The A to Z of business part one. What They didn't tell you at business school!

9 Jul 2016 3:00 PMMike Bennett
The A to Z of business part one. What They didn't tell you at business school!

When you think about it, we’ve broken most of the traditional business rules along the way with the biggest being the decision to up sticks, leave the UK (a bit like the English did with Europe really - only in reverse!) and start all over again in Queensland Australia.

Sure, we could have continued looking after the loyal client base we had throughout the UK and Europe but the opportunity to come to the best country in the world was too good to turn down so, 2 years on, here’s my take on running your own business and starting all over again. I’ve called it the A to Z for reasons that will become obvious as we go through. Come to mention it, this could take more than a few weeks. . . . . .  

A: I was going to kick things off with ‘Action’ as you need to start somewhere but the word I feel is more relevant for many business owners is


What? Can I say that? Guess I just did!

You’ll find them along every step of your business journey. They may be your best clients but the decision maker could be one of the highest order. Time to put on your big boy/girl pants (It’s OK, I won’t judge!) and deal with it. You went into business to work for yourself but guess what? Now EVERY client or customer is your new boss and there’s nothing you can do about it.

The traditional “arsehole” will quibble about your pricing, your expenses, your product and even occasionally criticise your work but on many occasions, they’re also the ones settling your invoice. The workaround is to play them at their own game, bow to their superior knowledge and let them think they know better than you. Let’s face it, if they did, they wouldn’t be an arsehole would they?

Over the years I’ve worked for radio station programme controllers, news editors, speedway promoters and corporate clients and met plenty along the way. I resisted all temptation to inform them of their obvious status although there have been a few moments when microphones have been perilously close to the aforementioned orifice!

When it comes to employing staff, this is where they come in to their own and you need to be able to cut through the crap (see letter C!) when it comes to their claims of experience, expertise and, my favourite, loyalty. A typical member of this breed is very loyal – to the one who pays the most so your ‘arsedar’ should ring the alarm bells if the first question the potential employee asks relates to holiday pay and sick leave! There are many more ways to spot them but knowing how to deal with them will help in your long term business career.

B: The obvious one should be ‘Belief’ as that’s one of the reasons you’re in business. You’re confident in the knowledge that you can provide a better service or product however, it’s more important to realise that

‘BULLSH#@%#RS’ are everywhere and can make or break your company in the early stages of your fledgling career as a business owner. Like the species described in ‘A’ there are many to be found and can easily be recognized by their lack of ability to stop talking about themselves.

They will promise you huge reward, a diary full of work, an unlimited supply of eager customers but deliver nothing. Here on the Gold Coast these people are often known as coaches who have spent $99 on a Groupon course and now have a Life coaching/NLP/mind reading/hypnobabblolgy certificate that they will claim makes them an expert in their chosen field.

Don’t get me wrong, there are many genuine fully qualified coaches here who must despair of these bullsh#@%#rs who damage the reputation of these industries but sadly, they seem to be lagging behind the ‘BS’ brigade.

Even experienced old news hounds like me have been caught out by last minute client who needs something filming, editing, producing, presenting (or all of the above) today and will pay you next week only to discover that next week didn’t specify a year on it! Take a deposit and have it in writing then at least you won’t be out of pocket. If you’re a small business where cash flow is king, you could go under very quickly if you fall victim to a smooth talking member of the local ‘BS’ team!

Our A to Z continues next week with the letter C. . . . . I may have to change a couple of words on that one!

Great tongue in cheek & honest real writing Mike!! You are awesome for putting it out there that there are wolves among us and to remain aware of those who don't have the best intentions! Luckily there's also many wonderful people too, phew!

Oh you're so right Mike, the 5 minute experts give us all a bad name. While we can all learn something I see so many passionate newbies being promised the world, getting sucked in then spat out with nothing more than workbook and a 12 month payment plan. People need to know what to look for and a few questions to ask. Maybe we should do a checklist ! Eliza Priddle

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