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Wednesday, 29 September 2010

5 Lessons I didn't learn until I ran my own business

When I worked in other people's finance departments I thought I knew everything about business. When I set up my own consultancy business nearly 10 years  ago, there was no stopping me. Some lessons can only be learned the hard way. I thought it might be worth picking out the areas where my thinking has changed dramatically in the last 10 years.

All of the lessons below have been learned since I set out into the wild world of business as that fresh-faced, and incredibly naive, 30 year-old. Education can be very expensive!

I will elaborate on some of them in future posts but for now I just want to put them out there and see what others think - particularly those still working in finance departments.

Lessons I didn't learn until I ran my own business:

  1. The salesmen and women were right. Sales must come first.
  2. Flexibility is far more valuable than you think.
  3. It's not about how you look - it's about what you do.
  4. Cash flow and profitability must come before any other ambition you have for the business.
  5. Never mistake an overhead for a sign of success.
Please comment below whether you agree or disagree. It would also be interesting to know which perspective you are coming from - i.e. whether you are running your own business or not.



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Wednesday, 1 September 2010

Where and when are you at your most creative?

As "number-crunchers", it is easy to fall into the trap of thinking that what we do is not creative. However, to do our jobs well, we need to regularly come up with new approaches to doing things and creative solutions to business or financial challenges - whether that be a creative spreadsheet solution or an innovative structure for an acquisition.

I often find that my best moments of creative inspiration happen when I am out of the work environment altogether. I have had many a flash of genius while lying in the bath!

Recently I have taken to an early morning walk before work that takes in a quiet hillside not far from my house (I took this photo just the other morning). I find that the combination of the quiet (apart from the birds singing), the beautiful views and the exercise really help me to put whatever challenges I might have into perspective and allow me to come at them from a different angle.

I'd love to hear where and when you feel at your most creative.


If you enjoyed this post, go to the top left corner of the blog, where you can subscribe for regular updates and your free report.