1: Learning to drive

I can still vividly remember the first time I drove a car.  I had been riding motorcycles for a couple of years and I found the car a very complex machine to control by comparison.  The fact that I needed to finely co-ordinate my arms and legs between steering wheel, hand-brake and gear lever, accelerator, clutch and foot-brake, considering information from three mirrors whilst sitting to one side of the vehicle: it was overwhelming.  At the end of half an hour I had already decided that I would never be able to master it… and I hadn’t yet exceeded 30mph, experienced inclement conditions or tried to reverse into a parking space.

Developing a company has far greater complexity, but it helps to think of it as a machine that is controlled by an individual.  Whereas someone else has designed the layout of the motor car for us, our machine is unique and organic and we need to start by figuring out how we get it to move forward, turn and slow down.  My eldest brother and I once had a hilarious conversation about how we might teach someone to walk: we came to the conclusion it would be wise to teach them how to stop first.

And that is the point: we may have a great idea about how to make money, but the first time we embark in business it helps to enlist the help of someone to teach us the broad principles of how to control our machine.  Instructors come in all shapes and sizes and just like driving, many people will want to help with their opinion, but my recommendation is to go first to someone who is emotionally independent of the situation and has been helping other people to start companies for many years.

In the UK at least, we are fortunate to have Business Link as a comprehensive and free online resource, whilst for a very minimal annual fee (£85 to £250) excellent local initiatives such as Sussex Enterprise will give you access to a range of specialists to help make sense of the complex machine and give you ongoing support and encouragement.

This is the business equivalent of a Driving School and to be quite honest, it should be the first place you drive to when you are forming your company.

Comments are closed.