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What is your business character?


Diversify or specialise, think big or be content with small, be out there or safe in here..

There are many sorts of people, a few ways to put them in categories could be specialists vs generalists, big-picture vs attention-to-detail, risk taker vs risk-averse. Personally, I am each and every one depending on the day of the week!

I spent a week this month skiing with a bunch of business people waaay out of my league. You may know that my background is in the public sector as a teacher so, other than a penchant for property investment, my business training is limited to the last 3 years of setting up and running my hospitality business. I was keen to examine how they thought differently to me, in the hope of improving my prospects further.

I quickly learned that the skill of delegation was critical 'My people will talk to your people' was the order of the day. Decisive delegation freed up the smart folk to be smart and push their business forward. Saving money by doing it yourself was considered a low grade activity. The landlord mind set is all about saving (a penny saved is a penny earned) so I need a shift on here.

The second thing that I noticed was that the majority had fingers in many pies. Again, this is the opposite of the typical landlord who only 'does' property. Certainly the big 3 of investment: property, stocks and shares, but also loans and small businesses, as well as enterprises that they had a passion for such as sport and leisure businesses. Am I a specialist or a generalist? After a 3 year dive into Serviced Accommodation I know it really well, do I follow the itch and look to add some diversity here? Leaving my business to my great team?

The most intriguing characters were the 'connectors' who somehow put all the right people together to get a deal done and squeezed a cut out of it for themselves. Their natural or carefully curated sociability and likeability impressed as well as awesome memory skills for names, faces, likes and talents. I am not one of these people, I love to network and meet new property people, but not as much as I like peace and quiet. I could see their value immediately and, along with everyone else in the room, craved their attention and connections. Their presence in a deal would make anything seem possible. Nobody quite knew what they did but it was done with such power and energy that you ended up buying it before knowing what 'it' was.

As usual the best of the bunch sat in the wings watching the theatre of business until about day 3. The empty vessels made the most noise but the real business was not done in the meetings but by carefully placement on the ski lift with the right people and a few quiet words away from the group. The opportunity to relax and find out a little about these people beyond the Teflon-coated business carapace meant that trust was built exponentially, weaknesses exposed and examined and progress made. The lack of machismo was refreshing as the big players fell in the snow and accepted readily their lack of skill in this, if not the deal-making, forum.

I don't have enough time left to become a captain of Industry (I never really felt that Corporate was for me) and neither would I want to be one but I have already shed some low level tasks and am trying out thinking on a higher more strategic level. Catch me when I fall!

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