• Company of One

    Company of One

    Now, before you think:

    'ah, of course, Michael.  You're recommending a book about staying at home, bolting the door and yelling "get away from my company, it's mine, all mine, and I can sit in my shed playing Playstation all day if I want to".'

    That's not what this is about.

    Funnily enough.

    Knowing next to nothing on the subject until starting Some Ink Nice, I've read a bunch of (probably the usual) books about starting and running a small business.

    Some have been very helpful.

    Some made me feel like I was in training to sell low-grade vitamin tablets in 1950s America.

    Or perfectly poised to become a charity mugger on the high street, going up to people and saying "HEY, do YOU like FRUIT?"

    (tip 1 - 'always start with a question that involves them saying Yes.  Because then they'll say Yes to other questions')

    (alternative tip 1 - 'don't be an arse')

    But this book stood out.

    (Also - no, I'm not being paid to recommend this.  I mean I'll happily take a kickback for doing so, if you're reading, Paul, but that's another matter).

    It's a book that challenges the basic assumption of why you'd start a business in the first place.  That aaaaaaall the other advice is geared towards.  Namely, because you want to get rich.

    Surely, why else would you start a business?

    To which the answer is, a million reasons.  Reasons that will be different for you, for me, for Gareth your weird neighbour.

    The book feels like a compilation of distilled advice about all the various aspects of running a 21st century business. 

    All adapted and geared towards how they might best be applied to a lean, focused, profitable setup.

    A focus on profit, not turnover.

    A focus on doing the most you can, with the fewest resources.

    A focus on WHY you're doing whatever tasks you're doing, and whether there are simpler, more effective ways to use your time.

    A focus on reducing stress.

    On keeping things simple.

    A focus on what actually works, for YOUR business, not for business in general.

    (For example, I make cards with cat drawings and / or sarcastic captions on them.  What are the chances I have the same life goals as someone who's decided to invent an intruder alarm system that sprays fruit juice onto unsuspecting burglars, and emits an ultrasonic klaxon calling all bats within a ten mile radius to come and 'get them'?)

    (That - to use the correct terminology - would involve a much more committed 'sales funnel' to make any money, for example)

    Also included are common mistakes that companies make, particularly when scaling up.

    And the mistakes that usually lead to a company's downfall.  So you can avoid them from day one.

    In the mangled words of Jurassic Park:

    'your scientists were so preoccupied with whether or not they could, that they didn't stop to think if they should.'

    This advice applies even if you don't employ scientists.

    Now, while there's the caveat that I'm very much at the early stages of Some Ink Nice, I found it massively helpful.

    Maybe you would too.

    That is all.

    More info here

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