30 March 2010

Since getting back to Manchester I am appreciating the business in a different way. Partly deliberately and partly by default. I heard an entrepreneur speak on Thursday at Bolton Lads and Girls Club, Bill Holroyd said, success may only be the difference of 5%.

Although I have not made massive changes, I find myself with a massive lifestyle change.

I was given advice by one of the greatest entrepreneurs of our lifetime. And in my opinion there is a BIG difference between an entrepreneur and someone who has a successful business. It is possible for anyone to make a success of a business venture. It is highly unlikely that that person will go on to have a string of successes. Someone with this skill, is an entrepreneur.

The advice I was given was to step back a little. Take a couple of days off a week to work elsewhere.

It is far too easy to get too stuck in to the operational issues that confront you every day of your life running a business. Especially as entrepreneurs have an “obsessive” gene. When I get stuck in, I like to get completely immersed. However, if I am honest, I have staff who are significantly more skilled than me in every area of the business.

This week we have had the most successful week of UKFast’s history but not just revenue, which these days appears to drive most businesses. The energy in the business, and the levels of passion and excitement simply went off the scale. Yet I cant have spent more than 8 hours in the business this week. On a normal working day (before my hols) I’d have done 8 hours by lunchtime. That’s not to say I have not been contributing. If anything I have achieved a great deal more. By stepping back, I have done all my paperwork, report reading and emails.

In fact, I have never been so busy. This week I have met more likeminded entrepreneurs than I have done all year. My diary is stacked full. I am not usually a fan of networking, and with my “say yes to everything” approach which I adopted recently I find I am not just cramming more in, I am enjoying events that previously I’d have shied away from. As a result of my minor change in attitude, I find myself joining a body of people who make up North West’s greatest entrepreneurs, and also joining the board of one of Manchester’s finest orchestras.

It is worth offering a word of caution. I am blessed with a great team of people working at UKFast and our other emerging businesses. I was given the advice by someone who understood me, and our business model. If you have major weaknesses in your business, or if your business relies on you to drive it forward, every minute of the day, it is not advisable stepping back too much too soon. Perhaps try it one department at a time.

If you are wanting to grow to the next level, ask people for help. You will be amazed at just how forthcoming great business people are. I only wish I’d asked sooner!

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