Women On Top

Women On Top

London Calling

As you all know my collaborator in writing the ‘funniest’ book on enterprise, ‘Stripping for Freedom’, (available from Amazon ) is the very unfunny Tony Robinson OBE. Robinson is my utterly incompetent UK agent.

From time to time I visit him to check he hasn’t destroyed my livelihood and life. I try to catch up with a big event or two at the same time to make the trip more palatable. I also like getting inspiration from the lifestyles of the rich and famous. This trip I took in Tony Blair’s £5.75 million Wotton Underwood home and Lord Mandelson’s £8 million Regents Park house. I also get an opportunity to see how the new working class, in enterprise and entrepreneurship, are doing too. My fab pointers on enterprise are in bold.

Never delegate the really important stuff, like selling, deal-making and your best customers to others. Outsource, including cloud software services, all the stuff that keeps you away from the really important stuff.

I now fly from Toronto to London and stay there. Robinson will never again entice me to his home town of Scarborough to sample either his preferred cuisine of fish, chips and mushy peas or his ‘just brill’ entertainment choice, the Chuckle Brothers. It is also not good for this Canadian fashionista to be seen with him and his fleece. Everyone in Scarborough wears a fleece – even the seagulls.

Just add style

Quelle Horreur! My first engagement was at the ATP World Tour Tennis Finals in the O2 arena. Who do I find myself sitting next to in my VIP, second row seats? The answer is ‘French footballers’. They were from ‘the Arsenal’, which apparently has a French manager named after the club. My fans know that I just love French stuff but footballers – mais non! Never trust as a business partner a man in shorts with a dodgy accent. In fact play safe – do not have a man as a business partner, whatever they’re wearing.

I was unlucky not to be seated next to a better class of celebrity. Four days later the seat next to me was occupied by the Duchess of Cambridge, Kate Middleton. She’s a pretty girl but she must stop wearing Zara and Ralph Lauren – oh so predictable – and she really must get a good hairdresser. The footballers were there to support their compatriot Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, a yummy copy of a young Muhammad Ali, who was playing my fave, Rafa, all sulky silkiness. Always dress to impress, even on Skype, and your most essential accessory is a smile. Never be predictable in what you wear or when you smile as you’ll look like a banker or a politician – out of your depth, particularly in Brussels.

Naturally Rafa’s fans made all the noise but he played like a drain. He looked drained. Despite all his wealth and the very best advisers on physical and mental well-being, his entourage take up far too many of the best seats, he was, as you English say, ‘knackered’. Recognise that some days in your biz will be rubbish but that your greatest day could be next. All the great champions in sport and enterprise have amazing resilience in the face of tiredness, illness and other adversities. They just don’t take what you English call ‘sickies’.

Cutting Edge

The contrast between Rafa’s drive and match sharpness with that of the Fed Express, the eventual winner of the tournament, who I’d seen earlier, was remarkable. Federer picked up a cool £1.4m for remaining undefeated in the tournament, a repeat of his 2010 achievement. As my great friend, a Sioux Indian Witch Doctor, says ‘The secret of a successful rain dance is timing’

So when the stakes are highest, when the potential deal is the biggest, you need to be the best prepared, the earliest, the freshest, the best dressed and the most confident person at the meeting. It’s no surprise that the greatest tennis players of the last generation, the Williams sisters and Roger Federer, have the greatest presence and the most style on and off the court.

Bloodsuckers and Timewasters

The next morning I read about how your economy and society is being wrecked by the millionaire old boys clubs in the banks, big business and government. I also read how your BBC Sports Personality top ten contenders didn’t even feature one woman athlete. The reason Britain is a big mess for entrepreneurs and enterprise owners is because of corporate and institutional Boys Clubs.

As a small business owner and particularly in your vulnerable first 18 months of business, never rely on most of your income coming from one big corporate or institution.

You Brit women have to step up to the plate. There would have been no financial crisis in the first place if women had been at the top of the financial services industry. Women would have found out what was going on and stopped the insane gambling. Women must take over government and the banks. Start with Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan. Ex Government Ministers’ wives should stop their husbands and sons joining these dens of inequity. I’m sure if Boris, Cameron, Osborne and half the City Boys hadn’t had fags at school they’d have been better adjusted individuals and would have understood that your country is better off in Europe than drowning in the mid Atlantic. Mothers take the fags off them.

(To be continued.)

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