Posts Tagged ‘Business Ideas’
I was delighted to interview the BBC Dragons Den TV series newest stars today.
James and Richard Gold and Lewis Blitz have grown their business Skinnydip to £500,000 turnover in just eighteen months with a startup investment of just £45k
James and Richard, 25 and 23 respectively and Lewis, also 25, have been friends since they were children and decided when they were 15 that they’d like to work together.
After university, with no loans to pay back (!) they got jobs and saved as much as possible while developing their business ideas. Two years ago, with some help from friends and family, they invested £45,000 and went to work to build Skinnydip a brand of fresh and fun tech accessories including cases, headphones and speakers.
First order from Debenhams
With no proptypes and just some design ideas they hit the phones and got an interview with Debenhams buyer and left with an order! From there, their products are now stocked in all the major retailers in the UK.
The guys were so impressive that three of the dragons were fighting to invest £120,000 in them. Deborah Meaden wanted just 20% of the company, Theo Paphitis wanted 25% and Peter Jones 30%. Ignoring the retail specialist and the marketing specialist, the guys opted for the amiable Peter Jones. They described the decision as ‘not just about the money’ and they liked that Jones had offered to drop his shareholding down to 25% as soon as they paid back his investment.
The five minute clip we saw on the TV show was part of a two hour gruelling interview when the business and the guys who run it were taken apart and examined in great detail. They described the moment when they were given space to consult with each other before accepting any of the offers as a ‘blessed relief’. There was a five month gap between the show being filmed and going out on air and the hardest part in all of it was that James, Richard and Lewis couldn’t tell anyone except their very closest family members, and they were sworn to secrecy. The strategy obviously worked as I googled their names the day before the show aired and got zero results …. impressive.
What was also impressive is the work and preparation that goes on in the gap between winning the investment and going public. The winners had time to get their website ready to accept a lot of traffic and they themselves had obviously been well groomed in how to handle the PR machine. During the interview they gave me answers they wanted listeners to hear whether or not I’d asked the question but, fair play, that’s what the game is about and they did it very well. Their natural charm and good manners were still firmly in place and I’m sure their parents must be glowing with pride.
Why are they different?
I asked James and Richard what made them different from the millions of other people who have good ideas and never get them off the ground and they replied, with what I guess will become a trademark charm, that were lucky to be surrounded by talented people who believed in them and wanted to be involved in their company.
That wasn’t quite what I meant but we only had ten minutes so I hope to get a more detailed answer to that next time as I’m sure they’ll be back for more interviews.
Looks like a bright future for the Skinnydip brand and the enterprising young men who started it!
Intuition is a big part of business success for many people.
In a world where we are deluged by information and opinions, how do we make decisions?
Change in the business world is more rapid than ever before and survival requires unique strategies and different processes of decision making. Very often there is no precedent and therefore the rational, analytical approach is of little use.
The answer may be to trust our intuition more.
Intuition is part of our nature and many successful people admit that intuition is a big part of their success including Donald Trump, Oprah, Richard Branson and even Bill Gates.
Einstein and Edison described their creative process as having original ideas that didn’t come from the rational foundation of the mind. Jonas Salk, the inventor of the polio vaccine, says, ‘The intuitive mind tells the logical mind where to look next.’
Studies of Fortune 500 CEO’s found that the top executives relied upon quiet time, moments of prolonged inner reflection, to help them make better decisions. The inner connection allowed them greater access to intuitive problem solving which resulted in clearer thinking and more effective decision making.
What is intuition?
Intuition is a way of using the brain’s power without the constraints of logical thinking. We gather information from a wide range of sources and often get what is called a ‘gut feeling’ but all too often dismiss this because there is no logical explanation.
We are sometimes talked out of using our intuition and into logical decision making because we can’t explain why some things just ‘feel right’ and yet when we look back these feelings are often proved to be right.
In our MasterMind groups I see lots of creativity that is born out of intuition. People come up with great business ideas all the time but what creates real success is the trust in their ideas and the drive to follow them through and bring them to fruition. It is often too easy and too tempting to stick with what we know rather than put a lot of effort into developing something new.
When intuition works:
Here are some examples:
Ray Croc bought the McDonalds franchise in the initial stages of its development for what was an exorbitant price. He couldn’t afford it but said ‘My funny-bone instinct kept urging me on.’
Conrad Hilton was bidding on the world’s largest hotel and the amount that apparently popped into his head was only 200 dollars higher than the next bid. He described problem solving as ‘I keep listening in a sort of inside silence until something clicks and I feel a right answer.’
Paul Fireman began the manufacture of Reebok shoes when the aerobic exercise boom was non-existent, using an innovative and extremely risky shoemaking technique.
When Jim Adamson was employed by Gap he discovered on a trip to the Far East what would be the first jeans to be imported into America. He purchased far more than was forecast to sell and the product still sold out in only a month. Asked why he didn’t purchase more he said, ‘I just didn’t know how good my intuition was.’
And that’s a lesson for all of us!
Tell us of your experiences where intuition has worked for you ….