If you want a business to fail, here are some top tips. If you don’t want to fail, avoid these errors:
1. Don’t bother understanding what your business is truly about. There is a legendary story about the MD of Rolex denying all knowledge of the state of the watch business, declaring “Rolex is in the luxury business”
2. Believe your own propaganda. Being in the right place, at the right time, with the right business model, might be a sign of true entrepreneurial genius. But is that as likely as you got [even deservedly] lucky? Even when you have notched up 20 hits and no misses, in different sectors and methodologies, Murphy’s Law can still get you.
3. There is a wise sailing rule: spend a lead to save a lead. Of course, in business,you do not need to reinvest in the business, you can just keep on keeping on, taking the dividends. Not.
4. Believe selling is somehow unsporting, unBritish or somehow beneath you.
5. Believe you cannot sell. Surely someone loves you unconditionally – see, you sold them…
6. Be optimistic as to time frames, of course it will come in on time and budget, whilst exceeding specification.
7. Don’t worry about managing cash, finances or understanding how cash flows through your business model. As an example, overtrading is where you go bust through profitable growth, but you spend cash faster funding stock and suppliers than you get the cash in from customers. Faster you grow, quicker you go bust
8. Everyone else is just as honest/ethical as you. I never case to be amazed how mischief can come from the most unlikely characters
9. Recruit only Yes-men, muppets who lack the bravery or intelligence to disagree with you
10. Assume your customers only want what you want to sell them. This was the first lesson I learnt in business, from a Noddy and Big Ears story. Noddy did not like Jelly Beans so would not sell them in his sweet shop until the consultant hero Big Ears pointed out his error.
11. Manage the urgent not the important
12. Marketing is 100% bullsh1t [this comes easy for a bean-counter to say!] OK, 80% maybe :)
13. Never think about business risk Business may be about reward in exchange for risk, but the latter is negative thinking so should not be indulged.Besides which, life is so much more fun when nasty surprises keep biting your arse
14. Never bother getting (or better yet, ignore) professional advice on things you know nothing about
15. Ignore succession, you are going to live, fighting fit, forever. And anyway, someone coming after you and making a greater success of it would be disrespectful to your memory
and finally for now…
16. Ignore change. Everything is always the the same. Who needs to adapt and evolve?