There will be many people who can help if you know how to find and ask them.
Choose your helpers wisely
In most communities, there are many people who will be prepared to help get a worthwhile organisation off the ground. All the skills are available to you if you know who to ask and how to present your case.
Look for the people who will support you and the men’s shed concept and then work at how you are going to excite them to keep helping you.
Arguably, everyone’s biggest issue is knowing what they don’t know, in order to make the right choices.
- Is the way you propose to start and run you men’s shed obsolete?
- Are your skills and knowledge obsolete?
- How do you stop feeling unsuccessful in your attempts to start a men’s shed?
- What are the best ideas that will propel your men’s shed into the future?
“Starting a new men’s shed can be too hard doing it by yourself”. Peter Sergeant
Support is an important key to starting and building a successful enterprise
Did you know that most men’s shed managers, never reach the level of success they desire or are capable of? That’s because they make one or more fatal errors that are all too common:
- Poor direction and lack of sound planning practices.
- Poor marketing to potential members, the community, suppliers and funders.
- Trying to do everything by yourself.
- Not selecting the right employees and suppliers.
- Not having a value chain that delivers value to the members and the community.
- Poor financial management practices.
- Growing the men’s shed too quickly.
- Not looking after men’s health and well-being.
You can avoid these fatal mistakes by gathering a good support network around yourself and your men’s shed.
Belief in you men’s shed’s ideas is critical
I once had a new men’s shed manager tell me, “I don’t feel that I am making any progress”. I suggested that he had not become serious enough about the men’s shed and until he did the men’s shed would not go anywhere. Without passion, drive and commitment, nothing much happens.
Men’s sheds should be fun, but it is not a game until you have completed the serious tasks associated with getting it off the ground and running well all day every day. You have to practice and practice until you get it right.
Revisit your under-worked business plan and answer that all-important question “why”. Why do you want a men’s shed and what would it look like when it was finished? From there you can start to put in place the things that would make the men’s shed start to work.
Treat your men’s shed like a rough diamond and start to polish it up. If the “polishing” seemed to be too hard then perhaps the “why” was not right.
“In order for your planning to be effective, it needs to be treated as an important aspect of your men’s shed and its activities.” Peter Sergeant
Imagination you might have, but you need more
Remember when you were a child? What did you think about? Did you ask a hundred questions every day? Did you always seek out interesting things to play with? What did you imagine you would do when you grew up? Would you drive a fire engine, go to the moon, visit the Eskimos, or start a men’ shed. So what happened to that imagination?
Like it or not, the digital world now forms an ever-increasing part of a men’s shed, from start-up to maturity. It’s no longer enough to simply have a shiny website or a social media account, as innovations are coming thick and fast.
The most successful men’s sheds, like successful businesses, non-profit organisations, and communities, will keep pace, by using their imagination and seeking help from many other people.
If you starting a men’s shed, there will be a need for extra help to move you closer to your goals and do it safely. Much of this help will take the form of mentoring and utilising specialist advisors. It will pay you to learn how to find and access appropriate support for your men’s shed.
Creative men’s shed managers know how to rediscover the curious child within. Anything is possible in their overactive imaginations, so they don’t see barriers that limit their friends and others. Why not go to the moon and establish a men’s shed, or restore a vintage car using a 3D printer, or develop a better robot to mow old people’s lawns.
Your parents are a good place to start
For many young people, getting their parents’ support to start a new men’s shed can make a huge difference, emotionally, practically and financially.
But it’s not always easy to explain to parents why, instead of getting a ‘real job’, you’re putting everything on the line to create a new men’s shed. This is particularly hard if the parents have not had any previous experience with men’s sheds or other community organisations.
Show your parents that you have thought your new men’s shed opportunity through to the longer-term, not just what you hope happens in a year’s time.
Your social networks can find the services you need
Your social networks can find the services you need, so ask for their help. Here are some ways to utilise your social or existing networks for more information and support for your men’s shed:
- Who are they connected to? Do they have a strong network of professional people who may be able to help you?
- Have they received any recommendations from their networks? What do those recommendations actually say?
- What is their experience? How long have they been in business? What were they doing before? Do they look to be reliable, practical, useful and helpful?
- How do they present their products and services? Are they enthusiastic and interested in what they will be providing you, or is it only an after- thought?
Use social media to delve a little deeper into each person or organisation’s background, before you make any commitments.
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I have suggested to many people to sit down and write their story and when they arrive at where he was today, to keep writing about what they are expecting from the men’s shed in the future.
Bingo! The lights go on. “I can see what that would do for me, but that is a big job”. I then suggested that if he were going to eat an elephant, then you would do it one mouthful at a time. Then I would give them a structure to follow.