What Have You Forgotten?

Let me ask you a few questions about your day:

  • How many meetings and telephone calls did you have?
  • How many items on your todo list did you complete?
  • How many times were you interrupted?
  • How many times did you take a break?
  • How long did take for lunch?
  • How much thinking and planning did you get done?

So did you have a good day?

I suspect not.

Now let me ask you another question – what’s the one resource we cannot buy?

Think about that for a moment. We can buy people – we hire them. We can buy machinery, raw materials, stationery etc. In fact we can buy everything we need to do anything. Or can we?

What’s the one thing nobody can buy but everybody uses?


So don’t waste it.

The Persona of Business People

For a long time now, whenever I’ve been talking to a potential client about their desire to growth their business, I’ve been struck by how they almost always fit into two distinct groups.

The first group are those that are in a hurry. They don’t want to learn, they just want to be told what to do. And they want results by yesterday. This group is ripe to be “harvested” by consultants.

My concern for this group is that any growth achieved is unlikely to be sustainable. Why? Because the business owners didn’t want to learn, they just wanted answers. So when market conditions change, they have no knowledge to fall back on so must engage consultants again to tell them what to do. I know many business people who complain about consultants and what they get from them for their money – I’m sure you do too. I think that’s unfair on consultants in general because they cannot be blamed if clients don’t learn from their past.

So what do I call the persona for this group?

“Dan Dash”.

The other group want to learn to be better at business. They accept that to increase the value in their business they need to make fundamental changes that will reap rewards long after the event – often years. They understand the difference between being told what to do and using someone like me to ask questions that allow them to figure out the best answer for their needs. They are very clear and focused about what they want for their business, their staff and themselves. In my experience they become ambassadors, regularly introducing potential future clients and/or readily agreeing to be a reference. They often become good friends.

Meet “Clara Clarity”.

I know which persona I want to work with. How about you?

Poetry in Business – Fear

When I was having a clear out of old paperwork recently in anticipation of the incoming GDPR legislation, I came across a long forgotten poem I had written in 2005. Upon re-reading it, I remembered with extraordinary clarity why I’d written it. Like all entrepreneurs, I have had many dark days when I wondered a) why I was doing whatever it was that I was doing and b) how I was going to look after my staff, family and friends. Continue reading

Must “Rich” be Defined in Monetary Terms?

This article is not about business but about values and beliefs – and my personal ones at that. Having said that, I frequently recommend what I am about to share with you to mentoring clients.

I came across this wonderful poem about 35 years ago and it has haunted me ever since.

I’ve been incredibly lucky Continue reading

The Legacy of John Harvey-Jones

A great business leader, Sir John Harvey-Jones, died last month. For those who are not aware, he was a leading light in the UK business community since the early 1980’s when he rose to public prominence as the chairman of ICI, which he guided to be one of the most successful companies in the UK if not the world.

But to most people in the UK he is best remembered as the star of the “Troubleshooter” television series where he Continue reading

What Makes an Effective Chairman of the Board?

I was chatting recently with Dermot Hill of Intramezzo who posed this question. Given my experience as a Chairman and my love of this role, it set me thinking. Note that I’m going to use the word “Chairman” in a non-gender specific context in this article.

Companies appoint a Chairman for a variety of reasons. If they are about to float, or are seeking external investment, they may pick someone who is acceptable to the “money men” and who has contacts in that arena rather than going for someone who can add real value to the companies proposition. But I suspect Continue reading

The Pygmies are Taking Over the World

As an entrepreneur, I have created many businesses. And these businesses need certain advisers like lawyers and accountants. Like many of you, these “species”, and I use the word advisedly, are not my most favourite people as they cost me lots of money and don’t appear to deliver much value.

Recently I was with one of these advisers and the conversation was not pleasant. In fact it made my blood boil. In a nutshell, I was asked, point blank, why I wasn’t making more money currently. Notwithstanding the incredible rudeness of the question, I was appalled that this came from an adviser that Continue reading