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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 business.


"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 strategies.


"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."