I have been recently reading Strong Woman by Karren Brady. I picked this book to read in the Christmas holiday break because I enjoy watching her on the Apprentice, I like football (in particular West Ham) and because like me (although I am not comparing to her directly!), she is a hard-working, working mum. A phrase she uses to describe herself.
So what I have learned from reading this book? Here I share my thoughts.
She talks about good, in the early stages of the book, as being a barrier for businesses being great. I often find this when I am talking to businesses about their marketing. They are happy as they are sometimes and don’t want to rock the boat. She says there is no need to settle and why not forsake good to get to great. I agree. Taking calculated risks can lead to great opportunities. She says “I’ll always work hard to improve my situation, I’m ambitious”. This is an ethos close to my own heart.
She goes on to say that she sees problems as an opportunity to show off her talent and put everything into action. I agree in principle, and it is something to work on to be this positive. Rather than feeling negative about problems, turn them to your advantage where possible. A note to self for me to do.
She says you don’t have to love every aspect of a business you are involved in, but you do need to respect it. I couldn’t agree more. Once you respect the area, you can appreciate it and value. Whether you do this yourself, or outsource is up to you. Just because we are business owners, doesn’t mean we have to do all of the jobs ourselves. I use experts to get work for my business done and businesses in turn use me as an expert for their marketing. I personally don’t like numbers or accounts, but I respect they need to be done and I respect their value and what we can learn from them and how to use them. I use an expert to help me.
Karren lists three pillars without which you cannot build a business. These are: planning, process and structure.
I agree! Planning leads to process which in turn leads to order and structure. Planning brings success rather than winging it.
“The truth is, she writes, is that the more successful you become, the harder you work, because the successful you become, the more work you are offered.”
Another area where I saw similarities between us is where she talks about a few traits she has, like having a can-do attitude, energy, persistence and perseverance. This is me, I hope, in a nutshell.
Chapter 13, entitled, My rules for success, notes
Rule no. 1 as word hard. Agreed.
Rule no.4 is have the courage to take risks. Not easy sometimes, but agreed.
Rule no.6 is to learn to juggle. Definitely! As a “working mum”, this is what we do best. We often battle the work life balance and the mother/boss balance in our own minds and struggle with this concept of having it all, but it is possible. She is working proof, as am I and many of you reading this blog.
Rule no. 7 is plan to win. Fail to plan and plan to fail. Agreed.
Lady Karren Brady summarises her insightful book about her life, career, family, health issues, TV career and more with her rules for inspiration. Success she concludes means different things to different people. She says whatever your success looks like then remember there are three cornerstones to achieving it – Planning, Process and Strategy.
These are definitely rules I admire and stick to within my personal and work life. It has led to a successful business and happy home life so far for me.
I really enjoyed this book and read it in a matter of days. Normally I wouldn’t review a book in this, but I felt a lot of the content rang true and would be useful to you all in the SME business world and a big thumbs up to all us “working mums!”
Thank you for the read!
If you would like to read the book yourself, it is available on Amazon.