zaterdag 14 januari 2012


There is only one enemy: Time. Health, wealth, even love and affection can be reclaimed if all goes for the best; time never can. Time wasted can never be racaptured.

Time spent recharging your batteries and maintaining your physical and mental health is not wasted. It is a necessity. Time frittered away attending to tasks easily achieved buT relatively  inessential to your ultimate goal is wasted - a criminal waste of a precious resource.

Prioritising is the key - a key never discovered by surprising number of otherwise resolute entrepreneurs. If you will not prioritise  your tasks for the day, the week, the month(even for the year) and execute them on the basis of their relative importance, you remain at the mercy of your idle subconscious and happenstance.

The making of lists of things to do can be helpful, but not if ticking off items on lists in a random manner becomes a habit. It scarcely needs saying that the most difficult or odious tasks are those that require tackling first.

Ruthless prioritising in the getting of money is the sign of a disciplined, determined mind; one far more likely to succeed. The happy-go-lucky may call it an obsession. So what? I doubt you will meet many happy-go-lucky souls on the road to succes.

Prioritise everything in your working day!

woensdag 14 december 2011

Team Spirit is for Losers

Team spirit is for losers, financially speaking. It is the glue that binds losers together - a strategy used by employees to shackle useful employees to their desks.

While lives may depend on team spirit and teamwork in professions like soldiering or firefighting, in commerce it acts as a subtle handicap and brake to ambitious individuals. Which, in a way, is what it's designed to do, as you will undoubtedly discover when your own managers trumpet the mantra of team spirit to those who will work for you in the not too distant future.

The truth is uglier. As the owner, you are in a team of one.

Anyone arguing that is an old-fashioned, dinosaur-like approach to business is either an academic or a teacher, probably at a fancy business school. They will be full of hot air and exciting theories concerning 'cooperative alliances', 'partnering' and 'new ways' of doing business.

Note that they will never have risked everything they own on the road to richness. In truth, they are sometimes ashamed to teach red-in-tooth-and-claw-entrepreneurial-capitalism to students or are projecting a kind of wish-fulfillment. Such professors may know a great deal about business theory and management techniques.

But they know nothing whatever about the getting of money.

maandag 5 december 2011

Negotiating like a Pro

In 1625, Britain's answer to Machiavelli published a book, and edition of which has sat beside my bed for the last 2 years-his Essays. Here is what he has to say about negotiating:

'If you would work [negotiate with] any man, you must either know his nature and fashions, and so lead him; or his ends, and so persuade him; or his weakness and disadvantages, and so awe him; or those that have interest in him, and so govern him. In dealing with cunning persons, we must ever consider their ends, to interpret their speeches; and it is good to say little to them, and that which they least look for. In all negotiations of difficulty, a man may not look to sow and reap at once; but must prepare business, and so ripen it by degrees.'

Let us be thankfull we shall never have to negotiate with Sir Francis Bacon!

Serious negotiations do not include management bargaining with personnel. Each requires different skills and many good managers should be excluded from serious negotiations. They have to much empathy. Important points to remember in serious negotiations include:

  • Most of us are poor negotiators (including those sitting across the table).
  • Most negotiations are unnecessary.
  • Detailed preparation is of inestimable value.
  • Whoever depends the least upon the outcome will usually prevail.
  • Tenacity nearly always trumps eloquence.
  • If in doubt, walk out.
As the owner of a growing start-up, do not permit professional advisors or potential purchasers lure you into interminable discussions and 'negotiations'. They are often little more than fishing expeditions. Lastly, on serious negotiations in general, it is worth engraving Marguerite de Valois's variation on an old Italian proverb into your sould:

'It is the same in love as in war; the fortress that parleys is already half taken.'

donderdag 4 augustus 2011

Choosing The Right Industry

The world is full of money. Some of that money has your name on it. All you have to do is di it out of the mine - but which mine?

Certain industries are more glamorous than others. Some require huge investment, some can be conquered out of a garage. Some are growing, others are in decline. Should you choose only to operate in a glamorous, growing industry? Where is the most opportunity to be found? How do you choose the right mountain.

Forget glamour if the getting of money is your priority. Few of those who wish to start their own movie company own the coolest PR outfit in the world or steal Steve Jobs's gadget thunder will ever succees. The reason is obvious. The laws of supply and demand apply  not only to commodities but to the choices people make. Too many people wish to make blockbuster movies and live in Beverly Hills. Not enough people wish to start a landfill company and dig holes.

Gold rushes rarely happen in old mines. New or rapidly developing sectors often provide more opportunities to get succesfull. The reason for this include: (1) availability of risk capital; (2) investor ignorance  and greed; (3) the power of a rising tide.

Investors gravitate to emerging industries in the hope of making a killing. The power of a rising tide masks manu start-up diffuculties putting newer companis on a more even footing with larger, more established  operators, at least for a while. A rising tide floats al boats.

zondag 31 juli 2011

The Magic Of Boldness

The most succesful generals and admirals in history shared one characteristic: they were willing to disregard orders and risk disgrace in order to exploit  rapidly changing circumstances. When the chance came, they recognised an opportunity, weighed the odds swiftly and placed their lives and careers on the line to snacht a victory.

In short, they were bold, often turning a blind eye to previously agreed strategy while ignoring direct instructions from their superiors. As an entrepreneur you are unlikely to have to follow the orders of others, but the fetters of conventional wisdom can prove equally inhibiting.

Fortune favours not just the brave but the bold. Boldness has a kind of genius in it. It relies on the unexpected and can lead to catastrophic defeat because it ignores conventional wisdom, which often proves to be wisdom of a kind. But should boldness succeed, the resulting succes appears all the more devastating in the eyes of startled observers and rivals.

Opportunities to get succesful keep popping up. The more alert one is, the more chance one has of identifying an opportunity; the more preparation one has done, the more artillery one can bring to bear; the more self-belief one can muster, the more certain will be the aim; but the boulder the stroke , the better chance one has of confounding the odds.

All entrepreneurs have a short- or medium-term gameplan, it's the only sensible way to proceed in getting succesful. But should the chance offer itself, that game plan must be hurled aside and the watchword on the road to succes changed to: 'Carpe diem!'

zondag 24 juli 2011


Persistence is important, vital even, and requires a concerted effort of will and stamina to maintain. But it is not an end in it self. Nor is stubbornness persistence. Stubbornness implies you intend to persist despite plentiful evidence that you are reinforcing failure. A stubborn person fears to be shown that or she is wrong. A persistent person is convinced that he or she has been right allong; that the proof lies just around the corner.

'Never give in' is a useful catch phrase, but do not take too literally. We must all surrender at some time - to love, or desire, or death. You will be forced into the last, and a fool if you never surrender to the first. But never give in easily. If you can attempt one step further along the road to succes than appears sensible before calling a halt to regroup and chart a new course.

Above all, avoid banging your head against the same piece of wall. The wall will not get any softer. Persistence is only a virtue in getting succesful when applied with intelligence, and with the humility to accept that your may be flawed.

woensdag 20 juli 2011

Believe In Yourself!

Coupled with tenacity, self-belief lies at the core of getting succesful in life. Without self-belief, nothing can be accomplished. With it, nothing is impossible.

Persistence offers  you a second or third bite at the cherry. Tenacity ensures that you will continue to search for alternative ways to succeed. Self-belief encourages you to stare down failure and naysayers while tenacity works its magic.

It has been wel said that 'no one can make you feel inferior without your consent'. Self-belief reinforces this axiom and is priceless asset. We may profess to detest arrogance, yet isn't it true that we secretly admire it a little, too? Even though arrogance is a poor  thing compared to rooted self-belief - an imitation of the real thing.

Which is not to say that self-belief should be permitted to trample on doubt as arrogance is wont to do. Doubt is like pain: both are antennae - one attuned to fallibility, the other to malfunction. Far better to embrace our doubts; without them, there is only naked ego, the kind of certainty that leads to untrammelled arrogance, to cruelty, or worse.

If you will be guided by self-belief tempered by a generous dollop of doubt, whether or not you succeed on the road to succes, you will perhaps dislodge a pebble to ricochet down the very small mountain of your life. This, in turn, may wel create an avalanche that others will stand in awe of.

While I doubt I shall be among those clapping, you will certainty receive sufficient applause to repay your efforts. In time, you may even grow to enjoy the process.