Thursday, 27 December 2007

There's no business like showbusiness...

I was interested to note that all the non-business commentators featured on the 90 minute Dragons' Den 'Christmas Special' were comedians.

The penny must have finally dropped with the BBC that what started out as a credible business show is now regarded as something of a joke.

Wednesday, 19 December 2007

At last the LibDems get it right...

Thank goodness the LibDems have finally seen the light and voted in a young, sexy dynamic new leader in the shape of Nick Clegg. I loved his acceptance speech - so positive and forward looking. And yes Nick you were spot on, there are so many people who are 'almost' LibDem voters (myself included - I briefly voted LibDem after the men in grey suits deposed Thatcher) that this is exactly where you need to be working.

And shame on Chris Huhne for descending into backstabbing in the contest. I suspect that's what won it for Clegg. I see it all around at the moment - people are moving away from conflict and competition - there is a new spirit of harmony and collaboration dawning.

Put our new man Nick alongside the gorgeous David Cameron and suddenly Gordon Brown is looking like an tired old windbag...

Roll on the next General Election!

Tuesday, 18 December 2007

Sweet FA

Forget about Fabio Capello needing to learn to speak English, how about the FA learning the basics of PR?

Yesterday's Press Conference was a farce - it left one wondering how the whole deal had been negotiated. And also, whether Fabio actually understands what job he's just taken on.

It would not have taken much for Fabio to have learned a few carefully crafted statements in English for the conference; I am amazed that the FA board allowed him to appear so unprepared.

If there are to be any further sackings at the FA it should not be of the Manager!

Monday, 10 December 2007

Vacancy: Lady-In-Waiting

I switched off my email for most of today so I could focus on completing my book (self-discipline to the max is now required to meet my publishing deadline, and email is SUCH a distraction when you are an author, darling :-)

But when I opened my inbox tonight I was delighted to receive a deluge of really nice, positive emails as a result of yesterday's Sunday Times Business article.

I've replied to a few (mainly those offering dinner or deals!) but am unlikely to respond to them all right now - so I thought I should just write a post to say Thank You, and apologise for not responding to you as quickly as I'd have liked.

I went down the road of recruiting a PA a few months back but decided against it, mainly as I wanted to keep everything really personal (and it's amazing how many emails start off saying "I'm sure you don't read your emails but...") - so, YES I DO read them all, but I'm getting to the point now where I simply can't respond to them all individually.

I watched the 'Monarchy' series last week and think that what I now need is a 'lady-in waiting' - so if you know anyone suitable please let me know!

Meantime, keep the mail coming...

Sunday, 9 December 2007

Differences of Opinion

Interesting as always to read the differences in opinion that media articles about me draw. Today's Sunday Times piece is no exception.

First, a negative email received this morning (what is it about being on TV that de-humanises you to the point people think they have the right to send you whatever nasty messages they feel like writing?)

"Hi Rachel

Have just read your piece in the ST...

Glad to hear you are getting back on your feet instead of your bike so to speak.

I was an avid viewer of the Dragons Den...I say in the past tense for a very good reason.

The main protagonists in this series...always appeared to be the most arrogant , conceited bunch of individuals.( including your good self)

My question to you is the following;

Was I being duped by a TV drama or was in fact the behavior of the so called judges on the program true to life ?

If the behavior pattern was true to life...( As I suspect it was) then you have learnt a lesson that should stand, somebody of your intelligence in good stead for a long time to come.


The second, a really nice supportive message received later today:

"I just read Rachel Bridge’s article in today’s Sunday Times. Thanks for sharing with us again the emotion you felt during your battle to save Red Letter Days. I don’t doubt that anyone one of us would have done anything else in the circumstances.

I hope that your experience will eventually reverse the view that people have about business ‘failure’ (whatever that means). I hope in some way that as we develop as a nation of enterprise, we will all learn that the path is not as straight as some would have us believe and when we take the wrong turn because of our errors of judgment that it’s all part of our walk down that path. I hope that we will all learn that real failure only happens when we refuse to bounce back and try again because we have been so scarred by our experience fear has taken over.

I’ve struggled with the word failure particularly in the context of Rachel Elnaugh and Red Letter Days. To me the success has been the rise and development of your company, the fact that you pioneered a whole sector and the fact that you run the company successfully for 16 years. You didn’t fail Rachel – you took a wrong turn, you made the wrong decision (and even that is debatable). The real failures are the people who refuse to see the success of your achievement and the legacy that will remain with us for a long long time. I don’t think we need to wait for your obituary before we appreciate that.

As for things happening for a reason – you are absolutely right and as you say you are seeing a lot of value in what you are doing now. Somewhere in your epitaph the words ‘successful entrepreneur’ ‘legacy’ and ‘altruistic’ should appear. You name will always be engraved in business history Rachel and I’m sure you’ll be remembered for turning the tide not simply the so called failure of Red Letter Days."

One of the things I have learned post RLD (apart from those business lessons mentioned in the article) is that people's reaction is usually a mirror of the person who has written it. Nasty people feel the need to say nasty things; positive people always look for it in everything they say and do.

Thank God for the positive people!

Enjoy your Sunday.


Monday, 3 December 2007

Success in Business Survival

Following on from my last post about the results of my entrepreneurial profiling test which drew lots of comment, here are the entrepreneur types who are MORE LIKELY to still be in business after the crucial and most difficult early first 3 years (together with my suggested reason why):

Alphapreneur (very assertive, highly ambitious and ruthless)
Bosspreneur (short term deal driven)
Dadpreneur (have built a lifestyle businesses out of a previous corporate existence where they were highly successful)
Passionpreneur (high energy, able to attract the right people and support to help them push through problems)
Sociopreneur (refuse to give up on their mission)

And the types who are LESS LIKELY to survive the first 3 year 'start up' phase:

Execpreneur (used to the corporate support system; build in way too much overhead early on instead of focussing on sales)
Mumpreneur (realise business takes a lot more time and committment than they first thought)
Safepreneur (give up when the going gets tough)

The above is not to say that these types cannot achieve business success - I'm simply highlighting the strengths and weaknesses of each type. Two thirds of all UK business start ups fail; we need to try to find ways to reduce the failure rate.

Self understanding is a good start.

Slow Train Coming

Just recently I went to speak to the sixth formers at Repton public school in Derby about my experiences as an entrepreneur.

And I just received the following lovely letter from the Headmaster:

"Dear Rachel,

Thank you so much for coming to Repton today to inspire us with such a magnificent talk! The buzz amongst the boys and the girls this evening has been terrific - you certainly got through to many hearts and minds and persuaded your audience even more effectively through your message about the importance of giving rather than simply making money.

This has really made us all think and ties in so neatly with all we are doing at Repton. Thank you too for taking such a personal interest in the aspirations of the pupils whom you were kind enough to meet afterwards in The Hall. I am sure that you will have influenced all those who spoke to you in a very positive way and, who knows, maybe sown the seeds that will create an entrepreneur of the future!

Very many thanks once again for coming to speak to us, especially at such a busy time for you both personally and professionally.

Best wishes,

Robert Holroyd"

It just occurred to me that this is the first time a Headteacher has had anything positive to say about me in my lifetime!

And it has taken me 43 years to achieve it.

Enjoy your day!