In the song “Heroes and Villains” from Brian Wilson’s “Smile”, there is that memorable line “In the Cantina Margarita keeps the spirits high”. It conjurors a picture of men and women in a bar having a fun time possibly after hearing bad news or witnessing some awful event. But it reminds me of the importance of morale, especially when times are bad. Continue reading “When times are tough, keep the spirits high”
In the early 1980s an advertising salesman suggested I read a book. It changed the way I looked at life. It led to a personal breakthrough because it ignited a burning desire. Things went well after that.
It’s funny how life goes because some time after that I lost my way. Life became hard. I began to hate what I was doing. How I was living. At times in our lives we follow a wrong path and get stuck. It’s hard to come back. Continue reading “It grew from the seed of an idea… into something bigger”
If you’ve been through one of these change management exercises, you will know that a lot of focus is put on finding your “purpose” or your “why”. Your purpose, beliefs and key drivers provide the fuel that motivates you to change and excel. But I haven’t experienced any of these sessions that pause for a while and give you opportunity to work on finding your personal “why”. Continue reading “It’s important to find your “Why” but how?”
An art student asked a master teacher how she could find more time to work on her art because she works full-time and supports a family. When she does have time, she doesn’t have any energy left. Should she just put aside her love of art and wait until the kids are older when things are not so time intensive.
The master artist said to her that the mistake is to look for more time rather than look for motive. It would be better for her to look for compelling reasons to develop her art. But this implied that she needed to be honest with herself and determine what she really wanted from art. It was time to throw off the “genteel answers”. Did she want to sell her artwork in a gallery? Did she want recognition from friends and family? Was her motive to be independent and not tied to full-time employment? Was it to count for something? Continue reading “How do you find more time to work on your new business idea?”
A study some time back looked at the characteristics of an entrepreneur. What the researchers found was that entrepreneurs tend to be highly creative, daring decision-makers, visionary, usually the first-hand born child, imaginative and have a high need for achievement.
Yet the study also show the shadow or dark side of the entrepreneurial character including that they may be stubborn and resist change, typically not be the best manager, and although imaginative may be rigid. The researchers also noted that the entrepreneur may have had massive psychic upheavals as a child. Continue reading “How would you describe your character type as an entrepreneur?”
If you think you’ll get your best ideas from standing in the shower think again. You might be lucky to receive a sudden flash of inspiration in the shower but most of these ideas are unlikely to be strong enough to launch a viable business.
The reason is simply that such “pure thought” will probably not be bounded in the reality of the marketplace. Sure, if you suddenly combined two concepts or objects that you had found in the marketplace, then your idea may hold promise. There are always exceptions to any general rule. Continue reading “Where do good ideas come from?”
In this economy with high labour costs, low productivity and increased competition it’s worthwhile to look at your productivity in your start-up or small business.
The place to start is with yourself. As the title track to a Uriah Keep rock song went “Take a look at yourself”. As the driver and main performer in your small business you need to make sure that you are as productive as you could be. All it might mean is getting a full night’s rest, eating food that keeps you focused and alert and working in an environment where your temperature is controlled to the correct level. You may also want to watch noise. Some people like to crank up the music but others like a quiet environment where they are at their best. Continue reading “How do you make your small business more productive?”
The other day I saw this article that add the following headline “Starting a business doesn’t make you an entrepreneur: study”. The piece made this claim as a summary to a study by two Swedish academics from an industrial economics research institute but quite frankly got the whole thing wrong.
What these two Swedish academics were really saying was that when the rate of self-employment in the country is high, the rate of billionaire entrepreneurs is lower. When they compared for correlation between the presence of billionaire entrepreneurs and the rate of self-employment in a country, they came to a surprising conclusion: countries with many successful entrepreneurs had lower rates of self-employment.
Continue reading “Does starting a business make you an entrepreneur?”
When I was growing up in the seaside village of Kalk Bay, Cape Town, my father hired a spare outside room from the mother of a famous cricketer at the time.
The empty room was quickly filled with equipment that my brothers and I used for our watersports: surfboards, wetsuits, diving gear and fishing rods. I spent many hours in that room fixing surfboard dents or dings.
I didn’t know it then but this woman was being entrepreneurial by making some money on the side in her retirement years. Continue reading “What happened to entrepreneurial spirit? Finding the entrepreneur in you”