Running Your Own Business Is Easier Than You Think

Start it Up

That’s the sub-title of Luke Johnson’s breezy book “Start It Up“. He’s the man behind Pizza Express, Strada, Giraffe and Patisserie Valerie. He was also Chairman of Channel Four and a one-time columnist for the FT.

For all us salaried corporate types, it’s always nice to imagine a life free from the shackles of office politics and feelings of insignificance. Here are his main points on how to achieve it:

  1. Your salary is the payment to sacrifice your dreams. Get out of an industry in structural decline.
  2. You often need less capital to start  business than you think. You don’t need a radical new idea, rather it’s the execution that matters. Imitate and continuously improve.
  3. Partnerships are less isolating. A 50:50 split is the easiest way to divide the spoils. Be careful of disputes, especially later fights over people taking credit for success. Get a mentor.
  4. As a leader, making decisions is more important than having charm.
  5. Hire people who have front-line experience, rather than slick internal-facing corporate types. Beware of becoming beholden to stars in your staff.
  6. Know the personal life of your employees, especially mid-life crises.
  7. HR, legal, IT etc are expenses and lead to bureaucracy. Keep these costs low and outsource. Don’t rent expensive offices. Use PR, rather ads.
  8. Starting a business will take time away from your family
  9. Politics flourish when there is less work to do .
  10. Never personally guarantee your company’d debt.
  11. Know your competitors. Customer service is everything.
  12. Perceived failures are not actual failures they are set-backs and are inevitable

Good luck!


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