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Words from the not so wise!

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by Startacus Admin

Jo Haigh, author of Tales from the Glass Ceiling and 25 years experienced self starter, writes for Startacus on taking risks, planning, success and failure...

"Words from the not so wise!

Is a true entrepreneur a calculating risk taker or are they calculated risk takers? Having run my own business for nearing 25 years I have certainly taken my fair share of risks, not least having set up in two recessions, but then so did Microsoft so it can’t all be bad news!

There is a well know business saying; “failing to plan is planning to fail” but in real life, although I have so many ideas at times I don’t know where to start, whether I actually have a fully laid out and formulated plan is another matter.Jo Haign

That could of course be why, although I consider myself fairly successful, ( I have 4 bestselling books and am writing my 5th, sit on 6 boards as a NED have 3 companies and had made my first million by the time I was 30) I would say that 1% of my successes are represented by 99 % failures!!

The question for the budding entrepreneur is; if I had planned would I have been more successful? That’s not one I can answer.

What I can say is that it wouldn't have been half the fun or the wild ride it’s been at times, like many entrepreneurs detail is something I am not interested in (although I am a bit of a control freak until I have absolute trust) I also get bored quite quickly and need to be permanently stretched and challenged.

I decided a long time ago to surround myself with great people, have a mentor, formal or otherwise, and to give back to the young and aspirational people as much as you can. I call it sending the lift back down and it’s brought me more rewards than anything I have ever done.

But getting back to planning, by saying I don't have a detailed plan suggests I have risked the family silver and although I have certainly have had to give the obligatory PG I have done so only after careful thought and having explored every other possible option.

What I don't do, and largely if I am honest because it bores the life out of me, is loads of research and posturing. I have rather a “let’s have a go and deal with the consequences” attitude. Although I do rely very heavily on my gut instinct and tend to have a bit of a jaded view of those processes that are so cumbersome by the time you have gone through them the opportunity is lost and worse still to someone else.

This does mean that my staff sometimes have to do a bit of sweeping up after me and I guess that is part of the role of working for an entrepreneur.

If your personality is like mine, the frustrating politics of large corporations will not be for you. My mantra has always been its better to ask for forgiveness rather than permission and that would have got me into a lot of trouble in such institutions.

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Published on: 24th September 2012

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