Friday, 19 February 2010

Making the Grade

This week was half-term. The roads are quieter, the schools are closed and the kids are at home. Well most of them are.

Some of the more ambitious young people are out and about doing work experience. So it was that I came to be shadowed by a couple of exceptional young people during this week. I enjoy sharing what knowledge and experience I have gained over the years. I feel that I missed out by not having these opportunities earlier in my career, or perhaps I just didn’t look for them hard enough.

The only downside is that young people today are so focused and driven they make us (well, me, at least!) look like right slackers. My hotchpotch of school qualifications pale into insignificance in the face of today’s determined young people driving firmly towards huge numbers of A*’s.

But perhaps us older folk can pass on some tips and tricks about navigating life. In fact as entrepreneurs wrestling with the day to day struggles of building your business it is so important to do more than just watch the balance sheet and count the numbers. Giving something back gives meaning to what we do.

On Wednesday I gave a speech to 180 Masters students at Cass Business School, London (which is where I did my MBA, although I was horrified to discover that most of the current students were not born when I was there!). The questions they ask you as an entrepreneur make you think about what you do and why you do it and that’s very healthy. As an entrepreneur I encourage you to volunteer to speak to students at your local school, college and university. You will get a lot back.

Being a start up guy is more than about keeping score, be it your sales, your business’s size or even your personal wealth. There must be more to life than that. As one of the young people said to me, with wisdom beyond her young years “at the end of my life, I want to be able to say ‘I had a good life’ not ‘I got good grades’”.

What will you be able to say?

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