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Don't Stop at Plan A

Nimish Bhatt

Don't Stop at Plan A

Life doesn’t always go according to plan, something 2020 has taught everyone. That’s why you need a plan.

Today, Craig Dyer is the successful founder of Plan C Group, a collection of companies including an independent record label (Plan C Records), an event management and promotion company (Plan C Promotions) and a social enterprise (Plan Change).

But how did he get here and what happened to Plan A and B?

Growing up in a single-parent household in Brixton, Craig had a normal childhood with a loving mother supporting him. From an early age, Craig saw his mother work hard- hustle- to provide a better life for Craig, through balancing multiple jobs and studying full-time. That, however, is the hard route and there are easier options to make money quickly.

A life of crime and drugs is lucrative business and, on a good day, Craig could bring home £1800 running what resembled a legitimate business. Indeed, youth, the rush of quick money and access to endless luxuries are irresistible. They make you feel ‘untouchable’, as Craig put it. However, the long arm of the law is always lurking and soon enough Craig was arrested by the police for possession of a firearm. Plan A had failed.

In prison, with a lot of time to reflect, Craig would often think about his mother and her reaction to his arrest. She was devasted, heartbroken and frustrated, but still eager to help her son. She found Craig an excellent solicitor, who then reached out to a Barrister. What all three people here have in common is their desire to help Craig. This was a pivotal moment because it reignited hope, it affirmed that he had potential and qualities worth fighting for.

This realisation helped Craig during his time in Glen Parva Prison. He realised that the skills he developed were not unlike those needed to run a corporation. The next step would be to apply this knowledge to build a new empire.

Plan C is meant to help build this empire- a legacy rather. Taking inspiration from John D Rockefeller, Jamsetji Tata and Mayer Amschel Rothschild, Craig was determined to turn his life around and earn an honest living. Upon release from prison, several factors catalysed Craig’s transition to the right path: the birth of his daughter and the decision of his close friend, Ash, to quit the business. The realisation that family is everything changed Craig's outlook and helped put things into perspective. Plan C was beginning to take off.

Craig got a night job at Tesco and, although he was earning less, made an honest living. He set goals: get a diploma in Business Retailing, be promoted to Manager at Tesco, get a promotion and buy a council flat. After successfully completing this first five-year plan, Craig’s next ambition was to create a business and work for himself. Music played a huge role in his entrepreneurial drive and this is where he found inspiration for his next hustle. While he was committed to plans, he saw that others in the creative industry lacked direction. This was his first revenue stream: create a structure and a plan for artists to allow them to focus on creating content- enter Plan C Records. Plan C Promotions and Plan Change soon followed.

Craig realised that the reason he had these opportunities was because of the support of his friends and family. In fact, it would have been easy to re-offend and go back to prison without this. On his journey to prosperity, and expanding Plan C Group, Craig joined Project ReMake, an initiative by Resume Foundation, which helped connect him to a lot of people including executives from Warner Music, M & C Saatchi and Andrew Leslau. Numerous doors were now open for Craig.

By not stopping at Plan A and persevering, Craig has turned his life around. Today, he is determined to help those in prison achieve the same. He wanted to be the support system that gives others hope

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