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Simplify to Succeed author offers 9 tips for those fed up with Groundhog Day

Fed up with that Groundhog Day feeling? Planning on quitting the day job and becoming your own boss? Garry Mansell, author of Simplify To Succeed, shares nine tips this Groundhog Day (2ndFebruary 2022)


A picture containing textDescription automatically generatedGarry Mansell is the author of Simplify To Succeed, a new book focused on highlighting tips, tricks and insights to help build, scale and sell a business. After a successful 40+ year business career, Garry now specialises in helping entrepreneurs and business owners - from first-year start-ups to scalable, profitable, rapid growth seven-figure companies - achieve their objectives and meet their full potential. He has built, led and divested businesses and has formally advised many others, some of which failed. Now, as a sought after non-executive director, and a board advisor and investor he continues to help other entrepreneurs succeed.


Book credit: Simplify To Succeed:Tips, tricks & insights to help you build, scale & sell your businessby Garry Mansell, Brown Dog Books, March 2022, available to pre-order now:

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Are you the type of person who wakes up each day and thinks, "I have to go and dothatagain". I was, even though I liked every job I've ever done, it was simply the fact that Ihadto do it because I was contracted that bothered me.


I'm the sort of person whereby if Imustdo something, then I will try and find ways to not do it. It's probably a diagnosable condition! It drives my wife mad. It drives my friends mad, and I don't know the logic behind it. It just is.


When I speak to fellow entrepreneurs, many seem to suffer from the same condition. We don't like having to do anything we are expected or obligated to do. This feeling gets compounded in early February by the fact that it's Groundhog Day (2ndFebruary 2022). The 1993 film starring Bill Murray of the same name is my personal idea of hell. I would have been going crazy long before he does in the film.


So, if you feel the same way, what are you going to do about it?


Well, most people I know, when they suffer from this condition, in honour of the film, let's call it ‘Philism' (after the name of the groundhog in Punxsutawney) decide they are going to change things, and one of the things they often change is their employer. They decide to become their own boss and start their own business.


If your Groundhog Day has arrived then here are nine things you should be doing in order to start your own business, and make sure that by next February, ‘Philism' has been banished from your life.


  1. Take a long hard look at your finances: how long can you last without a regular wage? This will give you some indication of what you are facing into. Don't despair if the answer is "almost no time at all". If your idea is compelling, there will be people around who will help you pay your bills and eat while you build your business. They are called ‘Angels' for a reason.
  2. Plan and research! Decide on what your business is going to be, what and who will be your customers and how you will reach them. Talk to people you know who could be customers. Ask them what they don't like about the current product or service that will ultimately be your competitor. This is a great way to discover if you can exploit a weakness or opportunity in the market. If your product or service is totally new, then find out if people like the idea, or what they would expect from it. Use friends, work colleagues, people you meet in the social interactions you attend, anybody basically. But find out honest opinions, let people know it's OK for them to think you are crazy and to tell you so.
  3. Consider pricing. When you are talking to those people ask them how much they would pay for what you are selling. Then, ask what else you could add to encourage them to pay more. This is a good way to drag out from them the features and things they value, and you can charge more for.
  4. Align yourself and join groups for local entrepreneurs. If you look hard enough there will be plenty of collaboration opportunities. Look at the schemes and training courses available from your local and national governments and take advantage of them. Start to build your network of people who can help, people who will be your customers and people who will be those angels, who will help fund your business for a small share of the ownership. Especially look for those angels who seem to know what they are talking about. Especially those who have built their own businesses and now want to invest in other people's ideas. The fact is they bring what I call "smart money" to the table. They will want you to succeed because they benefit from it, and they will willingly share their experience and knowledge with you in return.
  5. Write your first business plan. In this important document, write in detail about your product or service. What is the current market for it and how you will reach your customers. Describe what you will need to bring your idea direct to those customers. Sketch out a rudimentary set of accounts. Really, all you need is your best guess of sales and the costs associated with making them but ensure that you also think in terms of time. When you start your business cash is vitally important, it's the lifeblood of your business. You can even download free cashflow spreadsheets from the internet that will help you. Make sure you understand the difference between cash and profit.
  6. At this stage you are probably still employed, still experiencing Groundhog days. Now is the time to decide if your business is viable. Will there be a market for it, will you be able to make money, how much money do you need to start it and run it for a year, even if you have no sales? Yes, you read the last point correctly. A lot of businesses make almost no or minimal sales in the first year. I would advise you to think along those lines; it's called planning. Build three scenarios on that spreadsheet: zero sales, a conservative estimate of sales and an exceptional level of sales. Each will show you how much money you need and when. The other golden nugget of information here is... they will probably all be wrong! If you think your business is viable, find a name for it, get it registered, secure your web domain and open a business bank account.
  7. Next, go back and start to raise the money from the connections you have made. Those family and friends, the people you spoke to who thought the business was a great idea, those angels or government grants. But a word of caution here, don't give away too much of your business in exchange for funding too early. Angels will likely ask you to give them the largest piece (they know about the impact of funding and how, when you need to borrow more money, they can have their shareholding in your business "diluted"). At this stage remember the money is just a promise, until it is in a business bank account in your company name it is just that, a promise. You can't spend promises.
  8. Find and employ the best solicitor and the best accountant you can, one who can give business advice as well as help you keep your books and remain legal. The temptation will be to employ a bookkeeper. They are good, but accountants provide advice, not just bookkeeping services. They often also come with a network of other people, and businesses they will help you sell to and buy from. They often have high-worth clients with money who want to invest it. Why not with you?
  9. Now is the time to turn the promises of funds, if you need to raise some, into real cash. Get the investors to put their money into your business bank account and make sure to use your solicitor and accountant in tandem to issue shares in your company to the investors. This is your seed funding, soon you will require more. You will be engaged in more meetings, more presentations and while you do this you will be building your business. It's almost certain by now that you have either left your previous employer or are doing this as a ‘side hustle' on evenings and weekends, assuming your current contract of employment allows that.


At this stage don't let anybody tell you that you don't have a business or that you just have a ‘hobby'. You have started to break the cycle of Groundhog days and even though you will still be doing routine things when you run your business (and still have things that you may not like doing) there is a significant difference that cures your ‘Philism'. You are doing them for yourself, you only have yourself to blame, your mistakes are your own, your successes come from you and the people you employ, and February will pass faster because you simply won't have time to care about a groundhog, let alone if it's throwing a shadow or not!