This year Grant attended the Acumen Business Convention which was held at the lovely Grand Hotel right here in Brighton.

At this years event Acumen had put together a fantastic line up of speakers from Rob Forkan founder of Gandy’s through to Jonas Kjellberg who founded Skype! Needless to say there was plenty of opportunities to learn & network through out the whole day. In this blog post we will highlight the best of the event.


Penina Shepard – The Business of Happiness

Penina opened up the day with her talk on the hunt and business of happiness. During the talk Penina noted there is one thing that will almost guarantee your failure to become happy, and that is pursuing happiness. The action of chasing down happiness is said to be a fools game, where every goal achieved isn’t celebrated correctly but instead spawns a new goal with an ever changing goal post!

Penina shares that your own happiness must come internally from something you have experienced, something deep and meaningful to you. This may come from a new travelling experience, this may come from a desire to learn how to rock climb, it may even come whilst spending more time with friends & family.

The point is you will not increase your chances of happiness if you force you self to do so. However if you set about filling your life with meaningful experiences which are personal to you, as the old saying goes ‘Money won’t bring you happiness’.

Recommended book – Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind


Rob Forkan – Building more than a brand

Robs talk was a powerful, moving and emotional after he recalled the awful loss of his parents during a tsunami in Sri Lanka. This gave Rob & his brother a desire to repay the people of Sri Lanka after they showed them such kindness during their time of need.

Gandy’s started life creating flip-flops in distinctive colours which like many young businesses struggled to gain notoriety, and it was meeting Sir Richard Branson that changed everything! When Rob & his brother met Sir Richard Branson and told their story to the Virgin owner he became an instant ambassador of their cause. This then brought about the Gandy’s flip-flops becoming widely used through out Necker Island.

Rob’s talk closed on the idea that as business owners we should all look to give something back, and keep our ethical side alive!

Recommended book – Tsunami Kids: Our Journey from survival to success


Sanderson Jones – Sunday Assembly

Sanderson came on stage and energised the whole building with his dance, song and ideas of how to break away from the regular humdrum of the office.

During the workshop Sanderson asked the crowd to reflect and look to what everyone had accomplished in their lives to this point. The idea was to appreciate the journey so far and to be less negative in your day to day lives.


Jonas Kjellberg – Gear up for business creation

Founder of Skype, serial entrepreneur and disrupter of businesses Jonas Kjellberg came to speak with the crowd at Acumen Business Convention.

During Jonas? talk there were many many great tips, ideas and advice about taking a new look on your business. Unlike the above write ups on talks we have decided to instead note some of the quotes from the talk & how Jonas discussed the ideas behind them.

The big quote from the whole talk was Jonas? love of a tightly managed budget & keeping your business model very lean, Jonas called this:

?Innovation in Zero?s? – Jonas said this was key to the success for Skype in it?s early days. Working on a business model that was money conscious and finding ways to produce a great service for less money seems obvious but it isn?t easy.

Jonas? next point worked on another key point of his success:

?Customer Acquisition is the only thing that matters!? – Jonas mentioned his first thing to review when looking at a new business purchase, is the companies acquisition funnel. If you don’t know this off by heart there is a huge problem! – ?If you don?t know your sales funnel you need help!

Following on from acquisition the discussion led onto the idea of knowing your product:

“What are you selling? What is the delight you offer. Knowing your customers advises your delighter; price, speed, ethical, quality etc?”

As the quotes above show, Jonas believes knowing your ?delighter? and how your customer thinks about your product is key to your ability to sell. By knowing your product and why you offer the service you are able to add little areas of delight.

Book recommendation – GEAR UP – Test your business model potential and plan your path to success

The event overall was hugely informative and raised a lot of very good questions. If you get the opportunity to see any of the speakers above we would highly recommend!