Friday, August 15, 2008

The new business diet

This week marks one year since I started my own business. A year since the last pay-cheque dropped into my bank account and I feasted every weekday on a Krispy Kreme donut for breakfast and a healthy, balanced, two course meal in a subsidised work restaurant for lunch. Oh, happy days.

But I have to admit looking over my Facebook albums, I was putting on a little weight in those last few weeks in London. Since then, I’m getting towards a second dress-size down from when I left. How do I know this? Well, obviously, I haven’t been able to afford new jeans since.

So while the life of a startup entrepreneur may be hard, it has its upsides. With these tips I explain how you too can lose weight in the quest to gain pounds. Or, er, dollars.

Network to eat
In the world of new business, you should find yourself invited to all sorts of free networking events designed to help you learn the mysteries of making your first million. And what’s the best thing about these? The buffets, of course. Be sure to exercise a bit of subtlety. While standing by the buffet table don't just wolf down your plate like some orphan waif, it'll make people suspicious about the viability of your business.

Assume an ‘open networking’ position and make connections as people join you to get food with some smalltalk about how there’s never enough wine at these things, haha. Talking more means eating less so be sure to ask the person standing with you lots of questions. While he’ll think you’re fascinated by what he’s doing and like you more, you’ll can eat enough to keep you going all day.

Location, location, location
In the modern world, most businesses can operate anywhere with a broadband connection. So why spend all your money on an office in a swish city when you can find some pre-regeneration area where the rent is cheap and the people interesting? It you pick the right sort of town where coffee culture hasn’t quite taken off yet, you can save money and lose weight merely by skipping lunch – by the time you get hungry at 3, all the cafes will be closed. If you're missing the high life, just watch an episode of The Apprentice and you'll soon be reminded of why you wanted to get out of corporate life in the first place.

Shop smart
If there’s one thing that will make you appreciate the life of a small trader, it’s being one yourself. No more casual handing over of the plastic in an impersonal supermarket, if you’ve got a few pounds in your pocket, be sure to make sure they benefit the people who might end up giving you some business in turn. And since you’re not sure when the next payday will be, it makes a lot of sense to eat all the food in your house before buying anything else.

Pound those streets
Cashflow forecast says you’ll have a sales manager by month three? Yah, right. Once you’ve found that the only person willing to work on commission is yourself and that sending emails all day results in no response, you’ll be doing the sales calls before you know it. While you’re at it, maybe you don’t really need to plough your cash into a car anyway, you can get by perfectly well on foot. All great for the waistline!

Clare-Marie White runs a social enterprise in Stoke-on-Trent, UK. All approaches by investors or people willing to buy her a cake are most welcome.
This article was originally published on Knewsroom in May and I was a bit slow getting it onto here...

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