If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.
I’ve quoted that African proverb before, and I make no apology for repeating it. To me, it’s one of the most fundamental business principles there is – and it pretty well captures my whole business philosophy.
We all know people who’ve gone fast. In my experience some people have gone very fast. Then they’ve hit a brick wall.
It’s not just the ability to work hard that produces long-term success – it’s the ability to work effectively. And working effectively means working with other people. Being successful isn’t about a ‘eureka moment’ – it’s about turning that moment into a viable business, and that almost always means finding some help along the way.
I was having this conversation with Rob Blake of The Law Wizard after a recent TAB meeting. Rob certainly had a ‘eureka moment’ – that technology could offer people a cost-effective solution to sorting out probate – but that didn’t automatically translate into a business.
“Working with other people through TAB had obvious advantages for us,” Rob said. “Straightaway we tapped into a huge well of experience. We had instant access to knowledge and experience that it would have taken years – and a lot of money – to gain ourselves.”
Hopefully, this allows business to move forward quickly. When someone says to me – as Rob did – “the business is unrecognisable from where it was even two months ago” that’s about as rewarding as it gets. Looking back over the last three years, some of the TAB members have made giant strides – which they couldn’t have made it they had opted to ‘go alone.’
That’s why I’m such an admirer and supporter of Venturefest – and why I’m so much looking forward to being at York Racecourse on February 28th next year.
Yorkshire is producing plenty of people who can go fast, but the region needs them to go far. They may have had a brilliant idea – be it in their bedroom or at the back of a lecture hall – but now they need help with funding. They need to get the infrastructure of their business right. As Rob said, they need to tap into the experience that they don’t have time to wait for.
I love working with Venturefest and being a part of it – short of Dan and Rory opening their Christmas presents, it’s just about the most exciting day of the year. There’s something very special about seeing a young entrepreneur come to York Racecourse with an idea – and leave with her eyes opened as she realises not only is her idea viable and practical, but there are a whole host of experts prepared to help make it a reality.
Similarly I love the way both TAB and Venturefest can act as a springboard to propel an established business to the next level by providing the critical expertise at the critical time.
In the conversation we had, Rob talked to me about being much more aware of the value of time. “We’re constantly asking ourselves, ‘is this the best use of my time right now?’” For every entrepreneur there comes a time when you need to build a life as well as a business, and both the TAB board members and the experts gathered at Venturefest can make sure you do that.
There’ll be everyone at Venturefest – from a wannabee entrepreneur in his jeans to people who’ve seen the Yorkshire economy rise and fall half a dozen times. Let’s hope that we can all go further by working together.