It’s a Box. It’s from Boston. It’s very useful.

Let me introduce you to the really useful tool the Boston Matrix or Boston Box.

It is often used incorrectly but the Boston Box is a great way to look at your business idea and market. The first time I used it was actually with a group of farmers.

It proved an interesting exercise. When I asked what the Cash Cow – the regular money earner – was they all replied milk (that was a good few years ago). When I asked what the Wild Cat product – the one that goes up and down – was they all replied goats and or venison. Products that had promised so much but never really delivered. Then they did. Then they didn’t. The Dog ( you know it. It’s the product or service that you work hard at for very little) was undoubtedly sheep. No money in sheep. Then came the clincher. What in farming was the Star product ? The product or service that gave you a really great margin and was none too competitive. Silence. Even more silence. Then a voice piped up. “Well its no farming that’s for sure”. The others joined in. “It has to be land based.” “It might be tourism but we have to start thinking differently.” And that is why doing the Boston Box is so effective. It makes you look at what you do in a different light.

Entrepreneur V Janiteur

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Everyone has heard of the term entrepreneur. So let me introduce you to its arch rival janiteur.

Now there is no such word as a janiteur. There is a word janitor but I think we should start taking account of the janiteurs in our world and particularly in our education, public and corporate organisations. Actually why single them out – janiteurs are everywhere.

A janiteur is the kind of person who says “ye cannae dae that.” You will have met them in your life. Sometimes they take the form of parents. Sometimes friends, colleagues and bosses. They are shape shifters but they are fundamentally negative people who, when pressed, can be massively innovative in stopping innovation.

The key features of janiteurs is that they are obsessed with processes. They are very reluctant to change and because of this they resist change.

At a recent,very engaging event organised by Scotland’s Towns on the Portas review of the High Street, someone mentioned that the predominant culture in many organisations is janitorial. The focus being not on the vision but on the procedures. The tick boxes. The things you have to do or the world will collapse.

Now do not get me wrong, janitors form a vital part of our society. They do lots of things nobody else will, they keep the wheels oiled – or they should. What they do not do is inspire and take people over the barricades. That is the role of entrepreneurs.

So start to ask this question “is your organisation janitorial or entrepreneurial ?”

Why Accountants are like Cornish Pasties

Accountants. Part of my Entrepreneur’s A to Z – an easy to digest guide to all things entrepreneurial.

I know I ramble a bit in this post but the aim is simple – to help you understand that accountants are like Cornish Pasties. They come in all shapes and sizes and flavours. That may come as a surprise to some of you who have not tasted the delights of the cheese and bean pasty but that simply underscores my point. When choosing an accountant choose one that suits your taste. It’s personal. It’s a relationship.

When I chose my first accountant I thought I needed somebody sombre and conservative. What a mistake. He was and simply did not understand what I wanted to do. So I changed and found another one. Guess what? They were not much better. What I realised was that I should not be going down the traditional route. I needed somebody who understood my market and was efficient and creative. They did not tut because I was not like them. They complimented my weaknesses.

That is why you need to spend time choosing your accountant because like some Cornish Pasties they can be very hard to digest.