Category Archives: Business

Say what you want.

Say what you want. That’s today’s theme.

What I have found lately is that people switch very quickly in your absence. Not all, as if you didn’t trust anyone that would be rather problematic, but some people. Some people who, in my mind, I feel are threatened, or feel they are threatened by your presence. Feel that the spotlight may be moving off from them and moving to someone else, that someone maybe, just maybe, came up with a better idea than yours.

Now a normal person, like you and I, would go to that person and express your thoughts. If I legitimately thought someone is in the wrong i go to them and have a quiet chat and chat things out over a coffee, move on, progress, and not linger and drag the past along. However some people do not work this way.

Some people are like fishing boats. They go along in life, and behind them, is a huge net and drags the negativity and the bitchiness of the past. Drag your flaws and your slight missteps, your personality, your life, behind with them. They then store it in this ever growing net they drag behind them and then use the contents as weapons against you. Now these weapons are not like guns and knives, bombs and shrapnel. They are poison. Slow acting, grinding poison, that builds and builds. They also don’t do it to your face. They cant, they just cant tell you to your face what they have. They decide to do it behind your back, and try and turn your closest friends against you and stain your name with their poison. Poison.

I have always known these people existed, we don’t live in an ideal world and never will. There are good and bad people and theΒ  bit in between. I know that and always have.

However the thing I’ve learned lately, is that one, or two of these parasitic leeches has been attached to me. They have been behind me, nagging and applying their poison behind my back, tainting my name, staining my image.

Now, this was my problem. I have reacted in a big way before to similar circumstances, but then I was accused of being aggressive and mixing personal feelings with business feelings. I disagree with this but it was 11 against one so, didn’t really have much back up there.

So what do I do about these leeches? Apply the salt and hope they burn away. Maybe. However where do I get the salt from and how can I do this in a way they don’t react the same way, and I still retain my image?

I’m working on it.

I write this post, mostly as a reliever for me to get it out my system, much like most of my posts are, however I also want to prove a point, and show people that these people do exist and be wary with them. React in a calculated and strategic way. They want you to burst in and make a scene, as that will further stain your image and that will then be your fault. That’s how they work. Dark I know, but one thing I hold onto is this.

They keep collecting in that net, however nets have a certain limit until they break. So I will sit here, with my pop corn, ice cold Coca Cola, feet up in my lounge gear, and watch for that moment to come, as I sense it will be soon.

Don’t let people drag you along in their net, stand up, and show them you are more of a man or woman than they are, because you will publicly confront them whereas they lack the ability to do that, because leeches have a tendency to be very weak and also, by anatomical design, lack a backbone…

B x x x

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It kept adding to my excitement, my fire to get started.

I was unsure how to start this one but here goes. I have always looked at University as something to aspire to. Never have I ever thought about not going to University. I always viewed it as one of the pinnacle moments of my life, and I still do. The thought of going to University excited me and made me push through the crap and the darkness I experienced during college.

So then I fast forward to flicking through the prospectus and find Entrepreneurship. It intrigued me as I have never heard of such a course before, I was originally looking for Business Management. Thank goodness whatever was watching over me and made me look at Entrepreneurship as I think I would have become a drop out if I went with my original choice (Sorry Business Management Students xD). I immediately registered my interest, went to the open day very nervous but as soon as my then course leader Jane Chang started talking the nerves turned to excitement, hunger for the challenge. I knew immediately this course was built for me when I heard it was based on a learning by doing approach. I have always been a very physical and visual learner. I learn by doing things, experimenting, changing and giving something a try. If it failed I would evaluate, re think and try again. That was, is and always will be the most effective learning style for me personally. Its one of the main reasons I dabbled with business so early on in my career. I wanted to test things out in real life, not just absorb what someone wrote on a page, go out and have a taste of what they spoke about in books.

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Ironically, as you read on, the amount of reading I do dramatically increases, but this is in line with more and more creative individuality and experiments in the real world with real business. Challenge.

During summer nothing much happened, I didn’t know what to expect on my first day, what we would do. Who I would meet. How they would be. Would they like me? Would it be like college and be fairly awkward? Would it be like what they explained at the open days? I guess through the summer I asked my self a lot of questions and looking back at that period, without realising I was mentally preparing myself for the immense paradigm shift that was ahead of me. Shift in the way I would work, understand the business world, interact with others, my mentality, my demeanour.

So, the day came. Walked in, went to my room and there was a circle of chairs (Theres a lot of circles in our learning so you better get used to it). I then saw a woman walk in, and started talking to her and we got on really well, as we still do being part of my team. Others started walking in and we spoke alot and the atmospher was great. It then got to the time we were meant to start and no teacher arrived, so we decided to go downstairs after a while and see what was going on. Turned out, we were reading the old schedule and the room had been changed, so me and my now collegue walked into the new room with around twenty three people in there, including our course leader and module leader. We managed to grab the last bit of the presentation that was being given but the late great Jeffrey Hynman, founder of Pret A Manger. Imagine that, a founder of such a big company like Pret, on our first day. This excited me greatly about the future we were going to have together. I then started to talk to other people and got on really well with them, I was surprised how well we got on and I’m glad we did now we are all such great friends two years on.

Once the talk from Jeffrey was over, we were then introduced to our first ever business challenge. On the course I do, we do many of these. Problems pitched to us by real life start up businesses, and we are tasked with solving the problems. Often the time we get given is twenty four hours, so you can understand the pressure and hands on approach of this course. It kept adding to my excitement, my fire to get started.

Early bird always catches the worm

One thing I have learned from my business life so far, is that the early bird always catches the worm.

What do I mean by this? Let me explain.

Opportunities will come and go, and some will be more beneficial than others. Like everything, nothing is the same, however one thing that I have seen to always be the same, maybe the only factor that is the same with everything in business, and in life, is being first always gives an advantage. Now this doesn’t mean winning a race or a sporting event, but in terms of releasing a product, or contacting a person, being first has always given an advantage.

If a business releases a huge new product (Apple with the iPhone or iPad) they normally in the grand scheme of things become the market leader indefinitely or at least for a long period of time, and the other competitors find themselves lagging behind and trying to beat the leader in innovating for a second time.

Contacting or finding a helpful contact, like in my post a couple of months ago, its not what but who you know. If you find someone GRAB THEM THEN!

Do not wait, someone will grab them after if you wait, and then your opportunity is gone.

Business is a fast game, especially in the world of technology, tech moves quickly and in order to succeed you must move with it.

This is what I mean by the early bird catching the worm. Aspire to be the early bird, and soar.

B xxx

Being the youngest in the Boardroom, isn’t easy.Β 

As a young entrepreneur myself I do often worry that my age will affect the chances of me getting investment. Most investors will be older than me, sometimes by a large margin, and will have drastically more business experience than me.

As soon as you see 19 as the age, you automatically think, immature, still young, hasn’t got experience, may not spend the money wisely. This seems like a harsh view but it’s true, it’s a view I’ve encountered and people have had of me.

So making yourself stand out as someone who means business, can be difficult, for anyone, but a little more difficult if you are the youngest in the Boardroom.

I read the Steve Jobs autobiography, and this was a topic very much discussed. Steve witnessed the same, in some ways discrimination. This especially, along with some other reasons lead to him being ousted from his own company by the board of directors who were all much much older and in some ways business wise than Steve was.

This is what first got me thinking about the situation.

This was a few years ago when I read this and its played on my mind since. How can I make myself dominate in the boardroom. I’m a rather quiet person, I don’t really like confrontation or conflict, so I used to stay rather neautral when in leadership scenarios. Now a year has passed I’m dramatically different. Some things have remained the same, I prefer to not be the loudest voice all the time, as my previous leadership posts have said I feel my style of leadership is from the team collective rather than solely the leader. So in some ways I’m still quiet, however I know when to use my voice and I will use it, not to cause conflict but to insure change and make sure things that are worrying me or the team are being addressed by the Appropriate people/ departments.

So I feel by being exposed to leadership roles so early in my career has helped me develop into a stronger person, so much so that I don’t feel worried about being the youngest in the boardroom anymore, I relish in it.

In the words of Aaliyah, ‘Age ain’t nothing but a number…’

Brandon x x x

Managing Change.

I’ve experienced a great amount of change in my life. In terms of business and my personal life. Most notably this week as you could gather from my previous blog post (I urge to read if you feel confused at this point! Here is is!)

Now this is a short explanation and short piece of advice to help you cope with change. As change happens, it happens to everybody, and we need to know how to manage it as it can be overwhelming sometimes!

First step is adopt the thoughts to words mantra. This is something that undermines almost everything I do. Assess the size of the change, what has changed and what this change will mean for you, and write it down. This way helps you process it. You don’t need to write a dissertation on it, even some words on post it words is something, you are still putting your thoughts into words.

Then, reflect and think of the positives the change will bring. This helped me a lot. In terms of the recent changes in my life I thought of freedom, and the freedom of being me without having to hide away from people who may not know yet, which was more or less everybody I knew. So thinking if I did this change, or if this happened and when it happened, I thought freedom, and this made me feel a hell of a lot better about the new situation I was given! So I urge you to do the same! Think of the positives and stick to it. When theres more negatives coming then positives however, this is when I would start to evaluate is this change worth it? If its something you have done (Like me) then I would not bother with the change, however if its something out of your control then try and consult the source of the change and go that way. Otherwise if its out of your control the best thing to do is to go with it, still think of the positives as it will make you feel better inside.

Last but not least is to act normal, adopt the change, and carry on! This seems very simple and basic but trust me the amount of people who fail to get to the third stage is staggering. I’ve witnessed it many times before and this is how I’ve come to learn this way. Im no expert, or expert psychologist. I’ve done general psychology before but this by no means makes me an expert. However something I can tell you about this advice I’m giving you, is that it comes from past experience. Its happened, to me and people I know. Its something I’ve performed, done in real life, observed from others, and it works!

Don’t be scared of change, as change can be scary! Damn right it can be! But go with it. Change is healthy. Live life and never let anything hold you back. Again I’ll revert to a quote that I think would fit well here:

Don’t waste your life living someone else’s

Change, evolve, regenerate and grow. Its all part of your story. Don’t be afraid of it, and quite simply, carry on being awesome!

Brandon x x x 

No path is set in stone, prepare for the meanders ahead.

I always had a solid plan of what I wanted to do with my life. I had my business budding and in the planning, and I had an end goal of what I wanted the business to be in the future. However in the last few months alone, I have made huge changes to the plan, just to adjust to new life experiences and situations. Many factors changed my course, and many players helped change it too, but not all the change was bad. It was just a refinement based on better more developed knowledge.

Lets get the biggest and most known cause out the way, external factors. These happen everyday and even more so in todays world. We have the rambling big baby currently occupied in the White House, which I could write a whole blog on alone. We then had the dramatics of UK politics, with the change from Cameron to May, to Brexit and now Scotland wanted another referendum. We then have the threat of North Korea, Russia, China and the US launching a Nuclear War due to increased tensions. Our future looks bright! However above all this, all of these factors influence business, let alone other areas they impact. Brexit, means business with Europe will be different to what it is today. Trump means business will be different with the US. With all these minds, I have to play a very forward thinking game when getting my business of the ground and making it global. I used to want to follow a path where the business is very centralised, and everything happens from the middle. However more and more I feel this would be a very bad path to follow. This brings me to the first of the big changes in my thinking towards my business future. I now believe I want to take a group approach when it comes to my business. By this I mean take a virgin’esque approach, and Have my Serenity brand, as a group, and the departments and products are subsidiaries underneath it. This is also a model used by Alphabet, better known as Google. This means that building new projects is much easier and the future products my business can create is wide spanning, meaning greater opportunities to change things and make more revenue for the business to keep expanding and growing. I have already started to lay the ground work for this, with the naming of the projects. Serenity Apps being the main feature of the product portfolio, however we now have Serenity Talks, Serenity Web (Something coming soon πŸ˜‰ ) and more to come! By doing this the products already share the Serenity Branding, however they could stand on their own and run as an efficient business on their own. This makes it easier to run the business as a whole, as it expands, the projects are not weighed down by the other projects, they are all free to move and expand as they please. This was change one in my rationale, thanks to external factors and also a better more developed business knowledge. This leads on to the second reason.

As we grow, in age and maturity, we also develop a better knowledge, a more refined knowledge as we grow. This can create change to the path we want to go down. So for the example I explained before, this was also based on better business knowledge. I am currently only 19 so rather new to the business theory, however prior to University, the group structure of business was rather new to me. However now I understand it better and its pros and cons, I feel the pros really weigh into favour for my business going forward and thats why It helped me change my projection for the future for how I want my business to prosper and grow.

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Now, my business has always been adapting and changing, its nothing new. However until now the biggest changes were the brand that was being projected into the world. The design, the aesthetic, the look. The business was once called Bournes Co, now its called Serenity. The business in total, when being developed had 9 logos (11 if you count the slight alterations we made to some of the logos over the years!). Now my attention is fixing and adapting the behind the scenes functions of the business and how I want it to work going forward and what I would like it to evolve into.

Lastly, change can be healthy, change isn’t something you should always be afraid of. Change, is difficult, its not easy, but if you stick to it and really believe in the change, then the end result will be so worth it! So go ahead and don’t be afraid of it!

Go out there, and be ready, be excited, for change!

Brandon x

Time Management is difficult, but not an impossible thing.

I have always thought that I was a good manger of my time. I was never late to anything, I was always on time or mostly early. I always hit my deadlines and overall was good at time keeping, and still am.

However, when I took the role of Team leader, my mindset changed drastically. I saw myself was several deadlines for academic work, the company deadlines, personal business deadlines. I was overwhelmed by the amount of deadlines I had to hit!

However this isn’t uncommon! I had spoken to a friend of mine about my situation, and they had literally the exact same thing! Thats when I realised I had been taking it easy all this time. I then asked them how did they do it? I had no clue how to manage my time, I was getting stressed, felt really low and wasn’t in a good place, I had felt like like a failed honesty, but thats when they said, you don’t have to change a lot to make your life easier, just simply write down what you have to do.

I seriously felt angry at this rather simple, easy, and rather condescending remark of just write what I have to do down! I have! However it never worked! Then It came to me, he was right!

I wrote down what I did, not what I have to do next. I was relying on past dates, to predict future dates, which didn’t work when I had multiple big deadlines ahead of me.

The way I improved my time keeping was simply writing down a daily agenda, hourly what I need to do. This is when technology shows its true colours. I had 20 min prior notifications to tell me what I needed to do next, and this helped me so much! Just logging them in the evening or a few days before, so your ready for the next day, makes all the difference! It only takes a few minutes of your evening, and it makes your day run a lot smoother, and just raises the pressure off a little.

Once I did this, I hit my daily goals, and even had time to spare! Also those deadlines, I hit them, after feeling definite I wouldn’t!

So the moral of this story, is to not turn your nose up at the simple solution. Simple solutions are the best solutions, solutions that will make the most impact. Writing down what I had to do for the next day, literally made me a happier, less stressed person, and hit all my goals!

And I continue to do this to this day! And will continue!