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Comfortably uncomfortable

Published 17. Aug 2017 by Erland Rendall

“Nervous, sick, ill, scared – and I’ve hardly started”.

I’m reading Jim Duffy’s book “Create Special“, which amongst others, has a great chapter on the mindset of getting comfortable with being uncomfortable.

The last 2 years has provided the opportunity to grow the business in the UK.  In an environment where everyday delivers uncertainty, chaos, ambiguity and volatility, there are times when I really do ask the question – Why am I doing this?  That may be the result of a number of things:

  • delayed payment of an invoice
  • a project commission that is looking like it comes with a cast-iron guarantee of coming off and then doesn’t
  • an unforeseen HMRC payment notice that throws the financial projections out.

These are the day-to-day realities of running a business and no doubt familiar to a number of you.

The chapter in Jim’s book provides 3 areas where an ‘entrepreneur is cognitively comfortable’ with this risk and life of uncertainty.  These are:

So, with a strategy for the year of “Scaling Up“, these key areas are ever present. Adding new talent to the business, developing new opportunities and seeking to convert them to generate revenue whilst balancing the cost outlays, this is a dynamic balance which resets continuously.

However, on a day like today our latest addition to Team Atorus  – Alan Smith – reflected, “I think I’d lost the art of thinking – I was in a rut.  I’ve been unleashed and its great! “. Whilst drafting a response to an Invitation to Tender, provides further collateral to what we are seeking to achieve in this business.

Like the weather over the summer, the variability of the trading environment, pressure on cashflow and the impact of growth clearly has a direct impact on the success or otherwise of business start-ups.  In the UK, small business survival rates in their infancy are poor and predominantly driven by pressures on cashflow.  With an inverse exponential relationship, by the time start-ups reach 5-years of trading, they have as a high as a 91% survival rate.  Having a healthy blend of tolerance, risk management and growth mindset are key to enabling success to be derived.

We have another new-starter joining in September to support our Projects business. Our disruptive technology R&D project – GluIQ – is gaining momentum. Our People offer is being expanded through deeper and more focussed content tailored to the current needs of professionals within the market.

I believe strongly that we are creating something special within Team Atorus. I look forward to sharing more of our journey over the coming months.

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