building client content not revenue. And having that ability
to talk to Mike and say 'this is what I'm trying to get done, does
this make sense?' was invaluable.
"We became obsessed with client delivery. Most companies are
reactive, no matter what they say. But, if you want to transform a
market you have to be proactive and stay one step ahead."
A turning point
"In 2016 it all came together. All of the sudden we got the
opportunity to talk at big conferences. We are now working with big
clients, organising big events and creating big marketing
"Being an entrepreneur is brutal and lonely. At times you are
you own best friend and your own worst enemy. This is why I have
been very fortunate to work with Mike - it's fantastic to have
someone to speak to who's been through it all before."
Medivet is a veterinary group of nearly 170 practices across the
UK. Originally created as a partnership - it started working with
IconicShift in 2015 when it created a new five-year plan.
An evolving business
When Medivet created its new five-year plan in 2015 the senior
partners realised the business would need to change.
Arnold Levy, Medivet CEO: "We were looking at the issues we
would face if we grew into a much larger business, especially if we
ultimately looked to the capital markets in the longer term. We
discussed what we should do in various partner meetings and decided
we needed an external advisor to help us organise the business -
essentially we needed a healthcheck. We had heard about IconicShift
and decided to consult with Mike."
A substantial impact
Medivet had its first IconicShift workshop in late 2015 and it
had an immediate and substantial impact on the company.
"What was put to us at that initial workshop made eminent sense.
Having an external advisor took away most of the concerns we were
all feeling. We had discussed having a board and CEO before, but it
had been a difficult decision. IconicShift showed us how most
companies in the commercial world were organised and what we needed
to do for people to understand our structure and plans, because if
people don't understand you they are not going to be interested in
you. We took Mike's advice because it made total sense and helped
us achieve what we wanted to achieve.
"IconicShift has helped put our business into a state fit for
purpose for our size. It helped get a strong consensus in the
leadership team of what we were going to do and put in place the
structures we needed for the market to understand us as a business.
The Road Map and list of accountabilities also made an enormous
difference to us."
"IconicShift has helped us grow at a much faster pace and we
have been able to more than double in size in a year and a half.
And in the future we are aiming to grow significantly. We have a
clarity of purpose, focus and direction.
"It has also improved morale in the business right across the
chain. It has created opportunities and people are feeling they
have a good career path in Medivet.
"Growth has also allowed us to look after staff better. It has
generated an excitement in the business, a buzz, and not just in
"And for me it was fantastic and it remains useful. I want to
continue to get the advice and experience because it comes from a
person who has done it before - Mike's track record and credentials