Monday, 22 June 2020


As things get back to that normal people talk, and have been dreaming about they’ll be shocked to find their business is going or has gone bust or if they’re in employment that they’ve been made redundant. It’s nice to have a pint again, even if it’s in the street in the drizzle. But with as many as 4 million unemployed, 30% of small businesses failing, over 90% of which were trading at or above forecast pre-coronavirus, drastic measures need to be taken.

Think about starting your own business. If you lose your job or your business what will you do instead?

1. Think small - It’s no time to be grandiose. Think hard. Stick to what you are good at. Design something that you can do well and quickly.

2. Focus on people you know and build a relationship grid - Never cold call. Waste of time. Short cut to despair. List everyone you know whom you rate and like and you think rates and likes you. Use LinkedIn to find who they know; build a big map of potential supporters.

3.Relearn the forgotten art of conversation and debate - Too much PowerPoint. Not enough thoughtful talking.

4.Avoid the chit-chat of social media - The bane of business. Avoid it. All the smart people I know are talking 1X1 not on time-wasting-messaging.

5. Avoid politics or dissent; it has no place in business - You may hate Trump, Boris or wokeness.  Leave them out of your mind …focus on your service  or product and its immediate context.

6.Write clearly, simply and with joy (or get someone to help you) - Hilary Mantel and Philip Pullman prove the power of the word. Write a lot. Find your own clear, simple persuasive voice.

7. Avoid exceptionalism - Do not try to design from scratch when modification may work as well. The Test and Trace App fiasco should be a warning to all.

8. Have something to sell people want and is worth talking about. - Do not waste time by being abstruse. Better to be very good at something than trying to be unique. Be thrilled talking about what you do.

9. Be generous to others -  Don’t deride competition. Be nice.  It’s easy to be a killer or to want to be a Master of the Universe but be nice if you can. Good humour and good manners work well. Customer service is key.

10. Look for opportunities - Get your curiosity working all day, every day and look for better ways of creating something. Be an optimist.

There are no easy answers in life but with the right frame of mind you can overcome depression, recession and apparent disaster. And if at first you don’t succeed be smart enough to pivot and start again. The great thing about self-starting is you are free of office politics and are your own boss. Better by far to be a happy greengrocer than a miserable salaried person.

This book may help.

1 comment:

John Eustace said...

Shameless self publicity Richard but all you write is true so you're forgiven
All good thoughts