Getting to know you: Helen Gammons

What do you currently do?
The answer to this question will not be straight forward neither will it be an answer you were expecting!

I am a Music Industry Executive of 30 years, I am the author of ‘The Art of Music’ an entrepreneurs guide, 2nd edition now underway. I am programme Director at the world reknown Henley Business School for the MBA for the Music and Creative Industries, and for a series of 1 day events titled ‘Creative Dynamics’ which melds industry engagement, strategy and innovation with light touch academic insights and applied business context. This role combines my passion for music business and innovation. I have my ultimate dream job. I am also an entrepreneur with a strong work ethic and I am the FD for a multi award winning SME at Pinewood Film Studios –

What is your inspiration in business?
My inspiration is to build something from nothing, never to fear the unknown, to create something inspirational, to share my ideas with those who want to listen. To guide those who seek me out and to see them prosper. It is sharing with others that makes me truly happy. I haven’t set about business to become wealthy but to be excited. I love not knowing how tomorrow will shape up, but knowing where I want to get to is key. I am a very driven and focussed person, I have always been this way.

Who do you admire?
People who have been strong through adversity. People who have made a difference inspire me to be better. When things are a struggle then I draw on their work and courage. That all started for me with my mother. She is my ultimate guiding voice.

Looking back would you have done things differently?
There are a few things I would have liked to have done earlier. I took an MBA 12 years ago, I wish I had done this earlier. I absorb ideas and insights quickly and if I had been 30 and had an MBA I would have made less mistakes for sure. I think there is a real gap in the market for management development practices for high growth SME’s. Todays SME’s need as much if not more expereince than that of a corporate exec and the reason I say this is that typically an SME executive will be doing or overseeing a number of key jobs and duties until and whilst they bring in people to take over certain roles. With the lack of financial lending the SME executive is being stretched ever further and I feel an innovative business school such as Henley would do well to invite discussion with high growth SME’s. It also fits in well with government initiatives.

What defines your way of doing business?
As an indiviudal working for a major organisation I bring depth of field, a holistic image to the end result. I can map out a strategy and get on and deliver it being flexible enough to change the angle of attack to find the best way to get results. I dont like failure and so I will drive myself onwards until I succeed. In that respect I review all my work as a form of career progression and it’s a great way to view your working life. It doesn’t matter what job you hold down, do it well, be brilliant at it and good things will happen. When you get bored or stop trying you do yourself a diservice and the company you work for.

As a business owner its important to be inclusive to bring people with you on your journey and keep motivation high.

What advice would you give to someone just starting out?
Define what you want to do, who your target customer is and make sure they like your idea. In other words be sure there’s a market. Then the next step starts, and that’s engagement. How do you get and keep the attention of your customer. How might your business develop and how does your offering differ from your nearest competitor. This then becomes a cycle of knowledge which helps you grow and develop.