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:
- Your salary is the payment to sacrifice your dreams. Get out of an industry in structural decline.
- 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.
- 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.
- As a leader, making decisions is more important than having charm.
- Hire people who have front-line experience, rather than slick internal-facing corporate types. Beware of becoming beholden to stars in your staff.
- Know the personal life of your employees, especially mid-life crises.
- 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.
- Starting a business will take time away from your family
- Politics flourish when there is less work to do .
- Never personally guarantee your company’d debt.
- Know your competitors. Customer service is everything.
- Perceived failures are not actual failures they are set-backs and are inevitable