Sunday, October 31, 2010

Month 3 - What will be in store for Stepping Out?

Month one was ok but disjointed. Month two started badly but ended well. What will Month Three hold for my new business?

Well, my mood has definitely improved. On Friday we secured another significant contract, jointly with one of the big firms. That's two now. I now know we can eat well into next year. Two swallows do not however make a summer and I am chasing other leads very hard.

Of course now we are into fulfilment. This has got me thinking a lot about my vision for this company. My last one had 250 staff and operations of £7 million when I stood down. It had also moved towards the mean in terms of delivery as it grew. Or, rather, it was both pockets of excellence and averageness.

This time, I am only interested in excellence. It's all I care about now. Every job being done to an eye-wateringly good standard. Because that's what buzzes me more than winning the business. It's the call to say how well we have done for people. Sure I will grow, sure I will take on people and take the turnover to six, maybe seven figures. But it will go at a pace that takes no risks with quality. Customer ache for quality and are gratified, surprised even when they get it. So few deliver it. I want us to be known for care and quality above all else.

What will this mean in practice? Well, it means hiring well. I will only now take on people who have done something for us before either as an Associate or on a temporary contract. I want people not only with talent with the integrity to give more than they get. They are scarce in our entitlement culture. I also want to create an informal culture in which people have a stake in the company beyond their pay packet. I see so many people disappointed by the poverty of their working lives. This company I want to be a special place. Finally it means focusing on what we do best and becoming the very pinnacle of achievement in that area. Better this than the confused generalist.

As well as leading the company, November sees me speaking a bit, writing a bit, non-Execcing a lot and probably neglecting my family. A weekend in their exclusive company has been great. My friend Robert Ashton in his wonderful book 'The Entrerpreneurs Book of Checklists' says on his dedication page that however hard you want to work at your new business always to make time for your family.

He is, of course, right. Indeed I would recommend you check out Robert's site and best-selling books at

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