Part two of the A to Z of Business - more of "what they forgot to mention in business school!"

17 Jul 2016 4:30 PMMike Bennett
Part two of the A to Z of Business - more of "what they forgot to mention in business school!"

We could have made this a one week, 26 word special but there are so many different angles on running a business in 2016 that we thought you deserved the extended version.

I have to say, my faith in small business owners has been somewhat restored after a marvelous 2 day event in Brisbane where a fine selection of workshops with a wide range of subject were presented to some very enthusiastic audiences. Clearly, those who came to take part in mine “so you think you can handle the media” had taken full advantage of the free hospitality in the executive lounge!

Our A to Z continues with the letter C

CONFIDENCE would be the obvious choice as you can’t run a business without self belief. How about CAPITAL? You either attract investors or cough up your own cash. Spending the kids inheritance is a sure way to end a beautiful relationship but it may be your only course of action in the set up stage. Both relevant words, both start with C but my chosen ‘C’ word is

 “COWBOYS”. . .

Here on the Gold Coast of Australia, we may just live in the cowboy capital of the nation. Since arriving here in 2014 we have met, dealt with and been stung by several of these clowns and con artistes who claim plenty but have little to back it up. From tree whisperers to singing plantologists (seriously) they’re all here. As mentioned last week, there are many genuine and qualified coaches in the sporting and business world who do a fine job for their clients but, sadly, these are way outnumbered by the Groupon Voucher brigade who spend $49 (value $25,000, for today only, last 6 places available!) on a life coaching, plant growing, NLP, crystal ball reading, psychic (should have seen that coming?) hair reading, tongue measuring and level 26 fitness guru workshop on line. The damage they do to genuine business owners can’t be underestimated in addition to the client damage and overall effect on their reputation.


“COWBOYS” have little in the way of conscience and will happily relieve a fledgling business owner of their start up capital while delivering promises of unlimited media appearances on all of the main networks, weekly press releases in the regional and national papers, 50,000 followers for your blog from week one (I’ll let you know when that happens!) and a social media ‘explosion’ that will convert into the other all important ‘C’ word “CUSTOMERS” within a month! Any genuine media practitioner will tell you that a ‘true’ following takes time and most overnight success ‘media stars’ are found out in the end and eventually have just one simple but well known line to deliver in their long term career “Would you like fries with that?”

Once again, there are well experienced and seasoned campaigners who can help with your PR, media relations and general publicity and they’ll do a great job but run for the hills if any of them promise you unlimited media exposure in 24 hours. . .especially if you’ve signed up for the course that let’s you write your very own book in 20 minutes!

As someone who packed up and moved 12000 miles to start all over again I could fall into another ‘C’ word and that’s “CRAZY!" 

You may feel that your choice of giving up the security of the 9 to 5 routine and the regular income was a crazy decision at times but remember why you went into business for yourself in the first place. 

As you’ll quickly discover, being your own boss is a lot more than 2 hour lunch breaks and 3 day weeks. We (along with many others) often question our sanity when sitting in our home office at 2am arranging training courses for our UK clients but that’s balanced out by the satisfaction of knowing that we can write an article in our pajamas (I must stop doing that as my pajamas are covered in articles!) or go for 3 days without shaving. That obviously does not apply to the current Mrs Bennett but there’s another story. . .

The only advice I can offer in spotting one of these “Cowboys” is to check out their websites, LinkedIn profiles and testimonials before parting with your hard earned money. 

Contact previous clients and ask for their experiences and, if the promise looks too good to be true, it probably is.

I usually find the horse in the front garden to be a bit of a giveaway too. . . 

The other word that need to be stored in your useful words list is “CRAP” as in business you’ll hear plenty of it, deal with loads of it and have to cut through a great deal of it. From your initial launch where you’ll need an ABN number to the unsolicited emails that will land in your box (not a euphemism) every day, be prepared to waste several hours a day dealing with it. The one thing you can do however is blog about it. . .as you’ve just read!