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Show up and do your best

“History is written by the winners.” It’s a quote you’ll find in various forms from Napoleon, Churchill, Nehru, and even the writer Dan Brown. Do you agree with the idea?
Another version is, “History is written by the people who actually show up.” Well for sure that’s true. Think of those thrilling scenes within living memory when the fall of the Berlin wall was witnessed via live global TV, as it was pulled down piece by piece at the hands of the ‘ordinary’ people who showed up. If they hadn’t shown up, the wall would not have fallen. OK, something similar might have happened, but the events that history records are unique exactly because those brave citizens were there.

First or second?

This also applies to business, and history is full of examples of people and companies who either ‘got there first’, or who instead became the ‘also-rans’. Few people now celebrate the creation of the...

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Doing the webinar gruntwork

Hashtags, spamming, woots – the internet has given us many new terms. In fact, even ‘internet’ is a relatively new word. One that I particularly like is ‘Webinar’, because it’s exactly what it says: A seminar, using the world wide web to deliver it. What’s more, I like the concept of the webinar, because it’s a new and refreshing way of communicating, and it really works.

For a start, all the traditional problems of traveling to a seminar are overcome, and that’s not just good for the meeting attendees, but for the world’s resources. Doing webinars is definitely an eco-friendly alternative to traditional international meetings. The second huge advantage is that through a webinar you can reach your ideal, niche audience.

Think niche, be niche

There’s never any point or benefit from trying to talk to ‘everyone’, and the more niche you get, the better. That means you can then meet at the highest level with...

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What’s the point of coaching?

What’s the point of coaching? As a business coach myself, specializing in helping startups, I find it important to re-ask that question on a regular basis. If I am sure of the answer, then I can be certain to deliver what’s needed by my clients.

Building on existing skills

Is coaching just another name for teaching? Well, yes and no. Teaching is where people learn new ideas and skills, that they haven’t come across before. For example, in school you elect to take a class in French, a subject that you may have no natural affinity for - unless you’re French! The teacher will start from the absolute basics, and then slowly build up your understanding, block by patient block. A great teacher will of course help develop individual’s talents, but the teacher of French will stick to the rules, and you’ll learn the language as it is spoken. There’s not a lot of room for ‘doing it your own way.’

Coaching, on the other hand, builds on...

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Getting the right advice

When should we ask others for advice? – When we don’t know the right answer, or the right direction to go in, that’s when. But we don’t just ask anyone for their advice, we need someone who has experience and who ‘knows the territory’. When we ask for directions in a new city we’re visiting, obviously there’s little point in asking another tourist. We need to check in with a local person, who really knows their town. Then they’ll point us in the right direction, and we’ll be secure in knowing that we’re heading the right way.


Contender or champion?

There’s a reason why elite athletes also need help in being pointed in the right direction, even though they are already in the absolute top few percent of performers in their chosen field. They know that without the objective checking that comes from having a top coach viewing them ‘from outside’, they may only ever be a contender, rather than a...

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Serious About Success, Part 2

What is success?

In Part One, I looked at some of the factors I have observed as being vital to success. I’ll continue with these shortly, but first it’s worth examining what actually constitutes ‘success’. If you aren’t able to picture what success means to you, then how can you ever shoot for it? If you want to be ‘bigger than Amazon’, or ‘the world’s best-selling author’, it’s just possible these are unrealistically high goals to set. But success is scalable and once you get this message embedded in your mind, the steps to reach success are definitely achievable. Success is not what other people measure in you, it’s what you assess in meeting your own goals. If you happen to have bought yourself a Lamborghini with your earnings, then this might signal ‘success’ to everyone else, but if your plan was to have a garage full of Lambos, then you may be feeling disappointed!

There is no ‘gold...

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Serious About Success, Part 1

Art or science?

In this first of a two-part article, I want to begin by asking ‘Is success an art, or a science? Can it be both an art and a science?’ I ask these questions because I am very serious about success, and spend a lot of time considering what the ingredients of success are, and how I can pass on this knowledge to startups and young entrepreneurs.
To claim that success comes purely from the scientific application of principles is too simplistic, and anyway if there was a one-size-fits-all recipe available, then everyone would be successful. On the other hand, if being successful is more about having the mystical qualities of a ninja, does that mean retreating to a Tibetan monastery for seven years to learn all the secrets?

Well, in fact it’s a combination of these extremes, but what I’m certain of is that the path to success can indeed be learned, and over the years I have refined the points that I think all successful entrepreneurs embody, and...

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The magic money tree

You’re dreaming of the success of your startup business. I mean actually dreaming. In your dream a smiling investor hands you a silver suitcase, and when you open it, it’s stuffed with dollar bills. You realize that everything you’ve hoped for your enterprise can now come true. You’re fully capitalized, you’re ready to rock.
And then you wake up.

The suitcase full of money was just a dream, and you start another day facing the prospect of keeping the team going, struggling to get your product perfected, and wondering how and when the huge promise of your business will be recognized and rewarded.
Is that a scenario you know? For very many startup entrepreneurs, it will be familiar territory. You’ve had the great idea, gathered a capable team, and already travelled a long way together. But now you need to take the next giant step, where the idea becomes real. To do that you need money – a lot more money than you can hope to scrape together...

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Standing out from the (small) crowd

You totally want to be different, even if you’re just one lightbulb in a row of other lightbulbs. Your business needs to stand out from the crowd, to be the one with the different angle. You want recognition for your product or service: You want it all, and you want it now. You’d like to be the brightest lamp in the row and have everyone recognize that your company is special. Ideally ‘everyone’ means the whole wide world, but you’re kinda realistic, and you’ll settle for – oh, say half of the 8 billion people on the planet.
These are not realistic goals. Sorry.

Unrealistic goals

Standing out from the enormous, worldwide crowd is a virtual impossibility, and if you think about it for just a few moments you’ll see that this goal is unrealistic. The key to understanding this fact of life comes in always being aware of who your audience is: Are they teenagers, middle-aged, male or female, living in Africa or Europe, tech-savvy,...

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Taking off into the blue

Up there above the clouds, there’s blue sky awaiting our new business venture, and we’re keen to reach the point where we will take off and the enterprise becomes airborne. It’s what we’ve worked on for months, and years, dreaming of the high altitude cruise to success!

The idea of viewing a startup business as an airplane readying for flight provides a good metaphor. You have to know where you’re heading, and have enough fuel to get there, with the right crew onboard, and so on. You also know that the airways are crowded with other flights heading in similar directions, at similar price points, so although you have great hopes for the journey. There’s also some realism about how successful you’ll be.

Success is not optional

But wait a second! If we think a little more about this metaphor, it’s clear that aviation doesn’t dream or hope about being successful. Success is an absolute prerequisite. Success in airline terms means...

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Seasonal About Success

It’s the time of year when we can look back on everything that has happened, and think about lessons learned. We can observe global trends in business and politics, and see how issues such as climate change are now becoming more pressing than ever. It’s been a strange year in many ways, but perhaps people have always made that observation, whatever century they were living in!

I am very serious about helping startup businesses succeed, and this year has seen further developments that I’m proud to have been part of, and I’m happy to have been involved with several outstanding new projects. These include a startup in Florida, created by a young and enthusiastic guy who has gathered a great team around him, and – I believe – is going to make a significant market entry in the coming year. Watch out for Briefcard.

Then there’s a US-based blockchain-enabled investment club called Bitdollar that I have been advising, which brings unique new...

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