Starting my own business

I’VE decided to start my own business.

It will be the first time, although I did once consider making my fortune by making — and selling — rope ladders.

The only thing that stopped me was my wife, who threatened to have me certified. I don’t see why. I know a bloke who hires out doormats and no one thinks he’s crazy.

Mind you, he’s rich.

But I wonder what his wife said when he first came up with the idea…

Did she say: “Brilliant! You’re a genius. We’ll be wealthy!”

Or did she say: “Oh God, not another one!”

It’s a Well Known Fact that making your fortune is not easy. It’s mandatory that it takes years of hard work, deprivation and broken relationships before you get your reward (which is the bit that’s left after the broken relationships have had their share).

No matter what you come up with someone — everybody —will urge you to be careful because the world is full of people who tried and failed.

And most of those are personal trainers. Everyone wants to be a personal trainer. I think it’s something to do with making all the decisions and taking none of the responsibility. But I’ve never met a rich personal trainer.

Oh, I’ve heard about them. I know people who know people who know personal trainers that are just rolling in money, but they’re not jogging with their clients round any parks I use.

It’s a curious thing that we have only to see someone in business to assume they’re making money. Take the rope ladder shop… “Wow,” we say, “Who’d have thought you could make a living selling rope ladders.”

But they’re not, of course. What they’re actually doing is propping up the rope industry while going slowly broke themselves. And besides, if there was any money in it, there’d be lots of rope ladder shops that were bankrupt.

Same with personal trainers.

It’s another Well Known Fact that any business worth its salt will support a considerable number of bankrupts.

Look at HIH Insurance.

It’s the only explanation for all those bankrupts who drive cars that make mine look a wheelbarrow.

How can that be? Surely bankruptcy means you don’t have any money?

Actually, no. It means you don’t have any money in the bank. Besides being able to afford smart cars, bankrupts can also afford very thick mattresses.

How to run a successful business seems to be one of the best-kept secrets in the world. Otherwise Telstra would be doing better than it is. But I don’t think it’s a secret. I don’t think it’s got anything to do with business skills, or being a computer genius, or a chef with a cockney accent. I think it’s about having a single-minded dedication to the business of succeeding.

So… I have developed a business plan. I am going to turn all my columns into a book and it’ll sweep the world, much as Chairman Mao’s Little Red Book did. Except that I think I prefer blue. And I’ve written so many of these columns that there will absolutely nothing little about my book.

And I’m going to think really, really hard about making lots of money.

My thinking is that either I’ll become the political and spiritual leader of a fifth of the world’s population or I’ll go bankrupt very fast.

Either way I should end up driving a much, much better car than I’m driving now.