Duncan Bannatyne is a Scottish serial entrepreneur and a Dragons’ Den protagonist, who has built a household empire on the back of health clubs, hotels, spas, bars and property businesses. He is also author of seven business books.
I’d label this book as a pocket business checklist, and I’d definitely return to these 37 Questions Everyone in Business Needs to Answer the moment I start my own; for now, though, the following quotes remain of reference to me as pieces of advice not only for a career well crafted, but also for a life well lived.
1. A well-stocked phone book is as valuable to a business as a well-stocked warehouse. Contacts are a business’s most precious assets – identify, store, protect and maximise the contacts.
People. It’s all about the connections we make and the people we meet and build a relationship with. Networking is probably a fancy word for get out there, meet people, be nice with them, and show a genuine interest in their story. It’s highly likely to share interests, goals, and objectives with most of the people we’re too busy or not too bothered to say hello to, or ask for a coffee. Nonetheless, business deals are often seeded in a Starbucks across the street.
2. Some things in life aren’t fair. Some people are born to rich parents. Some people are dyslexic and find school difficult. Some people are better-looking than others. Some are born with a faulty gene. Some people are in the right place at the right time. However, there is one resource that is distributed fairly among the entire population of the planet – no matter whether you are rich or poor, young or old, the CEO of the gofer – and that is time.
This isn’t only true from a professional perspective, but in life as we know it, too. We are responsible for making the most of every second we have; and it’s probably even more important to remember this whenever we feel bad about not spending enough time with our families, neglecting our children because of our constant digital preoccupation (smartphones and gadgets whose slaves we are for the most part of our days), not taking the holidays we’ve dreamt of, not reading the books we’ve been longing to read, not having that overdue conversation, coffee, or beer with an old friend or a new acquaintance, not starting building the business we think about, or changing the job we’re not extremely happy with. Time is at the core of businesses and our existence, and still, we act as its presence does not also imply that our life is in a metaphoric fight against the clock.
3. Once you’ve identified your fears, it’s possible to do something about them. If your fears are preventing you from achieving your long-term goals, then the discomfort in the short term is easily outweighed by the benefits over time if you conquer them.
This is such a positive piece of advice for literally any one of us, going further to suggest we can do anything we put our minds to, given we have the courage to overcome the obstacles, and the perseverance to stick to the goal. Be it fear of public speaking (which I am very guilty of) that limits the horizon of becoming a leader, a presenter or a cinema star 😁, fear of changing residency, which hinders the potential of fully developing as a human being, a professional or a leader, or fear of simply letting go or starting over. Nothing good comes out of fear (note to myself to soon visit a phycologist and fix some of mine 🙂 ), but only good comes from getting out of one’s comfort zone and starting exploring the world with different eyes.