If I’d Have Known Then What I Know Now…

Downtown in Business recently celebrated its 18th anniversary. Frank McKenna reflects on some of the things he’d have done differently had he known then what he knows now.

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Last month, on the 18th anniversary of DIBs first event, I reflected by saying “They say time flies when you’re having fun, so I must have had a ball”.

Perhaps another old saying that is worth quoting is “I wish I’d have known then what I know now”, which got me thinking about what I would advise the new businessperson that I was in 2003. What should I have done, much sooner than I did?

First, I’d get a decent accountant appointed early. In all the excitement of setting your own firm up, dreaming of becoming a successful entrepreneur, and in my case making a difference to the city I was setting up in, it is easy to forget that you can’t do much in business without money. A good financial advisor will keep track of your cashflow, make sure you properly chase your debtors, and maximise your opportunities to reinvest your profits to grow your business and create more jobs, rather than simply handing a huge chunk of them over to HMRC.

Second, get a business coach. I started working with one three years ago, and he has been able to raise my awareness about the potential of my business, become far more ambitious for DIB, and, crucially important for a business owner, hold me to account. If you get the right one, a business coach will add massive value to you and your business.

Third, continually develop your knowledge by reading a range of inspirational business books that are out there. My favourites? Purple Cow by Seth Goddin, Shoe Dog by Nike founder Phil Knight, and The Ride of a Lifetime by Disney CEO Robert Iger. The Barcelona Way by Damian Hughes is also worth a read from a business perspective.

There are many other things that, had I known then what I know now, I’d have done differently – but these three are tips that can be taken by anyone and improve their performance.

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