4 minute read

This might sound like an urban myth, but it is true. Somebody really did tell me that the inspiration for starting a business was their ‘coke-head’ boss.

I think it was in 2004 and I was running one of my ‘Enterprise Island Challenges’. I had designed the challenge as a way to attract people who were considering launching their own business, but had never done anything about it. (I will do a blog on this soon.)

The Enterprise Island Challenge was promoted with very special wording.

“Ever Dreamt Of Starting Your Own Business And Done Nothing About It?”

“Ever Had An Idea At 3.00 am And Wondered How To Make It Happen?” or

“Do You Need A Push In The Right Direction”

If so, fancy an Enterprise Conversation with Iain Scott (aka Enterprise Iain) and his team? Phone and book now.

The aim of this programme was simple; make it fun and break down the barriers.

We had lots and lots of applicants and, when they arrived, the first thing we asked them was NOT; “do you have a Business Plan?” Nor was it; “so, what is your business idea?” These questions are complete enterprise-crushers.

We asked folk; “what brings you here?” Which is how I got the utterly memorable response; “My boss is a ‘coke-head’ idiot! I do all the work and he makes all the money. How do I start my own business?” Well, with an opening like that – you cannot have anything but fun!

I want to start my own business, because my boss is a coke head. Click To Tweet

What emerged was an individual who, for years, had worked for someone with their own business. Bit by bit, this very successful firm was being sniffed away by the guy who had started it. Our ‘Enterprise Islander’ was now doing all the work.

So, why did she not simply quit and do it anyway?

And that is the question we asked; “so why have you not quit and started your own business?”

Her responses were;

  • because I fear that I cannot do it,
  • I fear that it will all go wrong and,
  • I fear loneliness.

So, we then said something radical in start up support;  “do you want to talk about these fears?” This is when the floodgates opened. We got the works; the entire start-up angst and at the end we said, “feel better now?”

“Absolutely,” she replied.
“And now?” I asked.

“Oh, that was just great. I needed someone to listen to me and not judge. I know exactly what I need to do – and now I just need to get on and do it.” At which point, she got up to go.

“Need anything else?” I asked.

“Nope,” she replied. “I have a pile of stuff to do – if there is anything else, can I come back and chat?”

“Of course, you can,” I smiled back.

So, there you go. That was the easiest bit of start-up support I ever delivered.

No business ever started with a plan – it started with a conversation. And, we need to remember that the best start-up support you can often give is – to listen.

For more advice on starting and running  a business get my book The Accidental Entrepreneurs’ Handbook.