Jump to Main ContentJump to Primary Navigation
Top

The five best pieces of business advice

advice.jpg
businesscolumnist.jpg

Good advice is gold dust; the combination of an advisor who knows their stuff and a perennial gem is a rare and valuable thing. I tend to glean advice, rather than ask, preferring to tune in to the knowledge and habits of successful people. That’s how I arrived at these five rules I live by:

1. “YOU NEED JUST ONE”

My father, Paul Vincenzi, was an inventor and a businessman – he founded an advertising agency, magazine publishing company and invented the Tilt Rotor aircraft – so knew all about finding solutions. When I set out, there wasn’t always an easy road when seeking affordable office space or the right investor but my dad would say, “It doesn’t matter there aren’t lots, because you need only one. Keep going and you’ll find it.” It’s my response to defeatists who say the solution we’re looking for doesn’t exist. “Doesn’t it?” I ask. “Not even one?”

2.“NO-ONE IS TOO CREATIVE TO UNDERSTAND A BALANCE SHEET”

Graham Pugh – a marketing agency creative director – is a great friend. We met when I moved from the creativity of magazine editorial to the more financially focused arenas of marketing and e-commerce. His advice has given me confidence to know that commercial nous is not the exclusive preserve of an elite and numerate breed, and in turn I ask the creative people I work with to carry their share of responsibility for the bottom line.

3. “INVEST IN PEOPLE, NOT NUMBERS”

Tom Teichman, who sits on our board and is chairman of leading venture capitalist firm Spark Ventures, told me this was his long-standing formula for success. I totally agree; someone’s presentation counts for something, but whether I like, trust and believe in them counts for everything.

4. “HARD WORK IS YOUR SINGLE BIGGEST COMPETITIVE ADVANTAGE”

Malcolm Gladwell articulated this advice in his book, Outliers, which describes the ‘10,000-hour rule’: by practising and learning for weeks and years, the potential of the likes of The Beatles and Bill Gates were turned to phenomenal success. I live by this theory: hard work balances out advantage, privilege, even intelligence.

5. “OWN YOUR MISTAKES”

Nicky Lyon-Maris, consultant PR director at Clarins, showed me the value of admitting your mistakes. Nicky was my colleague when I was editorial assistant at Cosmopolitan magazine. Terrified of messing up, I learned from her that people who are ready to claim their failures as well as their successes inspire real confidence and are the most impressive long-term.

Sophie is MD of notonthehigh street.com. Contact Sophie on sophie.cornish@stylist.co.uk or via Twitter @SophieVCornish

Main picture credit: Rex Features

Related

hughgrant.jpg

"Actors playing at politics is not new"

Partner.jpg

Finding ‘The One' in business

82174323.jpg

How to write a business plan

Comments

More

Reclaim Your Lunch Break top supporters

25 Jun 2015

Is the best thing about dropping everything coming back home?

by Amy Swales

10 Sep 2014

Launching an online business; 10 golden rules

"It started with just the desire that it should exist"

30 Jul 2014

Increase productivity and manage your time better with this handy infographic

From managing emails to what to wear

08 Apr 2014

Meet the mothers and daughters who run successful businesses together

by Sejal Kapadia Pocha

26 Mar 2014

Why women don’t need secret business rules from men

25 Mar 2014

Our favourite powerful women share their wisdom on careers

25 Feb 2014

Meet the panda puppies

Your cute fix sorted

25 Feb 2014

Work Life: Aerin Lauder, Image and Style Director of Estée Lauder

A one-day diary from morning latte to lights out.

18 Feb 2014

Work Life: Betty Adewole, Model

A one-day diary from morning latte to lights out.

11 Feb 2014