Belfast Telegraph


LAST week I had a very interesting conversation with the Simon Community charity. Thousands of us are one pay cheque or one crisis away from being homeless. It struck me that this would resonate with entrepreneurs in particular.

The chance of failure is always on our shoulders and sometimes (most of the time) the consequences are dire. So avoiding failure is a top priority ... you would think.

Which makes the following statistics a bit scary:

* Nearly half of companies on the island of Ireland do not have a website, let alone an e-commerce capability.

* The focus of companies that are online is on cost reduction, not on opportunity development.

I've been scratching my head, these statistics can't be true – Google and Accenture are lying? Surely, by now, every entrepreneur has understood the importance of going digital, using technology and e-commerce as the key to retaining existing and creating new markets.

Creating new markets. Now there is one. I have been doing some work on 'soft' balance sheets. Not the one with the assets and liabilities, but the one that actually predicts your future ... which would measure culture, investment in staff training, brand, reputation, IP, client base and ideas pipeline. How many new ideas have you in your business portfolio? It is a key metric of success.

The Wilsons (featured on these pages) are a case-in-point – from farming to retail, to hospitality, to art and design. How flexible are you in shifting your business model like that?

To bring it back to failure. The main reason why businesses fail is their inability to shift gears and constantly redefine their offering to an ever-changing market. Make sure it is not you.

Belfast Telegraph